Ben Bamsey of CNN reports:

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Eddie Van Halen credits music with keeping him out of trouble — and he asks an important question: “Could you imagine a world without music?”

“It’s a must,” Van Halen told CNN’s John Vause during an interview Tuesday. “It has to be taught.”

In an era when schools are forced to cut budgets, it’s often non-essential programs like music that gets the axe. A study compiled by the NAMM foundation found that kids who play instruments get better grades, have higher IQs and lower their chances of drug and alcohol abuse later in life.

…”My whole life has been music,” he told Vause. “I could not imagine anything else.”

“It really hit me when I graduated high school, you sign everybody’s yearbook and everybody asks you, ‘So what college are you going to?’ Uh… ‘Hey Al, I think we better stick to what we know.'”

Van Halen said music helped him survive and pay the rent ever since.

He now wants to ensure other children have a similar chance to rock.

Several years ago, he took 75 guitars from his personal collection and gave them away to public school kids through the nonprofit organization Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” the charity’s president and CEO Felice Mancini told CNN. “The kids share the guitars, they learn, they graduate and then the instruments stay in the school.”

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation delivers 1,800 instruments each year to low-income schools, providing more than 10,000 children with a musical education.

“Our goal is to give kids every tool they can possibly have to succeed. Music is the common denominator,” Mancini said. “You put a kid in a music class and it builds community, communication and they find a place. It’s a safe haven.”

It’s all made possible by donations from people who have an old violin or saxophone in the attic — and even guitar gods like Van Halen.

“Music is such a necessity. It touches people’s souls,” he told CNN. “Music is the universal language to me. It transcends everything.”

To watch the interview, click here.

source: cnn.com

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Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx spoke with former Great White singer Jack Russell. Portions of the interview appear below.

Sleaze Roxx: On [Great White’s] debut [album], you worked with Michael Wagener who has worked with more acts on the metal side of things.

Jack Russell: Let’s not forget Don Dokken was integral on that album. Don was more of a “sound guy” and Michael is more of a ‘mix guy.’ Michael makes the records sound really good where Don has a sense for the songs.

Sleaze Roxx: [What about the] Once Bitten… record…

Jack Russell: The record where people discovered us [laughs]! Up until that record, Alan had this thing that he would say “Jack sing like Jack Evil on this one.” So I would do what I was told, but on Once Bitten…, you get to hear what I really sound like. I’m very proud of that record.

Sleaze Roxx: Twice Shy was a killer record with House Of Broken Love, Move It, Heart The Hunter and Once Bitten…Twice Shy. In retrospect, was it a good idea to put the Ian Hunter track on there?

Jack Russell: Oh, I love Heart The Hunter. That’s one of my favorite songs. As far as Once Bitten…Twice Shy, I’m alright with it of course. That’s become a signature song. I’m okay with it selling three million records! It’s good song and I felt we made a great song. We got a Grammy nomination out of it. Honestly. I never thought the song was going to be a hit. That song broke all the rules. It takes forever to get to the chorus. For some reason, that song just would just keep going [laughs]! That song just wouldn’t stop going [laughs]!

Sleaze Roxx: Jack, we know what’s transpired over the years with Great White which has led to Jack Russell’s Great White. Your story is that of a comeback.

Jack Russell: Thank you. I think this album reflects that you can hear that on the title track “He Saw It Comin.”

Sleaze Roxx: He Saw It Comin’ is a deeper record lyrically. Was that done by design?

Jack Russell: Well, that’s where I’m at at this point in my life and it’s the culmination of Robby [Lochner] and I writing together. We wrote one song together and we didn’t do too much after that. We wrote a couple more but once we got this band in place, I knew we needed to write some more and begin to work on an album. I knew when I found a band that felt was ‘forever’, I knew I’d have to get a deal and begin to work on an album. We did that and I believe the finished product is obvious. This is a very special album. In my opinion, this is the best work that I’ve ever done. I don’t know what fans might think but to me, it’s the best work of my career and I’m proud of it. We played last night at The Whisky for the first time since the release of the album. If you can believe it, the live stream of the show reached 140,000 people. That was pretty gratifying for jus. We wound up perfroming three of the new songs — Sign Of The Times, She Moves Me, and My Addiction. They were well received. I was expecting crickets chirping but the audience was into them. We’ll be on tour this year on a package tour. I can’t say anything yet, but you’ll definitely be familiar with the bands we’ll be hitting the road with.

Read more at Sleaze Roxx.

Jack Russell’s Great White’s, He Saw it Comin’, was released on January 27th. To listen to songs from this release, click on the highlighted titles.

Love Don’t Live Here
She Moves Me and Blame It On The Night

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Hot on the heels of their most successful headline tour of North America, Alter Bridge are announcing the next leg of The Last Hero Tour in the United States hitting the road this Spring. The headline dates will be scattered among the numerous festival dates that Alter Bridge is already confirmed for including WJRR Earth Day Birthday, Monster Energy Fort Rock Festival, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion and Rock On The Range. The headline tour will kick off in Fort Lauderdale, FL and make stops in Sayreville, NJ; Providence, RI; Baltimore, MD; Stroudsburg, PA; Sault Sainte Marie, MI; and Milwaukee, WI. In Flames and Metal Church will be joining Alter Bridge on select dates of the tour. Fans can head over to alterbridge.com/tour for more information on each date including public onsale information and exclusive VIP experiences including meet & greet and guitar lesson opportunities.

Alter Bridge recently took their newest single, My Champion, to radio. The single is currently in the Top 25 at Active Rock with a bullet. The single comes from the band’s latest release The Last Hero that was released in October and brought the band their highest first-week chart appearance since their 2004 debut. The lyric video for My Champion has been viewed over 1.2 million times and can be seen here. The song has received over 1.5 million plays on Spotify.

Alter Bridge is wrapping up their current headline tour this week. Joined by Nonpoint, the tour played to packed rooms in Atlanta, GA; Royal Oak, MI; and Kansan City, MO among others and boasted numerous sell-outs throughout the United States. The Last Hero Tour wraps up in Seattle, WA on February 22nd. Tickets can be purchased at alterbridge.com/tour.

The Last Hero Tour tour dates:


21 Revolution Fort Lauderdale, FL *#
22 WJRR Earth Day Birthday Orlando, FL*#
29 Monster Energy Fort Rock Festival Fort Myers, FL *#
30 Welcome To Rockville Jacksonville, FL *#


2 Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ
3 Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel Providence, RI
5 Lunatic Luau Festival 2017 Virginia Beach, VA *#
6 Carolina Rebellion Concord, NC *#
10 The Hippodrome Baltimore, MD
11 Sherman Theater Stroudsburg, PA
14 Northern Invasion Somerset, WI *#
16 Dream Makers Theatre Sault Saint Marie, MI #
17 The Rave Milwaukee, WI
20 Rock On The Range Columbus, OH *#

* Without In Flames
# Without Metal Church

Alter Bridge is:

Myles Kennedy on vocals/guitars
Mark Tremonti on guitars/vocals
Brian Marshall on bass
Scott Phillips on drums

Alter Bridge online

Official website

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One of the most striking hard rock bands of the 1970’s was undoubtedly Angel – who sported costumes and a highly theatrical stage show only rivaled by KISS (their then-label mates on Casablanca Records). Despite Angel splitting in 1981, the group’s popularity and influence remain high – resulting in the return last year of their larger-then-life guitarist, Punky Meadows, with his first-ever solo release, Fallen Angel, and a striking video clip for the rocking track, Straight Shoote, watch it below.

“I’m very proud of this song and album,” says Punky. “Every song kicks ass and is a winner. Danny Farrow and I have a great song writing chemistry so it’s hard to to pick a favorite song because they’re all good. Straight Shooter was our first single and video. This band is killer with all talented players and a killer singer.”

In March and April, Punky will be performing in the US. From March 8th-10th, dates have been announced for Las Vegas, San Diego, and Los Angeles, followed by Poughkeepsie on April 21st and NYC on April 29th. Joining the guitarist on stage will be a band comprised of Chandler Mogel – lead vocals, Danny Farrow – rhythm guitar, vocals, Charlie Calv – keyboards, and Bob Pantella – drums, while it will be decided closer to the dates if bass will be supplied by Felix Robinson (due to recent surgery). “Can’t wait to get on the road and play for all the fans again. We’re coming to a town near you and we’re going to tear the place up!! It’s going to be one bad ass party, so don’t miss it and let’s rock!!”

Additionally, a limited amount of meet and greets are available for each show. They include: a personal photo with Punky and the band (with personal cell or camera), up to three autographs of Punky or Angel items, and a free 8×10 to have autographed as well. Click here for all meet and greets links (with the exception BB Kings).

Also available is a special autographed edition of Punky Meadow’s Fallen Angel that includes a Punky Meadows guitar pick, and two bonus tracks (one featuring original Angel vocalist Frank Dimino), exclusively on the mainmanrecords.com website. Otherwise, the regular 15 song edition is available everywhere else, including iTunes, Amazon, and all other music outlets.

Tour Dates:

March 8th Backstage Bar and Billiards (Las Vegas)
March 9th Brick By Brick (San Diego)
March 10th Whisky (Los Angeles)
April 21st The Chance (Poughkeepsie)
April 29th BB Kings (New York City)

Angel was a headline act in the US, and was featured performing live in the 1980 cult classic film, Foxes (starring a then-teenage Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, and Scott Baio), they were also one of the biggest rock bands of the 1970’s in Japan. The group released six studio albums on Casablanca Records before disbanding in 1981, due to the demise of the label. During his career, Punky had been considered to join such well-known artists such as KISS, Aerosmith, and the New York Dolls.

Upon the band’s disbanding, Punky occupied himself with a number of successful business ventures while continuing to play guitar and write songs. Through social media, fans let him know they missed him and wanted to hear new music. With renewed passion for recording music, and inspiration from close friend and fellow musician, Danny Farrow Anniello, they crafted 15 new songs together for Fallen Angel, which charted on Billboard at #6 on the Heatseekers Chart and #32 on the Independent Album Chart.

For more information, please visit:

Official website

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Andy Gensler of Billboard spoke with KISS frontman Paul Stanley the band’s merchandise and how it all began. Portions of the interview appear below.

Billboard: Congratulations on KISS’ latest merch milestone, 125 global licenses.

Paul Stanley: We’ve had thousands of licensing partners over the years but my objective has never been to have bragging rights by accumulating volumes of licensing partners; rather, it’s been about using decades of successes as a spring board to elevate our position in terms of gaining higher stature affiliations.

Billboard: How did KISS’ merchandising begin?

Paul Stanley: Organically. We came at a time when fan clubs were frowned upon. Fan clubs harkened back to an age of Fabian and Frankie Avalon and seen as a ploy by management and record companies to sell the flavor of the week. But when we came into being people wanted to align themselves with us. They were the ones who said, ‘We want a t-shirt, a belt buckle.’ It’s very easy to tag us as marketing geniuses, but I would rather say we have very acute hearing.

Billboard: Who came up with the face paint?

Paul Stanley: We did.

Billboard: Was Starboy was your invention?

Paul Stanley: Yeah, it certainly came from me, but there was a syncronicity to it. Something”s going on when four people are on a journey together, so in some way we all certainly impacted each other.

Billboard: Who made the KISS logo?

Paul Stanley: The initial design was done by Ace [Frehley] but the one that to this day appears on everything was actually drafted by me. I did it on my parents coffee table with a ruler and a piece of white oak tag–a kind of poster board. The two S’s are not actually parallel to each other because I did it by eye. When we got our record deal we were asked if we wanted to have the logo straightened and I said, “It got us this far, leave it alone.”

Billboard: Did you ever get criticized for the merchandising?

Paul Stanley: We were snickered at by other bands until they saw the checks we were getting and all of a sudden they joined the parade. I tend to think we live by a law of commonality. In other words, no one is that different from anyone else and when i can provide something that I want and satisfy a need in myself I satisfy a need in someone else.

Billboard: What’s your favorite piece of merch?

Paul Stanley: I love all KISS merch – if I didn’t we wouldn’t sell it. But my favorite items are shirts, shirts and more shirts. Our concerts are a sea of 40 years of Kiss shirts. We’ve done a 1,000 designs and sold close to $5 million in shirts. Also, my family loves playing the Stern KISS pinball game. It’s an incredible piece of technology and a very worthy successor to the original 1970’s Bally model. I also love my KISS credit card.

Billboard: Do you ever turn down merchandising deals?

Paul Stanley: Sure. There is nothing that’s worth doing that is immoral or unethical — I think if you stick with that you’re in good shape. There were times we were offered significants amounts of money for either playing some place we thought was not holding up their end in terms of social, political or humanitarian activity and we also said no to tobacco companies. Over the years, and more so now than ever, I realize I have to answer to my children. They can’t see their father as a fraud.

Billboard: I saw something in the paper about Ace willing to join back up again, any original members reunion possibilities?

Paul Stanley: No. And that’s not coming from any place of animosity. I sang on Ace’s most recent album and did a video with him. I have the connection and the reconnection and to celebrate the good things we’ve done together is terrific. The band as it is—I’ve played with Eric Singer for I think 25 years and Tommy’s [Thayer] been in the band probably 15 years at this point. I have no thoughts of re-visiting the past. With that said I am happy to enhance or do whatever I can for anyone who has helped put me where I am, but that doesn’t include getting hitched again to somebody I unhitched from.

Read more at Billboard.

source: billboard.com

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Long time ISP endorser, Michael Sweet, has signed on to corroborate with the Michael Sweet Signature model Theta Pro DSP. With a prolific career spanning over 30 years, Sweet has had a plethora of musical accomplishments. From forming his first band, Roxx Regime, to founding the heavy metal Christian band Styrper, playing and singing with Boston, and doing his Sweet & Lynch band/project with George Lynch (Dokken), Sweet has filled stadiums, sold more than 10 million albums and gotten Grammy nods.

Continuing to make music both with Stryper and as a solo artist, Sweet needed a guitar system that was versatile enough to play live in all size venues and to use in the studio. Other criteria was ease of use and portability. Having ISP products already, Sweet checked out the patented Theta Pro DSP™. The floor controller contains the programmable digital Theta preamp with built in Studio quality effects processing and is based on a DSP platform using a 32 bit floating point processor and the latest generation of high quality audio converters. Fully programmable with super high gain and zero aliasing, Sweet took the pedal on the last Stryper tour and was amazed at how easily he could dial in his tone.

“I’ve been in search of the ultimate tone my entire life. It started when I was 12 years old with a Sears Silvertone Amp, an Epiphone guitar and an EHX Little Muff. Then I heard the first Boston album and I became obsessed with creating my own tone that would be as memorable and signature as that. I started preamping with a Lab Series L11 head into a Marshall and there it was – The MS/Stryper tone. Fast forward to 2017 and it’s been perfected and wrapped up into the Theta Pro MS Signature! A box that you can carry under your arm or throw in a suitcase and gig anywhere from clubs to arenas without the need for racks, pedals, amps or cabs. I’ve dialed in my sound, the Stryper sound, effortlessly and programmed presets as well. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to be working with ISP. I’ve tried them all – from Line6 to Fractal to Kemper to you name it and the ISP Theta Pro MS is the best sounding, most user friendly all in one unit available. If you’re tired of digital sounding digital, get the Theta Pro MS and sound analog again!”

After the tour, Sweet talked with James “Buck” Waller, CEO of ISP Technologies, about some features he would like to see. This led to the Michael Sweet Signature Model Theta Pro DSP. The Michael Sweet Theta Pro has all the great features of the Theta Pro DSP and also includes new added software with enhanced Michael Sweet EQ, the Leslie Rotary Speaker Simulator, True Stereo, Ping Pong Delay, a Tuner (accurate to a 1/2 cent), and, of course, Michael Sweet Pre Sets. The chassis are in the classic yellow and black Stryper colors and each chassis has Michael Sweet’s signature. ISP Technologies is excited to offer this new limited addition Michael Sweet Signature Theta Pro DSP guitar pedal. ISP Technologies’ products are based on 30 plus patents in the audio arena, and are manufactured in the USA.

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