Bon Jovi’s upcoming What About Now? will mark a musical “evolution” for the band, but not to the point that might be off-putting to group’s worldwide legion of fans.
Guitarist Richie Sambora tells Billboard that “Jon (Bon Jovi) and I, when we get together it sounds like Bon Jovi. It sounds like us. That’s basically the way it is and what comes out comes out.” But for What About Now?, due out this spring, he says the band and co-producer John Shanks focused on dynamics, and “just basically pushing the production a bit more or lessening the production so you’re a bit more naked. It goes both ways on this particular record. We’ve stripped it down, taken some away and added some different elements.”
Meanwhile, Sambora says the album’s first single, Because We Can, which will be released on January 7th, is indicative of the album’s upbeat tone to the album. “The lyrics are very positive — obviously Because We Can, What About Now?, it’s all empowering and that’s what we were trying to get to. We were trying to get some positive lyrics. That’s kind of where we landed.”
Bon Jovi begins a world tour on February 9th in Uncasville, Conn., with dates booked into late July that include two South African dates in May, a headlining slot June 16th at England’s Isle of Wight Festival and a two-night home state run at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews spoke with iconic guitarist George Lynch about T&N, Lynch Mob and Randy Rhoads. Portions of the interview appear below.
LRI: Is it true that Michael Sweet of Stryper will be the touring singer for T&N when you tour?
George: Yeah, that was the decision we all collectively came up with, we thought he was really the right choice. Lynch Mob has done quite a few dates with Stryper and we know Michael as a man and he’s just such a wonderful guy which is important at this stage in the game. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way over the years and now it’s to the point where you just wanna work with people who want to work with you and are dedicated, honest, transparent and have a good work ethic. Michael is obviously talented, we all knew that but he is also just a good person who has all of those qualities and architecture and is a solid guy but more importantly his voice is really suited to what we are trying to accomplish live which is to recreate the Dokken stuff faithfully. Jeff’s voice is not necessarily ideal for all of that because he has a bit of a raspier, harder edge which is better suited to the original music that T&N has done, Jeff will do some of the Dokken stuff but then Michael will come in and do some of the material that he’s better at. The other advantage we have with Michael Sweet other than him being just a great human being is that he’s a really good guitar player and really suited to playing the rhythm parts we have which is something we really need collectively in this band and for this material. There’s a lot of guitars on this record and we wanna reproduce the record faithfully. Plus, he’s not a bad lookin guy either!
LRI: There are also a great many people who are under the impression that your band Lynch Mob is also over and broken up which is partially because of Robbie Crane talking about his leaving the band. The last EP was probably the best thing you’ve ever done. Is there any future for Lynch Mob?
George: We have half a record which is just on the shelf, it’s something we’ve been working on for quite a long time and it’s beautiful and I would really hate to see the record not be heard but at this point it’s only half done and I don’t know exactly when we will be getting back together to finish it, if at all but I am hopefully optimistic (laughs). We all have a lot of other things going on though and I understand that, Robbie’s got some other project, Oni (Logan, vocalist) is doing Dio Disciples and I have two or three very heavy projects going on with the T&N thing, the movie and associated band Shadow Train which is working on the soundtrack to the movie and then the album I am making with Doug Pinnick of King’s X and Ray Luzier of Korn.
LRI: I had heard about that, You, Doug and Ray, that is pretty amazing sounding on paper….
George: Yeah, we are doing a power trio thing and have been writing. We’re getting through the initial stages of the album and have completed a few sketched out song ideas which are pretty exciting to me and are hitting it really hard this winter. We’re gonna see where this goes.
LRI: I have to ask, you’ve talked about your interaction with my all time favorite guitarist, Randy Rhoads. I worked with Kelly Garni on some quote gathering and editing for his upcoming book talking about growing up with Randy and was just wondering, what was the extent of your relationship with Randy?
George: Well, I gotta be honest with you, we were not like best friends or anything, it was more like casual acquaintances. We would play shows together, share a dressing room, hang out and talk. He liked the way I played and we shared a mutual respect in that sense but we didn’t know each other much beyond that. He was obviously on the radar in the Hollywood scene before breaking out but I didn’t understand or have an appreciation for how deep of a player he was until he went to England and made the records with Ozzy. At that point, I took over his teaching duties at Musonia, his mom’s school and really started delving into the repertoire of what Randy had actually recorded. Of course when I later auditioned for Ozzy it gave me an even greater appreciation for the complexity and depth of his compositions.
LRI: Much has been made of Randy’s distaste for Black Sabbath’s music. When you auditioned for Ozzy were you a fan of those classic Sabbath songs?
George: Oh sure. I mean, I had a Black Sabbath poster hanging on my wall in the early 70s and my band played Sabbath songs. I can remember the first album coming out and blowing our minds and the Paranoid album and all of that, that was the material we cut our teeth on and learned from.
UFO frontman Phil Mogg still misses bassist Pete Way, but says it’s not possible for them to work together.
Way left the band after a series of health problems which are in part due to his hard-living lifestyle, and even though Mogg would love to have him back, he doesn’t think it will happen.
The vocalist says in Classic Rock No179, “We’ve not spoken in a while and I often wonder what he’s up to. There are some things about him that I really miss, such as his outlook on life. But he’s on such a disruptive course, having him around doesn’t work like it used to.”
UFO hit the road again in the spring, and Mogg says fans can expect a slightly different live show this time round.
“There’s been feedback from people saying we play the same songs each year, so this time we’ll be adding a lick of paint to the setlist,” he reports.
And Mogg may have a slightly different attitude to his personal performance after an incident at a London show, where he told two fans, “If you say that one more time I’m likely to get off this stage and deal with you.”
He admits, “I remember thinking, ‘Whoops!’ I was definitely pushing my luck a bit there. I enjoy the banter – but offering members of the audience out is always dangerous.”
The full UFO article is featured in the latest edition of Classic Rock, dated January 2013 and on sale now. The issue is dedicated to The Best Of 2012: the ultimate review of the past 12 months. The new edition also includes a free 2013 calendar, Best of 2012 CD and features on the Rolling Stones, Duff McKagan and Nikki Sixx, Rush, Queensryche, Alice Cooper and much more.
In October 2012 Thin Lizzy announced that they would not be recording new material under the Thin Lizzy moniker. The last incarnation of the band — Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Darren Wharton, Ricky Warwick, Damon Johnson and Marco Mendoza — would be looking to form a new project. Step forward Black Star Riders…
December 2012 sees the announcement of the new band formed by Thin Lizzy alumni Ricky Warwick (vocals), Scott Gorham (guitar), Damon Johnson (guitar), and Marco Mendoza (bass) with new addition Jimmy DeGrasso on drums (Alice Cooper, Megadeth, David Lee Roth, Suicidal Tendencies). The change in personnel came about as Brian Downey didn’t want to commit to the touring cycle a new album would entail and Darren Wharton wanted to concentrate on Dare and other music and film projects.
Black Star Riders is set to enter the studio in Los Angeles in January 2013 to start recording their debut album with the legendary Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Rush). The album will feature material the band wrote whilst touring as Thin Lizzy and the sound retains that classic feel but is very much its own as well. The Black Star Riders record is the next step in the evolution of the Thin Lizzy story.
“We are all very excited about the music that we have created for Black Star Riders. The synergy between the five of us has been phenomenal and I can’t wait for the world to hear these songs,” says Ricky Warwick.
The new, as yet untitled, album will be released in May 2013 through Nuclear Blast. Black Star Riders are one of the first bands signed by Monte Conner — the former Roadrunner A&R guru who has signed acts such as Slipknot, Machine Head, Sepultura and Rush. Conner recently joined Nuclear Blast as the president of Nuclear Blast Entertainment, a new U.S. partnership he co-founded with Nuclear Blast owner Markus Staiger.
Says Conner, “As a lifelong Thin Lizzy fan, I was floored by this line-up’s new material. Not only do the new songs sound like Thin Lizzy but they sound like CLASSIC Thin Lizzy. Black Star Riders totally captures the essence of what was great about the original band while at the same time adding something totally fresh and modern. Even when I heard the band decided to change their name, my interest in signing them did not waver for one second.”
The band are looking to support their May album release with European festivals shows in the summer of 2013 and follow this up with worldwide touring. The set list will consist of material from the new album and classic Thin Lizzy material.
For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/BlackStarRidersOfficial.
Ruben Mosqueda for Rock Confidential spoke with Queensryche drummer Scott Rockenfield. Portions of the interview appear below.
Rock Confidential: Scott, it’s a pleasure to finally get you on the phone. I’ve been looking forward to it. I’ve been a fan going back to the Rage For Order record. I caught the second show you guys did as Rising West in Seattle last June. Some things have transpired since those shows took place. Geoff Tate is no longer in the band and you guys have elected to press forward with Todd La Torre on vocals. It also appears that amongst the Queensryche fan base there’s been a split; there’s the ‘Queensryche camp’ and the ‘Geoff Tate camp.’ I recently conducted an interview with Geoff (Tate) for Oregon Music News and I received an email from the person who handles the news feeds for a website of a major TV and radio personality that stated that they wouldn’t be running the interview due to the negative feedback that they had been receiving regarding Geoff Tate related coverage. What’s your take on the fan reaction to the split?
Scott Rockenfield: I know the fans are rabid, passionate and very protective of the band. I’ve even received ‘hate mail’ and I’m a fan like them. It’s been a major shake-up for Queensryche in the last year. The fans have seen this transpire…here’s where we’re at as a band. Michael (Wilton), Eddie (Jackson) and I are the three main corporate owners in our ‘Queensryche Corporation’ so to speak. Ever since things started to go in ‘not such a good’ way back at the beginning of the year, we had to make some decisions and move on. We did that. We did that under the guise that we were the majority owners of the corporation and that we wanted to continue doing what is best for Queensryche. To us ‘the best thing’ for Queensryche is promoting the brand of Queensryche; making music, playing shows, giving the fans and our audience what they have come to expect from us. We wanted to do that and have ‘fun’ doing it. That’s a long story condensed very short so we can get to the point. That’s what we’ve done and that’s where we’re at now. Our fans are sitting back and seeing what is going on and they get to pick and choose what they want to do. The fortunate thing for us Ruben is that we’ve carried on and the support around the world by our fans; whether they are old-time fans or new fans or whatever it is has been extremely overwhelming.
The fans are supporting us. They continue to support us and they are praising all of the shows that we’ve done and they are looking forward to the ones that are coming up. They are also eagerly looking forward to the new record that we’ve just started recording as of last week. We hope to have it out in the first quarter of next year. Listen, for us it basically business as usual. We’ve put aside what we’ve had to deal with in the past eight months and we’re moving on with business. What is business? Business is pushing Queensryche and promoting that. Is there a kettle of stirred up stuff going on out there? Yeah there is, for sure. For us it best not to focus on that stuff rather focus on what we do best and that is to continue what we started out doing 30 years ago; which is Queensryche. I think the defining factor at the end of the day, whether it comes to playing our shows or making a new record, the deciding factor will be the fans. If you don’t have the fans’ support you’re not going to have anything. Thank goodness that we are blessed that the fans have really supported us, so much so that we’ve been able to continue to do what we’ve always wanted to do – be ourselves, make music and play shows.
Rock Confidential: How involved is each member in the songwriting process and how does it differ from previous writing sessions?
Scott Rockenfield: That’s a great question! I have a great answer! That’s exactly why we’re excited and there’s all this enthusiasm behind the new album. We’re finally…let me back up. Unfortunately, over the course of the past, many records that we’ve done hasn’t been a complete ‘band’ effort. We’ve run into a lot of conflicts of musical tastes or directions that we should take. I think the band has suffered because of it. It was something that wasn’t always done with the music always in mind. That’s why a lot of this has transpired and turned into what it did and we had to move on. Our goal has always been for Queensryche to this particular type of band. One thing we wanted to do was to revisit what that was and that to us is what made Queensryche – our classic material. Why were we so excited then? Let’s find that ‘excitement’ again. We wanted to do that for a while but we haven’t been able to do that. We weren’t ‘allowed’ to do that is probably a better way to put it. In a nutshell that’s what we’re doing. So to answer your question, all five of us – Michael, Parker, Eddie, Todd and I are all writing the material. It’s a huge collective effort. We’re all playing the material and then with “Jimbo” in the fold as our producer and engineer – he’s like the sixth member of the band. The chemistry level is huge and that’s something that we haven’t had in a while. I think that’s what the fans are excited about and the anticipation is so high. Having said that—it’s a hell of a lot of pressure! Whatever, we’ll get through it! (laughs) We’re having a lot of fun. Last week in the studio was really a lot of fun.
Rock Confidential: How would you describe the direction that you’re going with the new music and album? Progressive, contemporary rock influences, ‘classic’ era Queensryche? Or perhaps none of the above?
Scott Rockenfield: That’s a great selection of choices that you’ve given me to pick: A,B, or C. I think the best way for me to describe it is that it’s in a ‘progressive/hard rock’ direction. “Jimbo” described it really well when we were in the studio last week. We were immersed in it really working hard and brainstorming; driving the ship home so to speak. He said, “I think you guys have combined your first five records into what you’re doing now.” So that’s from our EP all the way through Promised Land, which coincidentally was the last record that we worked on with “Jimbo.” So I think if you stuck all of those records into a musical blender and you’d get an idea of what the music we’re working right now sounds like. There are elements from all of those records that have made it on to the new music. I think that’s a good way to describe it. We have wanted to revisit this great history of ours that we just haven’t been able to do for a while. We have great lyric content, great songs, great melodies and great performances by us; the song crafters and mechanics behind it all. I could go on forever about it because I’m so excited about it. I could play it for you right now on my speakers but afterward I’d have to kill you! (laughs).
In time for 21/12 celebrations, on December 18th, 2012, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will release the Deluxe Editions of Rush’s 1976 platinum-selling, landmark album 2112 in three different configurations: 2112: Deluxe Edition (CD/DVD and CD/Blu-Ray) and a special Super Deluxe Edition (CD/Blu-Ray/Hardbound book case).
The deluxe editions contain a CD/DVD or CD/Blu-Ray material including the remastered 2112 CD with three live bonus tracks and a DVD or Blu-ray™ disc with a 5.1 surround sound audio mix and an interactive digital comic book, a new album cover by original album designer Hugh Syme, liner notes and unpublished photos. The super deluxe contains the CD/Blu-Ray and is meticulously assembled in a hardbound bookcase packed with a 40-page comic book representing every song on 2112.
Originally released in 1976, Rush’s epic, landmark release 2112 was their creative and commercial breakthrough as well as one of the band’s most highly regarded releases among both fans and critics alike. With lyrics written by Neil Peart, and influenced by author Ayn Rand, 2112 kicks off with the ambitious seven-suite title track (side one), set in a futuristic world run by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx who regulate “every single facet of every life,” which includes books, music, work and play. 2112 conveys the story of humanity’s instinctual, inner need for one’s free will.
After the mythological journey through 2112, side two brings you back to the present and continues with five stand-alone tracks. From hard-rocking tracks such as A Passage to Bangkok,Lessons, and a trip to into the fourth dimension with The Twilight Zone, to the album’s soaring conclusion, Something For Nothing, 2112 is the album that ushered in the next stage in their continuing evolution as artists.
2112: Deluxe Editions (DVD Version and Blu-Ray Version):
*2 Disc: CD + DVD Audio/Video
*2 Disc: CD + Blu-Ray
Expanded artwork, liner notes, lyrics and unreleased photos by original album designer Hugh Syme. Brand new liner notes by David Fricke, Rolling Stone.
CD – Digitally remastered plus 3 unreleased bonus live tracks:
– Overture (Northland Coliseum, Edmonton, AB – June 25th, 1981)
– The Temples of Syrinx (Northland Coliseum, Edmonton, AB – June 25th, 1981)
– A Passage To Bangkok (Manchester Apollo, Manchester, England – June 17th, 1980)
DVD Audio/Video And Blu-Ray Contain:
– Digital Comic Book – experience the comic book formatted for widescreen televisions during playback of the album.
-Photo Gallery – unreleased photos and handwritten lyrics by Neil Peart.
-DVD Audio/Video Specs:
-5.1 Surround Sound mix by Richard Chycki in PCM (DVD-Audio players) and 48kHz / 24-bit Dolby Digital (DVD-Video players)
– 96kHz / 24-bit PCM Stereo (DVD-Audio players) and 48kHz / 24-bit Dolby Digital Stereo (DVD-Video players)
-5.1 Surround Sound mix by Richard Chycki in 96kHz / 24-bit PCM and DTS-HD Master Audio
– 96kHz / 24-bit PCM Stereo
2112: Super Deluxe Edition:
2 Disc: CD + BLU-RAY version contained in hardbound book case.
Housed in a hardbound book with a 40 page comic book by story artist Tom Hodges (Star Wars The Clone Wars, The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horrors #17) and a 24 page book with expanded artwork, liner notes, lyrics and unreleased photos. New liner notes written by David Fricke, Rolling Stone.