He’s arguably one of the most discussed drummers in rock today. His presence behind the kit for over 45 years has inspired countless imitators. And for many, he’s considered the most influential drummer in heavy metal history. But as summer peaks, Bill Ward will make his first foray into the world of fine art with a debut collection, Absence of Corners. Set for release on August 1st, 2013 at www.billwarddrumart.com, all of the pieces in Ward’s collection are created from rhythm and limited in availability.
An extensive process from start to finish, Absence of Corners took nearly a year to complete. Working with Los Angeles art team SceneFour, Ward utilized a sophisticated formula to create the collection’s visuals, using an array of drumsticks and rhythmic accessories that produce light, much like a painter utilizing brushes and oils. The movements featured within the captured rhythms are then studied and developed into abstract artwork that showcases a dimension not normally seen by the human eye. Each piece in this limited-edition collection is then numbered. All are signed by Ward.
Ward on the project:
“When I’m working on new ideas, musically much of what’s played is guided by a visual appearance or shape. Since my early childhood, I’ve played drums in visuals as well as sound. When I write, there’s always an image, sometimes a color attached to what’s being created.
I’ve never ‘listened’ to bass notes; I ‘feel’ them. The keyboard’s black notes are dark to me and represent many sad emotions. These examples are simple, natural, childlike applications that have stayed with me.
When SceneFour approached me about doing this project, it sounded like an adventurous progression. I am delighted with the captured expressions from my head and my heart. Their arrival onto canvas is beautiful.”
To develop the art collection, Ward utilized the expertise of art team SceneFour. Based in Los Angeles, SceneFour specializes in working with music visionaries on the creation of fine artwork. SceneFour’s previous art collaborations have included releases with Chuck D, Bootsy Collins, Page Hamilton, and The RZA. Over the last several years, SceneFour’s focus has been on the development and publishing of rhythm on canvas collections, with Ward’s collection being the largest release to date with a total of 18 different pieces featured and ranging in size (30″ x 18″ to the epic 85″ x 30″).
Absence of Corners debuts on August 1st, 2013 at www.billwarddrumart.com. Those interested in learning more and seeing the artwork before the release are encouraged to join the interest list at www.billwarddrumart.com.
Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx spoke with Cinderella frontman Tom Keifer about his solo album, The Way Life Goes, his vocal issues and Cinderella’s missing Sony album .Portions of the interview appear below.
Sleaze Roxx: What inspired the title the album The Way Life Goes?
Tom Keifer: That wasn’t initially the album title but as we wrapped up the recording process we started reading at all the lyrics back — it just really seemed like these lyrics stood out. When I write I usually write from life experiences — that’s what my favorite songwriters and the artists that I grew up on do. My favorite artists like Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger were inspired by American roots music, rock and blues. My influences come from there so I felt that the title The Way Life Goes was very appropriate.
Sleaze Roxx: I can hear all the influences you mentioned all over this record. Solid Ground has a very Stonesy vibe, then there’s a song like A Different Light which is as far removed from the previous song.
Tom Keifer: Again I think that is a product of what I grew up on. I grew up with rock music of the late ’60s and the mid ’70s. I learned to play guitar and write music from a band like Led Zeppelin — they were a big inspiration for me. Led Zeppelin had so many different flavors in their soup — take for example a song like Over The Hills And Far Away, it had an acoustic Celtic vibe then it kicks into the heavy-duty electric rock part then back down. It’s that kind of contrast and blending of musical styles into a rock album that I’ve always loved. Those are my influences and I try to keep that alive as I write and make records.
Take a band like The Eagles, they’d do Take It Easy but they’d also do Victim Of Love or Life In The Fast Lane — they could get heavier and more rocking. Joe Walsh was that way too with his solo work. A Different Light has more of a contemporary feel to it – which is a result of the current influences I have with bands like Train, which I love.
Sleaze Roxx: How do you keep your voice in shape? I know you’ve had vocal issues in the past.
Tom Keifer: My condition is a neurological condition that never goes away. I was diagnosed with it in the early ’90s — its partial paralysis on the right side of my voice box. When I received that diagnosis I was told I would never sing again because it can’t be ‘cured’ with medication or surgery. The only way to get around it, which very few people have been able to do, is to retrain it. It screwed up my singing voice which didn’t work at all — the onset was literally overnight. It even affected my speaking voice. I started the rebuilding process with speak pathologists to make sure that your consonants and vowels are pronounced correctly when you speak. They help you get your vocal cords to work the right way and then you’ll start to hold pitches. It’s not an exact science, most people are not able to overcome it and sing the way that they used to. I work on it for hours every day, and I have since the early ’90s, and I have had bouts with it. Over the course of the past few years it has become more consistent. In the last 2-3 years it’s gotten very strong and almost I’d say reliable (laughs)!
Sleaze Roxx: Last question, in the mid ’90s Cinderella was signed to John Kalodner’s label through Sony Music. Did you ever record music for a new album that is in the Sony archives somewhere? And if you can’t release those recordings have you ever thought of re-recording them to release on your own?
Tom Keifer: We actually never recorded the record — we never even got into the song selection process. I don’t want to get too far into the details but it just got very ugly and it ended in a lawsuit. We were tied up for years because of re-record restrictions. So it was during that time that I started working on my solo record and the rest the guys in the band were working on their own music independently from labels. We had worked pretty hard on that record and then the rug got ripped out from underneath us. Eventually they wound up folding the label — that’s the way life goes, right?
Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington have announced they’ll be hitting the road with their new line up. The tour begins September 4th in Bethlehem, PA, with several North America dates to follow. Platinum rock band Filter will be supporting the shows.
Pre-sale for VIP packages that include collectible merchandise and a meet & greet with the band are on sale tomorrow, July 16th at 10:00am. For further info and to purchase VIP packages, go to http://bit.ly/STPVIP General admission tickets will go on sale Friday July 19th at www.stonetemplepilots.com/tour-dates/
STP members Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz made their live debut with Chester Bennington at KROQ’s Weenie Roast in May. Since their surprise performance, the band has been busy working on new music for an upcoming EP to be released this fall.
In an effort to take control of the way they will be delivering new music in the future, STP will release the upcoming EP via their own label, with distribution through ADA (Alternative Distribution Alliance).
“We’re very ambitious about the future of making music,” said Robert DeLeo. “The process and intention of creating it is so much more gratifying.”
The debut single from the new STP lineup, Out of Time is currently Top 5 at Active Rock radio and climbing fast.
“We’ve been writing new material and visiting songs from our early albums,” says Robert. “ It all feels new again and we’re excited to get out and play a solid set of songs both old and new.”
STP with Chester Bennington (and Filter opening)
Sept 4 Bethlehem, PA @ Sands Bethlehem Events Center Sept 6 Sayreville @ Starland Ballroom Sept 7 Atlantic City, NJ @ House of Blues Sept 9 Boston, MA @ House of Blues Sept 10 Huntington, NY @ Paramount Sept 13 Oklahoma City, OK @ Downtown Airpark (w/ Motley Crue) Sept 14 Newkirk, OK @ First Council Casino* Sept 17 Sunrise, FL @ BB & T Center (FLA Panthers Event) Sept 18 Orlando, FL @ House of Blues Sept 20 Columbia, SC @ Township Auditorium Sept 21 Ft Myers, FL Shockwave Festival – Jet Blue Park Sept 24 Midland, TX @ La Hacienda Event Center Sept 26 Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Sept 27 Las Vegas, NV @ Freemont Street Experience*
Nov 1 Biloxi, MS @ Hard Rock Live* * Filter will not be appearing on this show
According to Jay Smith of Pollstar, when it comes to the Top 50 Worldwide Tours, Bon Jovi was the top earner.
Bon Jovi grossed $142.1 million. With an average ticket price of $95.60, the band played 60 shows in 58 cities, sold a total 1,486,726 tickets and achieved an average gross of $2,450,476 per show.
Another New Jersey act captured second place. With an average ticket price of $107.19, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s total tickets sold was 969,504 for 31 shows in 21 cities. The group’s average show gross was $4,948,700 for a total gross of $103.9 million.
A total gross of $87.7 million was enough to put The Rolling Stones in the No. 3 position on Pollstar’s Top 100 Worldwide Tours chart while the same figures enabled the band to capture the top slot on our Top 100 North American tours. Sporting a heart-stopping average ticket price of $346.09, the original bad boys of rock played 18 shows in 11 cities, grossed an average of $7,969,276 per show and sold 253,296 tickets overall.
Taylor Swift followed the Stones in North America, capturing the No. 2 position with a $58.5 million total gross. Ms. Swift earned her money by doing 37 shows in 27 cities, averaging $85.11 per ticket and $2,164,879 per show.
Fleetwood Mac appearing in the third position on Pollstar’s mid-year North American Tours reminds us that the band’s absence from the concert stage only fueled fans’ desires to hear those classic songs performed live one more time. Scoring a total gross of $58.1 million during the first six months of the year, the band played 42 shows in 42 cities with an average ticket price of $107.80, resulting in an average per-show gross of $1,383,333.
But the above figures, while fun to show & tell, merely offer a peak at the concert industry’s past six months. What you really need to do is feast your eyes on all the data contained within Pollstar’s Top 100 Worldwide and North American Tour charts.
Justin Tedaldi of the Examiner spoke with guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen. Portions of the interview appear below.
Examiner: Last year you were supposed to play a solo show at the Iridium in New York, but it was cancelled because of a health problem. Is everything okay now?
Kotzen: Yeah. Since then I’ve done three tours, so I’ve been good on that, but you know, I’m still very cautious and aware of what happened there—it’s kind of like a perfect storm. It was a real weird thing; I quit smoking, I stopped drinking, and I started rehearsing for that tour, which was a European tour, and then like you said, I planned on coming back to the East Coast….I started drinking coffee like a maniac, and somehow I didn’t really know this until [later], but I developed an acid reflux issue from the coffee…
I went on the tour, and the agency—they had booked against my wishes, but they booked me anyway—at one point in the tour seven shows in a row, and that really did me in….I couldn’t sing at all, and for the next show, I took my daughter to that show and she sang half the set for me because I just couldn’t sing. And I went to the doctor and he told me that I hemorrhaged my vocal cord. And he said, “If you try to sing now, you will ruin your voice.” So I cancelled the East Coast, and then about a month later I went back and he said, “Your vocal cord is fine, but you’re showing signs of acid reflux.” And so that’s a whole other issue, but it was a real odd series of events. And I went back to smoking and I started drinking again, and I did another tour for a month in Europe, and my voice was better than it had been in years. At this point, I don’t know what the hell to think [laughs].
Examiner: Are all the songs on the new Winery Dogs album co-writes between the band members?
Kotzen: Technically, no. But we decided to make this an equal band, so anytime a song comes into the band, we share equally in the song. But there’s maybe four or five songs that I had written previously that I had brought in that became Winery Dogs songs. I was fine with that arrangement, because I haven’t been in very many bands; I’ve always done my solo thing, but when I was in bands, I had the strength of being in Poison. The one thing I liked about them is that the record that I did with Poison [1993’s Native Tongue], the majority of the music was written by me and Bret Michaels. However, we shared everything equally, and that really helped the morale of the band, especially out on the road.
In Mr. Big they didn’t do that, and on the second record I made with Mr. Big [2001’s Actual Size], that started to become an issue. It created tension, and from the beginning of this band, I knew—because I’m a singer and I’m the guitar player—that in the end I would end up carrying a lot of the weight…I’m going to hear melodies as a singer and I’m going to want to write the words and sing; it’s only natural and normal. I knew from my experience with two different bands that work in opposite ways that this would truly be better for what we’re doing. And then also in the end, there’s a song on the record that Mike Portnoy wrote lyrics to and I sang on as well. Everybody contributed to it.
Examiner: Did any of the ideas Billy and Mike had from their aborted collaboration with John Sykes make the record?
Kotzen: No. It wouldn’t have been possible for them to have some, because there never really was a collaboration with John from what I understand. What was explained to me was that they had the concept of recording together, and they actually did go to his studio, and what they ended up doing was playing on his songs that were already written, and they never really played together; he never really picked up a guitar and hashed out riffs. It would have been impossible for any of those ideas to have cross-pollinated.
Examiner: Your good friend Eddie Trunk, the host of That Metal Show, always rants that it’s mind-blowing how you’re virtually unknown in this country, at least as a household name musician. What do you think it is about the rest of the world that “gets” you?
Well, I don’t know. I really appreciate all the accolades, but it’s hard for me to comment on that, you know? Because the reality is—here’s an interesting bit of trivia. Recently our press person, they wanted us to go into our Facebook and do analytics. I think I have maybe 70,000 likes on my page, or whatever it is. It’s not a lot in terms of popular musicians, but it is what it is. So in the breakdown, the number one territory that had the most likes was Brazil. What do you think number two was?
Kotzen: The United States. And Brazil beat the United States by 300 likes. I don’t know how to stop that. I think that what happens is, it relates to touring, which is consistent across the board for a lot of acts. In other words, the United States, I can play B.B. King’s; I’ve played B.B. King’s before, and we had a respectful number of people in there for someone of my level, but there’s not a lot of places like that where you can draw numbers, and so if you tour in Europe, it’s small, the distance between the countries, and they’re still really pumped up to go to rock shows.
So if I can put 600 people in B.B. King’s, that’s cool, but also if I go to Rome I can put four to five hundred people in a room….I think what the reality is, is that I’m not mainstream in the United States but I’m not mainstream anywhere. It’s just that when I tour, I tend to tour in a foreign territory because the people there are more inclined to go to the show; there’s more shows for me to do. Now, Brazil is a different story and I don’t know why. My girlfriend lives in São Paulo when she’s not here, and she’s always calling and saying, “Oh, they’re playing your sing on the radio!” [Brazil], for some reason, has become my largest market. But I was surprised to see on the analytics that the United States was number two. And Japan was way down the list—Italy was number three. So you never really know who’s listening, but it comes down to where the likes are at; where do you get all this play? So that’s how you book a show.
Examiner: What was it like working with Gene Simmons on his 2004 solo record?
Kotzen: That was f—in’ great. I love Gene. He’s just one of the coolest people I think I’ve ever met. He’s funny, insightful, and just a great, great person. I got to meet his kids, who were great, and I’ve been to his house a couple of times. I just jammed with him recently [in L.A.] for [the] Wounded Warrior [Project]; he did a thing and I played a couple of songs—I didn’t know what the f— I was playing, so I hope I didn’t piss anyone off—which was very fun. He’s a great person; I love Gene.
Examiner: Did he pick you for that album?
Kozten: I don’t remember how that happened. Somehow I had that studio, he was looking for a studio, and somebody knew him. I had met him in the past, but I don’t remember how he came to my studio. But he came there with a DA-88 cassette tape, and nobody uses that format anymore, and he wanted to listen to stuff. I was panicked…so I had to go rent one for him, and I got that, and we hit it off, you know. We worked in my studio and then he asked me to do some stuff for him and play on some things, and it was fun. He’s a great guy.
Hookers & Blow, the band led by Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed has announced a string of July dates including a Hollywood launch party for their new clothing line at the legendary Whisky A Go Go on Wednesday, July 24th.
Also performing will be A.L.I.V.E.! — An all-star tribute to 70s era KISS, featuring Rex Brown (Pantera, Kill Devil Hill), Ron Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Foriegner) and Mark Zavon (Kill Devil Hill).
Hookers & Blow recently completed a four show residency at The Whisky with guest musicians that included members of Marilyn Manson, The Cult, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Ignite, Ace Frehley and more.
The band is currently solidifying a fall Hollywood residency which will be will announced in the coming weeks.
Hookers & Blow July Shows:
18 – Columbus, OH – The Shrunken Head 19 – Akron, OH – The Rock Factory 20 – Philadelphia, PA – THE Blockley 24 – Hollywood, CA – The Whisky A Go Go **Clothing Line Launch Party/Rex Brown of Pantera’s Birthday Bash**