Frontiers Music Srl announces the signing of a new hard rock supergroup, Iconic, featuring Michael Sweet (guitars), Joel Hoekstra (guitars), Marco Mendoza (bass), Tommy Aldridge (drums), and Nathan James (vocals). Iconic’s debut album, Second Skin, will be released on June 17th. The official music video for the first single, Nowhere To Run, can be seen below.

Sweet, known for his work as guitarist/vocalist for the legendary heavy metal band Stryper and his solo work, with his instantly recognizable voice and guitar style is really a name that needs no introduction to the hard rock faithful. Hoekstra, currently of Whitesnake and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, is one of hard rock’s premiere guitarists, whose fretwork is regularly praised and admired. Mendoza‘s resume really speaks for itself (Thin LizzyBlue Murder, Black Star RidersThe Dead DaisiesJourney, and so on) and the legendary bassist shines, as he always does, here. Aldridge, currently of Whitesnake, has also played with Ozzy OsbourneTed Nugent and Black Oak Arkansas, among others, and is considered one of the greatest hard rock drummers of all-time. Finally, handling lead vocals is none other than Inglorious‘ Nathan James, a young talent whose vocal style is a fitting, proper descendent of rock’s vocal legends of the ’70s.

Iconic was born from an idea conceived by Serafino Perugino, president and head of A&R for Frontiers. He wanted to surround the talents of powerhouse vocalist James with established musicians from the rock and metal world to play a musical style in the vein of classic ’80s hard rock. He immediately thought of Sweet and Hoekstra for the guitars, since they have been kicking around the idea of working together for a few years. Plus, Nathan and Joel were friends from their time in Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Sweet had become a fan of Nathan’s vocals after hearing Inglorious. With the musical direction set and two wildly skilled guitar players on board, getting a powerhouse rhythm section involved was the final key ingredient and thus Mendoza and Aldridge were asked to join and brought their immense talent into the fold.

Sweet says, “This was a very refreshing and unique experience. Musically, very different from Stryper, which is, of course, very different from all the other projects I am involved with. This is more of a throwback to the past and it felt good to do that. It reminded me of how great the music of the past really is.”

He continues, “Once the songs were arranged, I booked a studio and recorded my guitar parts, which is always the funnest part for me. I’m not sure why, but I guess because I’m a guitar player first and foremost and it’s just one of the most creative and fun parts of the process for me. To be able to get the right tone and play the right parts and hear it all come together… it’s very rewarding.”

Hoekstra states, “The riffs were all very comfortable to me because I wrote most of them. I definitely have a great comfort level playing with Tommy Aldridge that’s developed over the last eight years or so with Whitesnake. I’ve also co-written with Nathan, Michael and Alessandro in the past, so everything felt very natural despite this being a ‘new’ band.Michael asked me to write riffs without an arrangement (as he did with George Lynch on the Sweet Lynch records) and then he arranged them with what he had written. I wrote melodic/hard rock riffs as that was the vibe we had discussed and then all the solo parts had more to do with trying to compliment Nathan’s vocal melodies and of course add a bit of fire.”

James says, “I am on an album with so many of my heroes and it feels amazing, to be honest. I was lucky enough to be involved in the writing of a couple of songs, but genuinely everything I hear from the guys I knew I could do it justice. I also feel that the guys wrote stuff that suited my voice perfectly. These are not only great musicians, they are great songwriters. I practiced the songs a lot beforehand and then I recorded all my vocals at an amazing studio in only four afternoon sessions. I wanted to make sure it sounded like me and that my vocals had the precision that I’m so used to hearing from my vocal heroes, whom many of the guys in the band have played with. And, of course, I was very aware that I would be on songs with the vocal master that is Michael Sweet. I felt the pressure for sure, but I just did what I felt worked and I’m so happy with the final result.”

Aldridge says, “It was a blast playing some fresh, new material. Rehearsing, trying out parts virtually was not as much fun as doing it live, but considering the global circumstances, I’ll take it. I just try to create a supportive environment for all involved while having fun in the process. It was easy to do as these songs really play themselves. It was a true labor of love, so very little work at the end of the day.”

Second Skin track listing:

1.  Run (As Fast As You Can) 
2.  Ready For Your Love 
3.  Second Skin 
4.  All I Need 
5.  Nowhere To Run
6.  Worlds Apart
7.  All About
8.  This Way
9.  Let You Go
10. It Ain’t Over
11. Enough Of Your Love

Recording lineup:

Nathan James – Vocals 
Michael Sweet – Guitars, Vocals 
Joel Hoekstra – Guitars 
Marco Mendoza – Bass 
Tommy Aldridge – Drums

Additional musicians:

Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

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  • D.J.H on


    Firstly, this sounds pretty good; the riff is pretty solid and all the players/performers are top notch. (How old is Tommy Aldridge now? Still playing like a monster! What’s with the eyepatch on Michael Sweet?)

    Then I saw that this was being released by Frontiers Records and this whole thing was the idea of the president Serafino Perugino. This is a regular thing from this label: “Let’s put a load of established players together for a ‘project’; or ‘supergroup’ and then we’ll label it in the marketing as “The Hard Rock masterpiece of the Year!”

    They’ve use that line pretty much every single time…..

    They’ve done this so many times now that I’ve lost count. Here’s an idea: How’s about focussing on some new, up and coming never-heard-of-them-before bands or artists and help give them a potential springboard to bigger and better things?

    These ‘projects’ / ‘supergroups’ never last; they never tour and usually make one album and then are far too busy with their ‘day jobs’ (the bands that they all come from) to do anything else. It just seems like a total waste of time and money for the most part.

    I’m taking nothing away from these guys; they are all great players and Nathan James has a very good voice. But what about any new potential heirs to the thrones of my beloved Black Sabbath; or Metallica, Judas Priest or even Van Halen?

    Gene Simmons says that “Rock is dead.” Well he’ll be right if these record labels (particularly labels like Frontiers who have had some brilliant artists on their books) don’t start giving new bands a chance.

  • robert davenport on

    I really like the tune. But agree they won’t tour and they won’t last
    And neither will the pirate eye patch ….

  • Rattlehead on

    D.J.H., Michael Sweet recently had eye surgery to repair a detached retina. More than likely, that’s the reason for the eye patch.

    All great musicians in this project, although I’ve never like Michael Sweet’s voice.

    Rock music and new rock bands will always be around. But Gene $immon$’ claim that “Rock is dead” relates to the gazillionaire musician, and he believes there will never be another true real rock star. Streaming services killed the gazillionaire musician, while social media killed the rock star.

    But how Meh-tallica is still relevant today with all the clunkers after the “Blah Album” is known only to God…..cuz I just don’t get it……I guess they follow the same relevance today as G n R, who also have put nothing worthwhile out since 1991.

    • D.J.H on

      Hi Rattlehead

      Thanks for the explanation about Michael Sweet; not a fan so I wouldn’t have known that.

      I’ve noticed on several posts that you have a, shall we say ‘problem’ with Metallica.


    • Rattlehead on

      D.J.H, I loved Metallica when they were a thrash band. Not only did they perform killer music, but they were hungry, and had attitude and “street cred”. Every Metallica album, up until the “blah album”, was a masterpiece to me, particularly Master of Puppets. But when the “blah album” came out, that hungry thrash band with an attitude disappeared. While a solid rock album, it was not a thrash album that I was expecting from my Metallica. IMO, the “blah album’ is the biggest commercial sellout in heavy metal history and a huge betrayal to the band’s fans, which included me. I don’t care about their reasoning for changing their sound away from thrash….the bottom line is Metallica was no longer a great thrash band, and the “blah album” was the “death blow” that caused it.

      Since the “blah album”, I think every Metallica album has been poor. With its commercial success, it seems that Metallica doesn’t feel the need to try hard anymore cuz they’ve got millions of dollars in the bank. They’ve been “mailing it in” for over 30 years with a line of cruddy rock albums. Even their live performances have changed…..both Kirk and Lars have become sloppy players, James no longer sings with that anger in his voice, etc… I’ve seen them perform 10 times, three with Cliff Burton, and I will never attend another Metallica show. How this band continues to get accolades with the trail of cruddy albums its left in its wake since the ‘blah album” is unbelievable. They sell out everywhere, they are viewed as kings, every band sucks their d*** hoping to go on tour with them….I think everybody, except for Kerry King, is afraid to comment anything negative about the band. From a catalog standpoint, Slayer is my favorite thrash band and I wish they did not retire……Metallica should have retired cuz I don’t think they have the heart to do it anymore.

      I could go on and on…..

      But while Metallica can no longer do it, I enjoy other thrash bands from the same era that can still thrash it up, like Overkill, Exodus, Testament, Death Angel, Heathen, Destruction, etc….Metallica stopped being one of those bands when they “jumped the shark” with the “blah album”. :o)

  • Medved on


    Hope you noticed the redesign on the Blabbermouth web site. This site could sure use a redesign of its own.

    • Dana on

      Hi Medved,

      That is up to Mr. Trunk and his webmaster. 🙂

  • Doug on

    Man, some major league talent here. Tommy Aldridge is a flat out legendary drummer. Lead vocalist, Nathan James, you’re gonna need to keep up with these guys – although, no worries, you’ll never tour. 🙂

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