04 D e f L e p p a r d 06 C o n e y H a t c h 07 Te d N u g e n t 08 S i d e b u r n 09 H a r t m a n n 10 S a b a t o n 11 E d e n ’s C u r s e 12 R e v i e w s 14 I m p e r a 15 R e e c e 19 H a r e m S c a r e m 20 Sammy Hagar
Melodic Rock Fanzine The official Frontiers Records magazine Year #9 - Nr. 5 / Issue #58 Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi Graphic & Design: Elio Bordi Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Primo Bonali, Jeb Wright. Headquarters and general contacts: Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18 80125, Napoli - Italy Tel: +39.081.2399340/7753 Fax: +39.081.2399794 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.frontiers.it Facebook: facebook.com/frontiersrecordsofficial Twitter: twitter.com/frontiersrec Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l. Copyright©2013 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy.
band. def leppard album. viva! hysteria Interview with:. v. campbell interviewed by:. jeb wright of clasicrockrevisited.com
D E F L E P P A R D - Viva! Hysteria (Frontiers Records) What can one say about this new package from one of the world’s best straight up Rock bands? Well, Viva! and get set to go into Hysteria! This double CD and DVD set is a huge thank-you to all of us that have supported Def Leppard over the past thirty years! “Viva Hysteria!” does not disappoint! The performances are from their 2013 tour, including a complete rendition of their landmark album “Hysteria”! An eleven night stand in Las Vegas, early 2013 saw the group perform “Hysteria” in its glory! You will also hear the group’s opening act, “Ded Flatbird”, man! They look related! Visually, the DVD is stunning, capturing the true essence of this high rocking group of energetic musicians! A very distinctive stage set was used for their Las Vegas stay, and it is all here! Relive this historical performance of Def Leppard; you will find out why they are still a top draw the world over. Def Leppard - Viva! Hysteria”: definitely on top of their game! Bruce Atkinson (98/100)
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Question: The last time we talked you were preparing for the Vegas run and now it is coming out as a movie. Set the music aside for a second, the video quality of this thing is awesome. Answer: It’s outrageous and it is amazing. It is HD and all of that stuff. We actually saw it on a movie screen and it was really amazing. It’s great. This is going to sound weird, because I am always on stage playing, but this looks as good as I would imagine it to look. It is like coffee. You smell the fresh ground coffee and it smells so good, but it never tastes quite as good as it smells. With this, however, it tastes as good as it smells. We are very happy with this. I am looking out so I can never really see what it looks like.It really is how I imagined it would look like to fans. It sounds odd, but that really is what my impression was when I first saw it. Q: How cool is it that you were able to have all of these people come from all over to see you? A: I would talk to people and they would tell me they came from Chile, or Singapore, or Japan, and all over the States, and England, and Europe; it really is crazy. We did these great opening sets where we played stuff from High ‘n’ Dry, On Through the Night and Adrenalize. We did songs that we had not done for a long time, but as soon as we started Hysteria, and the curtains dropped, it felt different. One really weird thing is that we would not run the songs from Hysteria in that sequence in a normal show. To play “Pour Some Sugar on Me” that early in a set would not normally work and we would save it for later, but for this, it worked fantastic. It showed how rich and kind of expensive the album was. I don’t mean that money-wise, because it cost a fucking fortune to make, but the sound of it is rich and expensive in nature. The quality of the songs, and what Mutt did, really hit home when we played it in sequence. Some of those songs we had not played ever before, or we had not played for over twenty years. They were some of the harder ones to sing and play because it had been so long. It was actually challenging to play them. It was more fun to make them like the album version and not go off the beaten track; we tried to stick to the original versions. Q: Hysteria had a lot of layering; it must be hard to play live. A: We worked the arrangements out and you have to give credit to our sound guy, Ronan McHugh, because he has been doing this for something like sixteen years… He does our albums and he does our live shows. He knows what every-
one should sound like and he did a wonderful job of mixing this. It sounds perfect and not abrasive. A lot of rock guys mix stuff and it sounds harsh. I’ve been using the same amplifier for about fifteen years for live shows, a Marshall. Some of the guitars are the same ones. I actually used some of the guitars on this that I used in the 80s. I am using this thing that is a Fractal Axe - Fx guitar processor. Everything processes through that and it does make it a little clearer. That is the only thing I did differently on my part. All of this stuff, these patches and stuff, is updated all of the time and Ronan McHugh did a great job getting it all done right. It was down to the fact that Ronan is fucking great. Q: The fans get nostalgic when they go to see Def Leppard. But this go around, you must have got nostalgic as musicians by doing the entire album. A: Yes, it was very nostalgic. It was actually really strange. We play up to seven songs off of Hysteria on tour every year, but when you play it like this, in sequence with gaps in between, there is an expectation, even for us, that is a little different than just the rock and roll thing. There was something different playing it in sequence. This album was so special, and it had such an impact and that made it feel different. It wasn’t necessarily nostalgia… It was just so rich and different. It was classy. It had a class to it and we respected the album for what it was. It felt really good to be such a part of a classy entity. It was more like that than nostalgia, which I found to be really interesting. Q: The footage that was on the screens was really cool. A: The credit goes to Phamous Mac Mahon, who, when I joined the band, had already been the lighting guy for three years. He used to be our lighting guy and now he is our stage and production manager. He put all of this stuff together. He rented some stuff and he bought some stuff and he really made it happen. Chris Keating, our video guy, got a lot of the great footage as well. It turned out brilliant and was really great. We just approved it and said yes or no. We wanted it to be a certain way and he would bring it to us and show us the footage and we would approve it. Phay and Chris had a lot to do with that. Q: I love that you added that footage of Steve Clark during “Gods of War.” A: Me too. It really, really was important that we did that. I really wanted to do that as he was such a huge part of Hysteria. It was great to give him props. We had that footage already, so it was perfect to have him open that song off.
Q: The Hysteria portion is great and it is for your main-stream Def Leppard fan. For us rock nerds, the opening sets are pure heaven. I know in the past that not everyone in the band, like Joe, has been comfortable playing some of the very early songs. Did you have to twist his arm? A: For some reason, when we did this thing, all of the rules changed, including people’s ideas about doing songs. We wouldn’t have done “Good Morning Freedom,” as it was a B side off of the first album. Joe actually suggested we do that. We did it in rehearsal and it sounded fucking great. It was the first song we did in Vegas. Again, it took on a totally different energy, as Viv and I were not on the original song, so it had a different energy that it never had before. We didn’t really stick to the original type of thing. I was playing one thing and Viv was playing another and it had a really cool energy to it almost like a punk band. Viv and I didn’t play on the songs for On Through the Night, when it was recorded, so we gave the songs a different energy. We were suggesting songs and we would try them and we would see what happened. One thing that was really interesting was that when we got to rehearsal and Rick [Allen] said, “I just had a really weird thought. I went to play this song and it didn’t really freak me out, but the last time I played this song I had two arms. I couldn’t naturally do it, so I had to think about it and change it.” Something that he had done thirty years ago, all of the sudden, he had to change it on the fly. He needed a moment. It wasn’t an emotional thing, it was just like, ‘wow, this is really fucking weird.’ He now had to approach it with one arm and that was actually a very big deal for Rick, as he had to adapt the song. He had to put in a little more work than the rest of us. From a physical point of view, we had to sing these songs, and we are known for these harmonies, but on the first album there were no harmonies. It was just so easy. Even the stuff on High ‘n’ Dry was easy. When we started singing the song on Hysteria we were like, “Fuck, this stuff is really hard to sing.” We had a different approach than Rick on the early stuff. He had a completely different approach because he has only one arm now. Q: Wow, that didn’t even click with me. I never even thought about that. A: Me too, we actually started rehearsing and he started playing a song and we stopped and we were like, “What’s the matter?” He said, “Fuck, do you realize the last time I played this song I had two arms?” It was a big deal. MRF | 5
band. coney hatch album. four Interview with. andy curran interviewed by:. b.mcminn
Question: It’s been quite sometime since you guys got together for a new studio album, what inspired you to get back together in the first place? Is it true it took a near death experience to get you guys back together? Answer: Yes I think its fair to say Carl Dixon’s car accident was the first thing that had us all chatting again on a regular basis. We booked a show off in the distance as the carrot on a stick for his recovery and the feedback was so strong after that show it led to a one off show at Firefest in the UK. That show led to two record deal offers… And here we are today… Destiny?? Q: So when you got back together, did you feel that it was right from the off, or did you have some second thoughts about a come back? A: Certainly on the live end it was almost like we never stopped playing. It instantly was that sound of the 4 of us together like a glove… Especially with Dave Ketchum back on drums, like your old favourite tennis shoes Focus on:
back on your feet! As far as the record, there was a lot of hesitation if we A) we had the songs to pull this off and B) if we could all commit the time to do the record. Q: It’s hard to believe that it’s only the bands fourth album, did you ever think this day might never come? A: I will be 100% honest..NO never in a million years did I think we’d ever record a 4th Hatch record… Guess the saying “never say never” is true. Q: The album is pure old school Hard Rock, were the songs written after you all got back together, or did you raid the vaults and revisit some older material for the album... A: We did raid the vaults to get the ball rolling. Car had a pretty good collection of old un used stuff and the song Connected is a result of that. The rest of the record is a collection of things that Steve, Carl and myself had kicking around. We were emailing ideas back & forth for a few weeks and started making an a list from there.
Q: The band have already appeared live since the reunion, where there any nerves getting back on stage after a long time away? A: Not for me but if I were to answer for Steve… He’s still a ball of nerves... Were waiting for him to settle in! Q: What has been the reaction from the fans around the reunion? Are they embracing the new material as well as the older stuff? A: So far the early reaction has been very positive. At this stage weve only let the world hear the single and certain journalists have reviwed the full record with thumbs up! The reaction on the live front, especially Firefest has been a little overwhelming. People saying they’ve been waiting almost 30 years for the return of the band and comments like that. We really had no idea people even cared, I’m being 100% truthful. So doing the record almost for vanity reasons and pride and having people say all these great things is very un expected.
C O N E Y H A T C H - Four ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) It’s hard to believe that Toronto’s finest Hard Rock ambassadors Coney Hatch have only release three studio albums since their formation back in the late 80’s. But all that is about to be set straight as Carl Dixon, Andy Curran, Steve Shelski and Dave Ketchum return with the aptly titled “Four”, the band’s first studio album for over two decades, nearer three, with the original line-up the last time round was Outta Hand. It took a near fatal car accident to Dixon for the band to re-ignite the spark that is Coney Hatch and with “Four”, the band have not only ignited the spark, but have lit a furnace of Hard Rock. The album is as pure a Hard Rock album you’ll hear this year, which kicks off in fine style with the aptly titled “Blown Away”, which is exactly what you will be when you hear this and rest of the album. It doesn’t take long for you to be hooked as the album continues with great rocks songs like “Boys Club”, the groove filled “Down & Dirty” and “Connected”, and the harder edged “We Want More”. We get with the stunning “Keep Driving” and “Marseilles” and for the mellower moments its “Do It Again” and “Holding On”. All in all a great comeback from one of Canada’s legendary bands showing you can’t keep an old dog down, so call the operator and ask for “Four”. Barry McMinn (90/100)
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artist. ted nugent album. Ultralive Ballisticrock Interview with. ted nugent interviewed by. d .jamieson
Question: You still bring 110% to your shows. How do you maintain the enthusiasm and the Motor City Madman energy levels? Answer: I cleanse my soul each hunting season between ferocious ultra hi energy tours by celebrating many opposites from the musical jihad. I remain very quiet and stealthy when hunting for 6-8 months with my bow and arrow, often guiding and hunting with fund raiser charity donators for children's and military charities. All that ultra peaceful quiet and spiritual campfire time overcharges my batteries to maximize my cravings for the intense American R&B&R&R musical adventure that I love and crave. Q: How does it feel to have Derek St Holmes back in the band and why do you think he complements you so well? A: It is wonderful as his very special voice and guitar playing are integral to the identity of those classic songs Focus on:
he originally sang on. He has never sung or played guitar better and he is a real asset to my incredible music. We were both raised on the magical music of our black heroes, so we share a super bond to carry on this phenomenal soulful music. He is my MotorCity SoulBrother BloodBrother. Q: You call Greg Smith and Mick Brown the funk brothers in the DVD. The band really do kick out the jams and you all look like you’re lovin’ every minute of it. A: Full time. I have always been surrounded by world class gifted virtuosos that love the music like I do. I am a very, very lucky man. Q: You’re well known for advocating hunting and eating red meat. How’s your cholesterol? A: I don't over consume flesh, but the sacred flesh I kill myself and feed my sacred temple with is undeniably the healthiest diet known to man. My cholesterol is ok and my spirit inde-
fatigable, thank you. Q: Any chance of you coming over to Europe soon? If you do, will you bring your guns with you? A: God I miss my EuroDogs bad! I've truly enjoyed sharing my amazing music with people around the world and am rather miffed we haven't returned in so long. And yes, there will be firepower in all its glorious forms, both musically and in the hardware department. Q: You’re politically active. You’ve never run for government office but it has been mentioned in the past. What are the chances of you running for President in 2016? A: Very little chance, but good Lord could I fix this ailing country fast. I never say never, but we shall see. God knows America needs the Nugent common sense, logic and immediate return to a US Constitution based experiment in self-government ASAP.
T E D N U G E N T - Ultralive Ballisticrock ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) Liberals, vegetarians and deer might not be pre-disposed to like Ted Nugent but when he plugs in his guitar and lets the music do the talking even Bambi would love his Motor City, machine gun rock ‘n’ roll. Recorded at Penn’s Peak this CD and DVD serves up one meaty morsel after another. Nugent’s singing will never win him any plaudits but his old sparring partner Derek St Holmes is on hand to carry a lot of the vocals and the blistering rhythm section of bassist Greg Smith (Rainbow) and Mick Brown (Dokken) on drums also help fill out the vocals. The band shock and awe on “Stormtrooping”, “Just what the Doctor Ordered” is relentless, “Dog Eat Dog” is a great band performance and on “Stranglehold” Ted immodestly states “This is the number one guitar lick in the world”. He’s not far wrong. The jingoism isn’t for everyone but musically this has more fire power than Ted’s beloved NRA. Duncan Jamieson (92/100) MRF | 7
artist. jesse damon album. Temptation In... Interview with. j.damon interviewed by:. b.atkinson
Question: I would like to begin talking about your new solo effort: “Temptation in the Garden of Eve”, a very interesting title! Is this a concept album? Answer: No, it’s not a concept album, just a mood I felt while writing the songs for this new album. Besides it being a good title, the story is a familiar one. Woman is lonely and frightened, man comes and saves her and helps her to safety, and then they both give in to temptation and make love to each other. It also has a similarity to the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but I wrote my lyrics as a parody with a satirical meaning. When talking about temptation, it’s all around us in life. Some of the other songs just happened to have some temptations within their story too, so it tied in and worked as a premise. Q: This time around, you have worked with Paul Sabu. Is this the first time working with him? A: I’ve known Paul for many years. He produced the first Silent Rage album “Shattered Hearts” then he went on to produce the second album “Don’t Touch Me There” for Silent Rage along with 3 of my solo albums. I think that Focus on:
the answer to that is my best work has been with Paul over the years. I have learned and continue to learn from him. We work well together because our playing, singing, and writing styles are similar. There also is a comfort in knowing that he knows me and my abilities, and because of that he has a way of helping me deliver the best performances I can. Q: Now, I understand that Paul produced this record, however, you also collaborated with him on some of the songs, correct? A: Yes, the way it worked this album was I wrote the songs, and then brought them in for Paul to hear, sometimes they were very close and they didn’t need much changes, but Paul is an amazing writer and he would help on a lyric here and there and add or change a chord progression that would lift the song in a new way. In some ways it’s a great collaboration to have a producer work on the songs to make sure that they’re the best they can be. The whole album fits together well with the story lines in my lyrics as well as the material coming across solid and strong. Q: Who else do you have playing with you?
A: I have three great musicians, Paul Sabu producer, bass and backing vocals. Then there’s Eric Ragno on the keyboards, and Pete Newdeck on the drums and backing vocals. Eric came on board with the project, and then Pete followed soon after. What more could I ask for with these three guys jamming with me throughout the entire album as well as delivering their stellar performances. It was a brilliant connection! Q: May I ask, what do you feel is different from “Temptation…” than say your last solo effort? The approach? Subject Matter? A: The way I look at it, I try to do my very best when writing new material but you can’t control how strong a song or album will be when you’re writing it, it just has a flow to it. I felt that kind of flow writing my last solo album, but not everything is the same in one’s life at every moment. Every time I write a new song it’s a new experience due to a mood and an influence. This time around I experimented more and it worked out well. I try to write about life experiences about myself and about people in general. I think people want to relate to lyrics and be entertained at the same time.
JESSE DAMON - Temptation in the Garden of Eve (AOR Heaven) From the opening cords of the title track we know that this man is serious! Jesse has laid out, for all to hear, eleven original musical trinkets. The front man for “Silent Rage”, Mr. Damon sings and plays his heart out… A little tougher and maybe a little more passion exudes from this, his new solo effort. Partnered with Paul Sabu, “Temptation in the Garden of Eve” showcases Jesse’s guitar playing to the “n’th” degree. His vocal delivery is also top notch! Enlisting the musical talents of Pete Newdeck of “Eden’s Curse” on drums and Eric Rango on Keyboards, plus the highly sought- after Paul Sabu does triple duty by playing bass. The triple duty? Well, Paul has co-written the songs with Jesse, and produced this collection as well! The result is a highly energized slice of ear candy… Set for the mass of music lovers around the globe! Hard driving rockers that are tempered by some soaring yet midtempo musical excursions. “Temptation in the Garden of Eve” is most certainly a bright light in the Melodic Hard Rock sky! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)
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band. hartmann album. the best is yet to come Interview with. oliver hartmann interviewed by. b. atkinson
Question: It’s almost ten years since your debut which the melodic rock community, including myself, thought was terrific. What do you remember about releasing that album and the response it received? Answer: Oh, yes, I can remember that very well. Started with the songwriting for it in 2004 and the debut album was released in 2005. I can say that “Out in the cold” was definitely one of the most important albums for the band’s carreer. Many people just knew me as the singer of AT VANCE and maybe expected a different musical direction from this first album. So we were really happy that it was that successful and often reviewed as "album of the month". We re-released it already in 2009 on my own record label SONIC 11 because it wasn't available anymore during that time. For this actual rerelease we added the original Japanese bonus track to make it a little more interesting and special for the fans. Q: After 5 records how do you feel Hartmann has changed since the debut? A: I think many little things have changed since our first album and every Focus on:
album was one step forward for us. Regarding the music we changed some details here and there in the band’s sound and production and also varied and played a bit with different musical styles. Even if some songs are already close to pop, singer-songwriter or even metal, I think there’s always still the “red line” in our sound and style that makes it all typical Hartmann songs and albums. For me personally our latest album “Balance” shows best the whole variety and development of the band so far. Q: There’s a cover of the John Miles classic “Music” on the album. What lead to you recording this track? A: As I said this song has got something very special that is hard to explain and it can't be really compared to other songs I know. It's one of my favorite tracks that I played as a cover version in many bands more than 15 years and while we were arranging the songs for "Handmade" we had the idea to cover and record the track as an unplugged version. We still often play that song live with HARTMANN as an electric version but it never made sense to me to put a
full version including orchestra on a studio album. To me personally the original is unbeatable and can't be turned into something better by just copying it. Playing it in a totally different arrangement just with acoustic guitars and three really amazing backing singers which we had for "Handmade" we thought it would be a great opportunity to try it in a different version. Q: What’s been the highlight for you in Hartmann? A: I think one of the highlights with the best memories are the two tours with TOTO. The first one was in 2006 while we were still promoting our debut album. The second one happened last summer right after the tour with RMC where Steve Lukather was featured as guest. Getting to know him better during this tour was a great thing - not only because he's an amazing musician but also a very funny and kind guy. And we had really relaxed situation afterwards during our support tour for TOTO. We were treated with lots of respect by the whole band and crew so we didn't really feel like a typical support band, I hope we can do it again someday!
H A R T M A N N - The Best Is Yet to Come ( A v e n u e o f A l l i e s ) Although this is a compilation of tracks from Oliver Hartmann and “Hartmann”, it should not be dismissed. While the Hard Rock world is waiting for the group’s sixth effort “The Best Is Yet To Come” is a fantastic way to get to know the musical master that is “Hartmann”! This critically acclaimed Singer and Guitarist cut his teeth in the late nineties working with many of the finest musicians. Not losing his initial vision, and while working on numerous other music projects, the “Hartmann” group recorded and toured tirelessly! Each time the group took to the road, the audiences increased, and more opportunities came their way. The group released five albums from 2004 to just lately, each exploring a wider musical plateau than the one previous. It is this material that makes up this, a living, breathing document of the “Hartmann” sound experience. A stellar collection from this creative genius and hard working individual! Sixteen tracks of pure heartfelt Rock! Yes the rockers are here-front and centre, and so are the ballads and mid-tempo excursions that magnify the talent of Oliver and the collective talent of “Hartmann”! Don’t pass on this… A top drawer release from one of Europe’s rising stars! Bruce Atkinson (91/100) MRF | 9
band. sabaton album. swedish empire live Interview with. joakim broden interviewed by:. p. bonali
Question: Just like a timeline, how would you describe the way of Sabaton from 2011 to 2013? Answer: So much have happened, in 2012 we did loose 4 band members and gained 3 new. This was of course a major change in the band even if me and Joakim still remains and with that the base of the band. Since 2011 I think we have done maybe 250 shows or so in 50 countries and we have released the album Carolus Rex which at least in Sweden was a major hit being in the charts almost 1 year and selling platinum. Q: The idea to relase this set How was it born? Does it come from Sabaton or Nuclear Blast? To realize this it's full of costs, technical equipment. All things have to organized… A: The idea is totally from our side. We have a new band we wanted to show to the world. And after 13 years and 6 studioalbums we felt that it was time to do a real live DVD and so we did. We decided when and where and how to record this. Q: Why did you record, better: Focus on:
publish, the "oberhausen" and "Gothenburg" (also "London") shows ? A: Since we wanted to show Sabaton from different angles. Not only a big show in a festival but also the clubshows in different countries and one arenashow which was Gothenburg. Every night is different and we really wanted to show Sabaton on all levels. Not onyl the crazy 100-tousands people show. Q: The fans... You're travelling around the world, visiting so many countries. Just let us know the differences how the fans reacting, their mood, their crazyness... Maybe there is a special story, just like a absolutely crazy thing… A: Of course the people are different in every corner of the world and we are yet to discover a lot of them since Sabaton mainly focused on Europe until now. Generally the southern Europe is wilder at shows. We played in Cyprus a few times and once and I think they broke the crashbarriers before Joakim had introduced the first song Ghost Division. They
made 400 people sound like 40.000. Q: Different stages. The difference playing a small club, a "middle" venue or an open air just like "Wacken" or so. How dows it feel? Closer to the fans, far away; What do you prefer? A: Everything is fun. Its never up to the crowd to deliver the show. That is our job. Of course its a mighty sight to see a field like in Wacken full of metalheads but I actually prefer when its inside, sweaty and 100% of the crowd is there for Sabaton. The atmosphere in clubs cannot be taken to the festivals. Q: Plans for the future. Around ten shows in 2013 are coming. That's it? After all the success how will Sabaton continue? A: We are building lots of ideas. The future looks exciting and at the moment we are already booking deep into 2015 with shows. The Swedish Empire Tour is almost at an end but Sabaton stands hungry and ready to strike on the world with a new album before next summer so expect to be hit hard once again.
SABATON - Swedish Empire Live (Nuclear Blast) After being honored as Polish citizens, it was natural for SABATON to record their first official live document in the country that has supported the band like no other. So, during August 2012, Sabaton went to Poland to headline the huge "Przystanek Woodstock Open Air Festival" in front of 600.000 (!!!) people. And here is now the final result, this brand new release from the swedish Power-metallers, called "Swedish Empire Live", available in any possible format: Blu Ray, DVD, Cd and also LP! And that's not all, as the release also features live footage of the band’s performances in Gothenburg, London and Oberhausen on their extensive "Swedish Empire Tour" for a more than 4 hours of playing time. The performance of the band is very impressive, really powerful and tight, so if you're a Power Metal fan, you probably won't dare to miss this release. The Cd track-list contains 16 songs, spanning thru the whole Sabaton career, with songs like the opener “Ghost Division”, “Carolus Rex”, “Midway” and “Cliffs of Gallipolli” being probably the most significative. Primo Bonali (90/100)
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band. edens curse album. symphony of sin Interview with. paul logue interviewed by. d. jamieson
Question: The new album sounds immense. You must be happy with it. Answer: Wow! Thank you! Yes we are absolutely delighted about it. There is a real buzz within the band, and I know it sounds so cliched to say it, but we firmly believe it's our best work to date and a rather "special" album. We are so excited to see what everyone else thinks of it. Q: Nikola Mijic, the new singer does a great job. He’s a good fit because he can cope with the melodic element that’s so key to Eden’s Curse sound but also handles the heavier material well too. How did you find him and can you tell us a bit about him? A: I agree. Nikola is such a versatile vocalist with so much soul, passion and all round ability, he can lietrally sing anything. As for finding him, well initially we held some public online auditions, similar to what Dragonforce did, and even though the quality received was very high indeed, we were looking for that certain "je ne sais quoi". I was researching on the internet through various Focus on:
media streams and I happened to be browsing on the website of Lion Music who have some killer bands. I came across a Hungarian Prog band called "Dreyelands" and liked what I heard from their singer. I jumped to Facebook to see if he had a profile and low and behold he did. I reached out to Nikola and invited him to audition, which he did, and the rest they say is history. Q: Did you approach the writing and recording differently on this album? A: Not really, it was pretty much as we recorded the previous three records. We did however consciously push ourselves and each other harder on the songs. Thorsten, myself and Pete wouldn't accept the first idea that came forward if any one of us thought that the idea could be bettered. We went back to the drawing board multiple times on each of these songs and it really shows, I believe. This also demonstrates how comfortable we are working with each other, because we would not let personal gain get in the way of "the song". We would only say "done" when everyone was truly happy with every part, thus enabling us to write the best batch of songs that we could.
Q: Which songs are you particularly proud of on the new record? A: I'm proud of every one of them, but two that spring to mind would be the title track "Symphony Of Sin" because it is such an epic song and the marriage of rock and symphonic music orchestra is always something I wanted to try out on a new song. I also composed the orchestral piece in it, so to hear that come back from a professional arranger and orchestra was pretty special indeed. Also I love the track "Unbreakable" because writing it was very cathartic and uplifting. It's also a bit different for us - it's very melodic, almost like a pop song but with a hint of a Mr Big added for good measure. Q: You’ve used Dennis Ward as the engineer again on “Symphony Of Sin”. What is it you like about his work so much? A: He is cheap! Haha, I wish he was! Dennis has been with us since the beginning and he knows what works for our music. Sonically his productions just kick you hard in the face and that's what I love so much. I think he is the number one guy out there for this type of music.
EDEN’S CURSE - Symphony of Sin (AFM Records) This is the fourth album for the multi-cultural melodic rock band. There have been some personal upheavals in the band, most notably the departure of original singer Michael Eden and a further false start with Marco Sandron (Pathosray/Fairyland). However, their new Serbian singer Nikola Mimic comes from reasonable obscurity (the band Dreyelands) to show he has all the power and melody necessary to take the band forward to the wider audience the band deserves. The band’s trade mark mix of bombastic, memorable melodic rock and metal is here in abundance. “Evil & Divine”, “Unbreakable” and the epic ballad “Fallen From Grace” are marvellous melodic rock tunes. New keyboard player Steve Williams from Power Quest fits in seamlessly and over 13 tracks you get everything from the stripped back AOR of “Rock Bottom” to the full metal attack of “Devil In Disguise”. It’s got a heavily layered production with huge backing vocals and a whole host of hooks in each song to ensure this is a disc you’ll keep returning to (although a less compressed sound would have improved it further). “Symphony Of Sin” will prove to be one of this year’s melodic rock highlights. Duncan Jamieson (94/100) MRF | 11
REECE - Compromise (AOR Heaven) Ever since his return in 2008, David Reece has been involved with some great albums and artists from Gypsy Rose, Reece Kronlund, Bangalore Choir and most of all, with his debut solo album “Universal Language”. Now in 2013 Reece returns with only his second solo release to date, “Compromise” and joining him on this release are the big name cast including bassist Ronnie Parkes, guitarist Jack Frost, keyboardist Paul Morris and special guests Christian Tolle and Andy Susemihl, for what is another great release. The album sees Reece taking things along a harder path than previously heard and I think one that suits the whole solo album persona, where artists are allowed to push the envelope a little more. The hard rock hits you from the off with the opener barrage of “Disaster” and “End of It All”, with Reece’s unmistakable vocals laying down the law from beginning to end. The hard rockers are split with some stunning ballads, the first of these being “Someone Beautiful” and “Everything to Everyone”. But it’s the ballsy rockers that really do it for me, with “Along For The Ride” and the almost Sabbathesque “Evil Never Dies” the pick of the bunch for me. The album may be called “Compromise”, but Reece never compromises one iota on this stunning album. Barry McMinn (95/100) SIDEBURN - Electrify (AOR Heaven) Coming from Switzerland and playing a dirty, riffs-oriented and powerful Rock'n'Roll, the comparison between Sideburner and Krokus might be the most easy and immediate thing to do. After six albums (their debut "Sell Your Soul for Rock'n'Roll" is dated 1997) and some highlights in their career (Sideburn was recently chosen by Adidas to be the "band of the evening" during the Adidas-Rockstar event that took place on August 11th, 2012, at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany), these swiss rockers are still playing what they believe in, and with the new "Electrify" they bring us another dose of that pure, bluesy & energetic Rock that we all love so much. Ac/Dc, Krokus, Junkyard, Dirty Looks, Circus Of Power, but also Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet... all of these awesome riff-makers bands have been obviously influences for Sideburn. The album sounds fresh and punchy, and some credit must go to world famous producer Beau Hill for taking care of the mix. It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock'n'roll! Primo Bonali (83/100) HARTMANN - Out in the Cold (Reissue) (Avenue of Allies) When this album was originally released in 2005 it caught many people by surprise. While music fans were familiar with Oliver Hartmann as singer with At Vance, few were aware what a great melodic rock songwriterand performer he was. Up-tempo tracks like “Alive Again”, “Out In The Cold” and “How Long” combine what people loved about 80s rock bands but here he also adds just enough of a contemporary edge in the production to make this revelent for today. There’s a terrific cover of Skunk Ananse’s “Brazen” which retains the emotional anguish of the original but reimagines it as a huge melodic rock song. His voice is strong and soulful and he has the ability to emotional connect on the ballads such as “Can You Tell Me Where Love Has Gone?” as well kick up a storm on the rocking material. If you missed this disc first time round, make sure you pick up this re-release (which includes the acoustic ballad “Rescue In my Arms” as a bonus track) as it’s one of the noughties finest melodic rock albums. Duncan Jamieson (94/100) COLDSPELL - Frozen Paradise (Escape Music) It’s album number 3 for the Swedish rockers and it’s pretty much business as usual. There are sharp, glacial riffs throughout from Michael Larsson combined with big melodic choruses. There’s still an undeniable Whitesnake 87 crunch, Dokken throb and bluesy Led Zep feel lurking under the surface but this album has the most metallic bite of their releases to date. The rhythm section keeps the ebb and flow of the record interesting with plenty of tempo changes and on occasion there are some good melodic, keyboard hooks such as on the fine “Angel Of The World”. There’s a slightly folky feel to “Soldiers” which adds something new while the metal of “Paradise” and Great White thump of “Dark Reflections” also standout. Although the different tempos, riffs and choruses work well, the verses are often too pedestrian. No fault of singer Niklas Swedentorp who has a good set of pipes but rather an area of the song writing that needs attention. That aside, this a solid melodic hard rock record and if you’re already a fan of the band then Coldspell’s charms show no signs of melting away just yet. Duncan Jamieson (86/100) BILL LEVERTY - Drive (Leverty Music) Firehouse guitarist Bill Leverty delivers another solo outing while the rest of the world wait (im)patiently for Firehouse to record something new. This wasn't my ideal idea of new music from the talented Leverty – an all-covers affair featuring classic rock tunes from the way back days of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Little Feat, The Ohio Players, Three Dog Night, Eric Clapton, Edgar Winter, The Guess Who, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and Rare Earth. Bill's gruff voice suits the material here and I must say I'm impressed in the methods he uses to rock up the material. There is definitely some fine shredding guitar moments here. And some fine tunes – but not all work for me and it will all depend on the taste of the listener to whether you like the whole album or only parts of. Personally I really like Fortunate Son, One, No Time and I Just Want To Celebrate (funky goodness). Somewhat of a mixed bag song wise, but really well produced, expertly played of course and fans of Bill should have no trouble appreciating the authenticity of the project. Andrew McNeice - Melodicrock.com (82/100) UNTIL RAIN - Anthem To Creation (Escape Music) Until Rain is a Progressive Metal band coming from Thessaloniki, Greece, and formed back in 2004. "Anthem To Creation" is their second album (after the debut, "The Reign Of Dreams", dated 2009) and it delivers a pretty unique sound, where Progressive Melodic Metal (think Pagan's Mind and Shadow Gallery) is wisely combined to the more epic orchestral Power of Symphony X or Time Requiem, with the inclusion of Greek folklore, in both lyrics and melodies, and some Electronic/Experimental music thrown into. Singer, Yannis Papadopoulos, has a pretty high-pitched still very melodic voice and sings with passion and attitude, while the whole band sounds tight and powerful. 11 tracks enriched by a pretty heavy and modern, yet very clear production, a very long album that has to be played over and over, and obviously not the typical easy-listening Cd that stays in your car cd-player for days. If you're looking for something creative, adventurous and somehow beautifully intricate, Until Rain have something for you. Primo Bonali (83/100) 12 | MRF
THE THEANDER EXPRESSION - S/T (Avenue of Allies) Another Melodic / AOR artist is about to take the genre by storm and his name Andrée Theander. Joining Theander are fellow Swedes whose names some you might find familiar like vocalist Goran Edman and drummer Herman Furin, with newcomer Christian Hedgren sharing the vocals duties with Edman. On bass we have Linus Abrahamson and on keyboards Michael Ottoson. The album mixes the best of old school AOR, the likes of Toto and Street Talk, with the more recent Lionville and Work Of Art woven into the mix, that will warm even the hardest of diehard of AOR fans. You have to check out the likes of “Sanguine”, the title track “Strange Nostalgia” and “Mr Know It All” to hear Theander’s vast range. Other tracks of note have to be opener “Conception of Life” and the six minute AOR masterpiece and album closer “‘Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dream”. This is definitely Sweden showing us how Melodic Rock and AOR should be done, by revisiting the past and bringing it into the now. I can’t wait for album number two if this debut is anything to go by. Barry McMinn (90/100) SINNER - Touch of Sin 2 (AFM Records) Primal Fear’s hard working Bassist; Mat Sinner has dove into his archives-pulling out some absolute gems from his other group: “Sinner”! Mat set out to re-work selections from “Sinner’s” earlier and rare albums, including 1985’s “Touch of Sin”. Not only has Mat re-recorded this extraordinary material from his past, he has included three brand new numbers! “Blood on the Sand”, “Heat of the City”, and “Don’t Believe a Word” are glimpses into “Sinner’s future. Re-working his earlier recordings, Mat went one step further and has successfully assembled some very special guests on this project. David Readmann of “Voodoo Circle” & “Pink Cream 69”, and Erik Martensson of “W.E.T.” amongst others. “Sinner” sound like they are back! The vigor comes forth brilliantly on the new material and the older expressions. “Don’t Believe a Word” is a romping rocker and “Blood on the Sand” has the same intense vibe as anything from “Mask of Sanity”! All in all, “Touch of Sin 2” is a very solid-if not historical- document of one of the finest Hard Rock groups on the scene today. Bruce Atkinson (91/100) ASHES OF ARES – S/T (Nuclear Blast) Matt Barlow had put three albums under his belt with Florida Metallers Iced Earth before parting ways with the Tampa band after their Horror Show opus, only to rejoin in 2007, only to depart once more in 2011. Now in 2013 Barlow is back and joining him on this new Metal venture is fellow Iced Earther Freddie Vidales, who handles both guitars and bass on the album and Nevermore’s Van Williams on drums. The album is full on, heads down metal, that kicks off with the might “The Messenger”, where Barlow unleashes that tremendous vocal, while Vidales lays down the big bass lines and streaming guitars, all backed by the thunderous rhythms of Williams. The mighty driven metal that propels this album continues with monstrous elements like “Moving The Chains”, the dark tones of ‘Punishment’ and even the gentle tones of the semi acoustic ‘This Is My Hell’, being just some of the tracks that really make this an album worthy of the musicians behind it. Definitely a band on the rise, some may even say a phoenix rising out of the ashes, the Ashes of Ares. Barry McMinn (90/100) BLUES PILLS – Devil Man (Nuclear Blast) On this 4 track EP Blues Pills most active ingredient is the big booming voice of Swedish singer Elin Larsson. She commands your attention from the beginning on “Devil Man” coming across like the offspring of Janis Joplin and Robert Plant. The ballad “The River” is how Adele would sound if she fronted a psychedelic blues band. Americans Cory Berry and Zach Anderson who were in the bluesy garage band Radio Moscow create a big, bassy ,retro, stoner groove that sounds like the music is coming up through your floorboards. On the Cream influenced “Time Is Now” the band rumbles so low it could cause an earthquake and on the slow hypnotic blues of “Dig In” you sense the band could stretch this out to a lengthy jam live . 18 year-old Frenchman Dorian Sorriaux peels of some delightful old school solos, aping early Fleetwood Mac on the floaty outro of “Devil Man” and elsewhere the solos have plenty of character, bending notes for feel rather than playing fast and flashy. It bodes well for their first full album currently in the works. Duncan Jamieson (84/100) SPARKLANDS – Tomocyclus (Avenue of Allies) SPARKLANDS is a new project-band put together by two brothers coming from the Netherlands, Thomas Riekerk (lead vocals) and Robert Riekerk (guitars and keyboards), with one mission: play what they love most, AOR music. With influences - as the band itself states - spanning from Bad English and Giant to Toto and Foreigner, "Tomocyclus" sounds extremely melodic and probably lighter than the last AOR albums you might have listened to, yet very enjoyable and touching. Some songs here might sound a little bit too much Pop (the Riekerk's have been part, over the years, of many different Pop bands and international artists, getting success with a couple of hits) and the keyboards and synthesizers are often prominent and more upfront than guitars, so that the album will appeal especially to lighter AOR (a la Boulevard, Saga, Mr. Mister) fans. According to the bio, the band worked hard on getting a "retro" sound, by using a lot of vintage gear, to lay down the classic '80s AOR sound, which resulted in an overall warm sound, although the production, unfortunately, is not up to the high standard of (past and also new) albums in this genre. Primo Bonali (78/100) WOLFPAKK – Cry Wolf (AFM Records) “Cry Wolf” is the much anticipated follow up the self titled debut release from Mark Sweeney and Michael Voss’s Wolfpakk. Again the pair have selected some of the Metal and Hard Rock world���s finest musicians and vocalist to feature on this album: the likes of A. Somerville, T. Mills, R. Scheepers and D. White leading the vocal charge and K. Marcello, M. Meyer, D. Airey and H. Rarebell. If you loved the debut then you’re going to be blown away by the follow up, which gets underway in emphatic style with “Moonlight”, a storming opener with Scheepers unleashing those mighty pipes, this is followed by Johnny Gioeli laying downing the vocals on this melodic metaller. There is enough melody rich metal to keep you headbanging for days with Voss and Sweeney to take up mike for the single “Dark Revelation”, a no holds barred raise your fist in the air metalheads delight, even the wonderful mellower moment “Cold Winter” with Somerville at the helm will get to even the hardest metal heart. The Pakk is definitely back and they mean business. Barry McMinn (92/100) MRF | 13
band. impera album. pieces of eden interview with:. jk impera interviewed by:. b. mcminn
Question: With the debut album “Legacy Of Life” hitting all the right notes with fans and media alike, did you feel any pressure when working on the second album “Pieces Of Eden” to live up to such a great debut? Answer: I was extremely proud of “Legacy Of Life” so I absolutely felt that we had to make the next one even better, not just for the fans but for ourselves too and I think the result speaks for it self. In my opinion “pieces Of Eden” is a big step up from “Legacy Of Life”. The songs are better, the sound is better and it´s overall a big step up. Q: Again we see the same lineup as the debut, how important was it for you to have the same guys to work with on the second album? A: We are a band so the lineup will always be the same on every Impera album and you can´t ask for better guys to work with. I´ve known them all for over 30 years and in my book they are some of Focus on:
the best musicians out there and I feel very privileged to have them in my band also the chemistry in the band is magical, it feels like we have been in this band forever. Q: It’s been little over a year since the release of the debut, how long after the release of “Legacy Of Life” did you start working on the follow up? A: It´s actually less than a year. “Legacy” was released in October 2013 and Tommy and I went back in the studio in December to work on the music and within a week we had all the music done so it went extremely fast. Tommy is amazing when it comes to write songs, he has a lot of ideas and he works fast and if I have an idea he understand exactly what I´m looking for in the end. We think alike when it comes to songwriting and we will actually start writing for the next one next month. Q: Not many bands are formed by the drummer, I can only think of one Carmine Appice,
why do you think drummers are generally seen as rebels and not leaders? A: I really don´t know, I can only speak from my perspective and I´ve always been the guy that wants to take control, it´s been like that in every band I´ve been involved with, I guess I´m that kind of guy just like Carmine, we are pretty special haha. I´ve met Carmine a couple of times and he is a great guy / drummer. Q: Will Impera be taking to the road again in the not too distant future? A: Absolutely, we are currently working with a booking agency who´s main goal is to book us at as many festivals as possible for next summer and there are plans to visit Japan in the near future. We want to tour as much as possible but we always have in mind that the other guys are involved in other bands / projects so it´s a lot of planning involved when we are making plans for are forth coming shows.
I M P E R A - Pieces of Eden (Escape Music) “Pieces of Eden” is the next chapter in the Impera story taking up where their debut “Legacy Of Life” left off and once again we see founder JK Impera being joined by Matti Alfonzetti on vocals, Tommy Denander on guitars and completing the line-up Mats Vassfjord on bass. The album itself continues the Hard Rock path of the debut with Alfonzetti at his very best. Denander is a flamboyant six sting maestro and needs no hype, this guy knows his way around a fret board. Impera himself and Vassfjord are the solid foundation for the bands hard rocking sound. The album opens up with the monster “Beast Within”, instantly you’re hooked to the big rhythms and tasty licks. This is Hard Rock as it was meant to be. Things continue down a similar path with the likes of “These Chains”, the stomping “This is War” and “Smalltown Blues”. The guys even give a nod to their hero’s KISS with a cover of Paul Stanley’s “Goodbye”. This is Hard Rock at its modern best. Impera are a tight unit that is equal to the sum of its parts. Definitely one album to get you rocking. Barry McMinn (92/100)
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Barry McMinn: Hi David, congratulations on another superb album in “Compromise”. Where does the album title come from? David Reece: The title comes from the day-to-day struggles that we all face. No matter who you are or what you do we all have to deal with those things that just don’t go our way. Sometimes life seems to be an uphill battle and sometimes you have to compromise just to overcome. I’ve dealt with that so much in my life I felt it was time to address it. BMM: This is only your second solo album, but you’ve never stop working, how did you find time to fit this album in with
the Bangalore Choir and Tango Down albums? DR: With Tango Down we don’t do any major touring, we mostly do one –off shows, festivals and such. The guys in Bangalore Choir right now are busy doing their own personal things and living there lives so at the moment although I am keeping busy there is still enough time to do what I need to do and being an artist I need that extra bit of self-expression that I can only get on a solo album. BMM: This album is a mixed bag, do you feel you’re able to push the envelope more with solo albums than with the more band orientated albums? DR: Absoloutley! With a band you are a member, it is a team effort, and the outcome is exactly that. With my own solo record I am in creative control of the songs and every aspect of the recording. I feel it is much more of an embodiment
of who I am as a person and artist. That is why there is such diversity on my solo albums. You don’t record an album in a day, at least a good one anyway haha. Life is like a roller coaster with ups and downs and that is what I feel I have achieved with “Compromise” it’s a Rock and Roll Rollercoaster that reflects my life from fun and crazy times to sad and angry times. This record runs the full course and it is something that wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t in creative control and I am very proud of the outcome. BMM: The album features some great moments from the excellent “Someone Beautiful” to the heavier “All Road Lead to War”, what do you prefer, the full on heads down rockers or the gentler ballads? DR: Really I am a blues singer at heart. I need a song to move me. Sometimes it takes a hold of me it really doesn’t matter if it is heavy metal, a ballad, or a melodic rocker. It’s all about the emotion the song evokes in me. I can do them all pretty well I think haha. That is what I love about “Compromise” I can relate to every track and gave it my all. I hope people enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it. BMM: Will there be another Bangalore Choir album in the not too distant future? DR: There is nothing planned at the moment but anything is possible.
band. harem scarem album. mood swings ii interview with:. p. lesperance interviewed by:. p. bonali
Question: Why do you feel the need to re-record your historical Mood Swings album? Were there anything that not satisfy you in the original version? Answer: It was the 20th anniversary of the Mood Swings record and we thought: a) it would be a good way to commemorate it and give something cool to the fans and b) so we could have ownership of the masters. Q: There are three unreleased songs: “World Gone To Pieces”, “Anarchy” and “Brighter Day”. Are they old songs not included in the 1993 release? Or are they totally new? A: They are brand new songs. Q: What the new songs lyrics talks about? A: In a nutshell, the lyrics are focused on the state of things in the world and trying to look beyond the negative and improve things for the future. Q: Is this release a kind of test for a possible future reunion? have you any regrets for your Focus on:
2008’s split? A: I wouldn't say it's a test. We are doing the re-record and the tour and then we will see what happens. We have nothing planned beyond that at the moment. If the response to the CD is good and folks are happy to have us back, who knows. We might consider doing another album. We have no regrets as far as the split. We all still work together on other projects and are constantly in contact. It was definitely time to give Harem Scarem a rest. Q: What are the Mood Swings songs that you enriched and modified more in this new version? A: I think the songs that are the most different from the original version are Just Like I Planned, Jealousy and Mandy. We wanted to keep true to the originals for the most part. Changing things just for the sake of changing them didn't seem like the right thing to do. Q: You also turned the cover artwork background colour from
dark to white. Why? A: We wanted to keep the same basic concept and style but alter it enough to make it obviously different from the first. We are totally thrilled with the artwork from Andre, I personally think it's far better then the first package. He put so much time and thought into it. I was totally blown away. Q: What other album you desire to re-record again? What do you change you can turn back in time? A: I don't think we'll ever re-record an entire album again. Maybe just our favourite songs or ones that we feel we could do a better version of today. Q: What can Harem Scarem add to their story? Has the best yet to come? A: Well, at the moment we can add this album and tour to the list. After that who knows. As I said there are no plans to write and record a new album but you never know what can happen.
H A R E M S C A R E M - Mood Swings II (Frontiers Records) “Mood Swings” has been one of my fave albums in the early ‘90s (it was originally released in 1993) and definitely the one I ppreciated the most in the whole Harem Scarem discography. The band, during the 20+ years long career, had most of their albums released with a great mix and production, always updating their sound and with a clever use of the new technologies. So, it’s not a surprise now to listen to these new, slightly more modern, versions of classic hits like “No Justice”, “Saviors Never Cry”, “Stranger Than Love” and “Sentimental Blvd” with a clear and crisp production (and I’m not describing the sound of Harem Scarem, as I’m sure any of you, MRF readers, know and appreciate the canadian rockers). The band also decided to include three brand new songs (“World Gone To Pieces”, “Anarchy” and “Brighter Day”), written with the same feeling and style of the original “Mood Swings”, and, although I listen to some modern influences here and there, the fantastic melodies! The excellent guitar playing and the joyful energy are always there. Can’t wait to see them live at “Firefest UK”! Primo Bonali (90/100) MRF | 19
band. sammy hagar album. s.hagar and friends Interview with. sammy hagar interviewed by:. d. jamieson
SAMMY HAGAR - Sammy Hagar & Friends (Frontiers Records) Celebrating 40 years in rock music seems as good a time as any to record an album with your friends, especially when your friends are some of rocks biggest hitters such as ex-band mates Michael Anthony, Denny Carmassi, Bill Church, and Neal Schon, plus people like Nancy Wilson and Taj Mahal. There’s a mix of new songs and a few covers (the most suprising choice being a version of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”). Like his “Livin’ It Up” solo disc from 2006 it has that laid back vibe with your toes in the sand, sipping a tequila (Sammy has his own lucrative brand). There’s piano and accordion on “Margaritaville”, a ukulele on “All We Need Is An Island” and female backing vocals elsewhere to make this different than his usual hard rockin’ approach. That’s not to say he doesn’t rock out in places such as on “Knockdown Dragout” with Kid Rock and “Going Down” with Neal Schon (captured in 1 take). It’s not Chickenfoot or Van Halen but if you want a warm sounding record from one of rock’s best voices, having a blast with his famous mates then this is for you. Duncan Jamieson (90/100)
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Question: Can you please talk about this new great record “Sammy Hagar & Friends? Answer: This record is really a celebration of my whole career and bringing it to where I am now, but not losing touch with where I started with Montrose – like the song, “Not Going Down” – it’s so Montrose with Denny (Carmassi) and Bill (Church), and “Bad On Fords And Chevrolets” with Ronnie Dunn – it’s got the “I Can’t Drive 55” feeling all over again. At this stage in my life, it feels a little weird for me to even make my own album. With all my buddies in Chickenfoot, it’s a lot easier because we all do our own thing and it comes together. But for me to do a solo album felt almost a little weird. But before long, I got carried away, the way I do, and before I knew it, I had a record I love. This album is everything I am now, and everything I’ve been since I got in this business, all sewn up into one album. And that makes me feel proud and thankful. Q: Is it more interesting to you to re-inventing an old song or to create a new song of yours? A: It’s really a combination, you know - Being able to do all those songs that are a little bit of the past with some of those guys, but in the present and combining it with brand new things like “All We Need Is An Island” with Nancy Wilson and the lifestyle stuff I’ve been doing is great. Things like I’ve been doing with the Wabos and the Cabo Wabo where it all started; it’s all part of the lifestyle. Q: Your Personal Jesus version is so hard and psychedelic. Did you planned the direction to follow? Or was it a spontaneous process? A: I was with Chad Smith, Michael Anthony and Neal Schon in the Studio and I had just heard Depeche Mode’s version on the radio while driving through San Francisco. I loved the song because I thought it was very cool an electronic band like that played such a heavy blues groove. Chad reminded me Johnny Cash had done a version, and so I said, let’s blow this thing up and do our hard rock version.
Q: How did you choose the songs to put on the album? How are they related to your feelings of today? A: When I got into the studio with the guys I started to pull in to play on this record – Michael Anthony, Neal Schon, Chad Smith… Once we all got together and started recording this music, it really took on a special life of its own. I was inspired enough by these guys, that I just kept on wanting to write new songs and I got other people to write some songs for me and that was great. It just became one big “this is what it is in a nutshell” – the new songs are, they’re so that. Q: What about the cover songs on the album? A: This is red-blooded American music, that’s what it is. It’s where rock, soul, country and blues all meet. We can all learn from the blues. Robert Johnson didn’t struggle with recording, he didn’t need fifty takes. Back in the day, they just did it, and put their heart and soul into the music they made. And that’s what I try to do. Q: You played in several different projects but it seems that you never changed band. Your songs are always “Sammy Hagar’s songs” and often was the band (Van Halen, Chickenfoot) to become “like you”. Did you never feel “smaller than the band” in your career? A: I’ve worked with some of the best musicians in the business throughout my career and I’m still with them today – heck most of them are on this record! Q: You call this project “Sammy Hagar & Friends”. But who has been your real friends in show business along your life? A: There are so many, I don’t even know where to start, but a lot of them are on this record. You go back to the Montrose guys, where it all started, and Michael Anthony – we had a great run with Van Halen. Toby Keith and I always have a blast down at the Cabo Wabo and Nancy Wilson and I go way, way back together. Everyone on it is a real friend. It’s awesome. I feel really, really good about this CD. Q: Would you like more to be
remembered as a great singer or a special guitar virtuoso? A: I think fans know me as a lead singer/frontman and songwriter. Q: Is it true that you are preparing a new version of HSAS? Could you give us any anticipations? A: A couple of the guys from HSAS – Michael Anthony and Neal Schon – along with Chad Smith were in the studio with me laying down a few tracks, so we started joking we were the new HSAS, but my new album, “Sammy Hagar and Friends” has them and a whole crew of great friends and artists – all of them bringing something really unique and that’s what makes this record so great. Q: Two years ago you released the book Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock. Is it possible to be really “uncensored” and true in a autobiography? In particular when you hang out today with the same people of 30 or 40 years ago... A: A lot of my friends and family have been with me the whole way and that’s a great thing. I’ve always just been me, they’ve always just been them; so even if I’m putting it on paper it doesn’t matter – they were there for most of it anyway. I’ve had a great time throughout my career – and maybe at times been a little misunderstood, so I guess I just wanted to set the record straight. And with the way I grew up – talk a little bit about how hardships aren’t anything if you’re happy. Q: What is the secret of your tequila? A: There's no real secret - I originally created it for me and my friends to drink at Cabo Wabo so we just made the very best / premium stuff that we wanted to drink. It's authentic - all part of my lifestyle. I’ve been living it for a long time and I’m not going to stop, I’ll tell you that much. Now, I’m really excited about my rum Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum. It’s just the best silver rum - it’s made with the best sugar cane you can get and that’s in Hawaii. The soil is so pure, you get the most amazing flavors. And that’s what makes it special – it captures the “Spirit of Aloha,” which is my lifestyle. MRF | 21