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Interviews in chronological order of publishing top to bottom

Time Columns - New Dimensions Explored with Looping
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 1/7/11
Posted 1/10/11 11:08PM EST

Photo Courtesy Time Columns

TLR!: Kenny and Jordan thanks for the opportunity for Tastes Like Rock's readers to get to know Time Columns better. For those that are new to your sound start by telling a little bit about how you came together as Time Columns and what sets you apart from other acts.

Kenny: No problem, thanks for talking with us. I started Time Columns about two years ago as a solo looping project to develop songs based on complex guitar and keyboard rhythms and accessible melodies. When I started seeing the possibilities available as a musician using looping technology, I started adding a drummer to the mix. Time Columns grew out of this philosophy of making as many different sounds as possible with the fewest people possible. Our music is built primarily on rhythm and complex meters, but we put utmost importance on melody so it's easy for people to enjoy. We think this formula has worked well for us - you can dance to our music, melodies hopefully get stuck in your head, and at the same time, there are points where a lot of people have no idea what the hell is happening in a song. We have found that our music is accessible across genre boundaries. Fans of indie, rock, pop, and even classical enjoy our music for its melody and the feelings it evokes. At the same time, fans of math rock, prog, jazz, and even metal enjoy our music for its technical aspect and complex structures.

TLR!: Live looping is facsinating from several technical aspects of music production and performance, how did you guys arrive at the point you are now?

Jordan: When I joined the band, Kenny already had a firm grasp on his system of live looping and layering. There were several songs already completed which I quickly learned and performed with him. Since then we have started to further develop our technique as a looping duo by adding additional instruments and adjusting how we play together. We are both multi-instrumentalists in the band now, creating fuller sound from a two member band. While Kenny is playing guitar and synth (often tapping and playing both at once) I have a small synth set up next to my drum set as well as a guitar. We route my synth and guitar through his system allowing me to add melodies and loops into songs during moments where drums are not present. We are still developing our style and constantly adapting. Whenever we have a crazy idea of adding an instrument or a sound, instead of writing them off as crazy ideas we figure out a way to do it.

TLR!: The pros of looping with the Gibson Echoplex are obvious to anyone that has had to deal with band politics, but do you both find any cons in live looping as opposed to having a larger group to achieve the intricacies your music sports?

Jordan: There are definitely cons to live looping as there are with anything. Although we are in love with looping, one of the down sides is the additional difficulty of playing live. Since we are loop based, and we are constantly layering polyrhythms and interacting time signatures, we have to pay close attention to the original loop to stay on tempo. The way we do that is following a tiny blinking light on Kenny's amp. When you play with a band of all live musicians you can adapt to time changes easily, but with our band if one of us gets off time the whole song is in danger of falling to pieces.

Kenny: Yeah, Jordan hit it on the head. I absolutely swear by the Gibson Echoplex. That thing is a brilliant piece of technology. Looping opens up tons of doors musically, but it also makes some things difficult. Sometimes we come up with great guitar lines that work perfect between two live guitars, but would be impossible to pull off live since Jordan would have to play drums and guitar at the same time. We always joke about cloning ourselves so that we wouldn't have to worry about playing with loops anymore! We don't want to give the wrong impression though, we love looping.

TLR!: Guys when it comes to the live looping, how much of your live performances would you say are improved on the fly?

Jordan: We have a blast playing looping music live. Everything is very structured and none of what we perform live is improvised, it is all carefully thought out before hand. From what audiences have told us, witnessing us perform the looping live creates a very interesting live show. It creates a bit of a spectacle, watching two guys play several instruments and building songs through digital looping. Though the intention of looping is not to create a spectacle, its a very nice side result!

TLR!: Hacknied as this question really is in the industry, it bears asking simply for the broad range you accomplish with your music... Jordan, Kenny who are some of the stronger influences on your styles?

Kenny: First off, props for using the word "hacknied" in an interview question! Some of the stronger influences on our style of music comes from the genres of post-rock and math-rock. I love bands like Explosions in the Sky and 65daysofstatic for their dynamic pacing and use of melody to create epic compositions. The whole genre of post rock really pulls on your emotions as a listener and we try to incorporate some of those elements in our songs. "Math" rock bands like Battles, Tera Melos, Maps and Atlases and Don Caballero are definitely some of my favorites of all time too. Their use of rhythm and the interplay between guitars and drums are a big part of how we write songs in Time Columns. I'm completely obsessed with Battles, they were the inspiration behind using loopers (especially the Gibson Echoplex) in our band. They're a cut above and beyond as far as what bands are capable of nowadays... Three of the members use Echoplexes to make loops and it's absolutely awe-inspiring how much teamwork goes into their live performances. Outside of "rock" bands, I have an enormous amount of respect for modern composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass too.

Jordan: Besides both being really in Battles, Steve Reich is a huge musical influence on us. His use of repeating musical and rhythmic motifs and stacking is very much like looping, only all of his "loops" are actual musicians playing their part perfectly for the whole song. I am also personally very interested in the music of bands like Deerhoof, The Octopus Project and Toe. Those bands have an amazing ability to combine highly expressive and emotional instrumentation with elements of noise or electronic sounds.

TLR!: What kind of walls, if any, have you both found as "mainstream" rock, and what is expected of rock bands, has become very much homogenized over the last few years?

Jordan: We're both fairly unhappy with what "mainstream" popular rock has become today. It seems to us that the majority of popular rock simply does what they think they "should" do in order to attract listeners, rather than doing something original to both attract listeners and make people think. We don't believe you have play recycled music that everyone has heard before in order to be musically approachable. There are still bands coming out that make intelligent music that many people like, and we respect that alot. Unfortunately, it seems bands like that are few and far between in popular music.

TLR!: Following that, what do you both hope will be the identity of music in this new decade? The 80s were excess, the 90s were fueled by experimentation and the rise of alternative everything, the past decade was permeated by rap and a resurgence of pop leading to fusions of many genres thus creating new ones... where would Time Columns have it go from here?

Jordan: That is a great question, and one that I don't know if we have a definite answer for. We are a band based around adaptation and evolution, so we have high expectations for future musical "identities". Right now is a very interesting time to be listening to and making music, if you look at alot of underground bands and musicians playing today it is incredible. Humans are making some outrageous noises right now, and we're excited to be a part of it. Genres are constantly breeding and forming, and it's impossible to know where that will go. That, i think, is the most exciting part of it all.

Kenny: When you look at popular music by artists like Lady Gaga, there is a lot of fusion going on between genres like you said. In the case of Lady Gaga, she has almost "snuck" in a lot of really artistic musical ideas and production techniques into her pop songs. She's brilliant for being able to have elements of niche genres like dubstep and progressive house into the framework of a massively successful pop song. I think the next decade of popular music is going to blur even more lines between genres, just like you said. I have enormous faith in the listening community and their support for bands like us because a majority of people don't even listen to what's on Billboard's top 40. Our music pulls on genres as diverse as hip-hop and electronica, but we're still probably considered a "rock" band. Gone are the days where people only listen to one specific style of music and nothing else. I'm super excited to see what this next decade will hold musically!

TLR!: On Time Columns' current Winter Tour you have a plenty of stops up and down the east coast, what's on the horizon for the spring? More touring or perhaps studio time?

Kenny: Yes to both. We're planning on touring more in the spring through areas like New York City, Boston and Chicago, as well as a regional tour down south through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. We have a lot of new material that isn't on Sunriseinthesea, so we are planning on releasing those songs on another EP by the end of summer. We have been experimenting with new recording and production techniques in the studio, so we are very excited for what this next album will hold. You can definitely expect a lot of new colors and sounds on our upcoming album.

TLR!: Speaking of the New Year, what accomplishments would you like to have under your belts by this time next year?

Kenny: We are on a mission from god - to play 100 (count: one hundred) shows in 2011. Jordan and I eat and breathe music, so expect a ton of shows in the upcoming year. It's an exciting time to be in a band like this and both of us couldn't be happier with where Time Columns has taken us. We are incredibly grateful for all the loving, caring people that we've met along the way.

TLR!: What's the dream venue for Time Columns? Open, closed, demolished doesn't matter.

Jordan: I don't know of a specific venue that would be our dream venue, but I can imagine our dream show. We have always talked about a really large show incorporating visual artists interacting with live music. Having live painters, light artists, etc do their thing while Time Columns plays and create an active, living artistic environment would be our dream show. We once had a fire spinner perform during one of our outdoor shows and that was incredible! So now that I think about it, playing at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC would be a perfect venue for something like that to go down. I don't know if they do musical performances, but there's a first time for everything!

TLR!: Jordan and Kenny, thank you both for taking the time out of your Winter Tour to sit down with Tastes Like Rock! today. We're looking forward to working with you more in the future!

Jordan: Thanks so much for talking with us, it's been great!

Kenny: Yeah thanks a million, we're very grateful for your time and consideration. Best of luck!
For more from Time Columns check them out on Myspace and Facebook at www.myspace.com/timecloumns and www.facebook.com/timecolumns.

Eva's Milk - Altri rockers Italiani
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 1/8/11
Posted 3/5/11 3:50PM EST

Courtesy Eva's Milk

TLR!: Thanks for being here today Paolo, Andrea, and Lorenzo; please introduce yourselves so our readers get to know you better.

Eva's Milk: Hello, thank you for this interview! Well, we are a band who lives and works in a very boring Italian city. Try to live here to believe it!

TLR!: How long have you each been playing? 

Eva's Milk:  We play together since 2003 with this line-up. Earlier me and Paul had another band, but we were very young… [laughs]

TLR!: Can we have the origin story of the band? How did Eva's Milk come together?

Eva's Milk: Exactly after that experience, we looked for a drummer and we met Lorenzo. We thought it was just all right as well as a formidable drummer. In the first test we have ruined eardrums by our absurd volumes we have in our room! It was fun! We immediately started writing songs and the same year we recorded a demo, we decided to call it "EP ". The cost of the product was crazy. I do not know about you, but in Italy there is always someone ready to fuck you in the ass. After that experience, we immediately put more attention to not get ripped off.

TLR!: What's the story behind the name Eva's Milk?

Eva's Milk: The first is that it sounds good! We did not like anything in Italian, there was nothing original. There is not a story, we think there isn’t for any band, we think the messages are in the songs. Associate, however, the primordial beauty and the first milk (this is our association with Eva).

TLR!: Eva's Milk released "Zorn" last year, how long did it take to bring the album together? Were there any creative or technical speed bumps in the process?

Eva's Milk: For our records we go to a friend’s studio, is really special and important what we can do with him. Logically, we are an independent band who pays for all and we can’t and we don’t care to make ultra-product records, but the final result is just what we wanted and we had the wonderful sounds that reflect the atmosphere of the songs that are part very important in our view. With Diego (the guy who records us) have found this alchemy, there are no problems of any kind, we always go in the studio with a clear idea. It seems that it’s our study and... in part it is! We recorded bass and drummer together, with some over-incision, no more else, it's all very natural, we always know how to play our record.

TLR!: Now that we're into 2011 what can we look forward to from Eva's Milk? Touring nationally or internationally? Maybe a follow up to Zorn?

Eva's Milk:
Surely there will be a follow-up to Zorn, we're already writing new songs, we write everyday. Our model are Sonic Youth’s records that are constantly as if they were kids. Christ, are the number one! About the tour surely, we played in France several times with the Memento Mori, we have to do a tour soon in Germany and Austria... Amsterdam, unfortunately, it has been cancelled. In recent years several important local have been closed, we do not have the culture of live music nor the means to play around freely. There are fees and permits which can not afford it, everything revolves around the pseudo-politics “mafietta”. The local people do not ask you to play good music. It is very difficult to find spaces, there is too much confusion and little collaboration between the band themselves. Everyone thinks about himself.

TLR!: Just from listening to Zorn for a few moments it is clear music is a true passion for each of you, where do each of you hope music takes you over the next few years?

Eva's Milk: We wish… far from here! We would like to do many experience together. We would like to play and to write continuously. And we wish that in these next few years things became more simple than the present.

TLR!: Andrea, you pull double duty on guitar and vocals, mind sharing you biggest inspirations on both fronts?

Andrea: I listen a lot of music, there are many artists or bands that influence me. Nirvana were definitely some basic things, like Fugazi and Sonic Youth, early Frusciante’s records, Barrett, Drake, Hendrix, De Andrč, Come, Melvins, Uzeda (national pride Touch & Go). In these days I am listening a lot of the Mission of Burma, a fantastic team, I love Signals, Calls and Marches of 1981, is older than me but it sounds so modern, or at least, I would like that records come out in these way. I could go on for hours!

TLR!: Now Eva's Milk is based in Novara, Italy; can you give us an idea of the local music scene and how it affects and/or influences your sound?

Eva's Milk: There isn’t a local scene, but there are good bands, such as Bandage, Fallen Angels, Nebbia da Noia and more. The problem as I said before, there is no real culture of live music and the awareness of being an independent group and the true message that should be let out.

TLR!: On a larger scale, what would you each say the musical atmosphere in Italy is like? Rock, pop, metal,or rap oriented?

Eva's Milk: [Laughs]... In Italy there are good bands making good music, nothing to envy to the giant American or British, but they are locked up in their circle, if you have no knowledge in Italy, you are not an escort or not go in a fucking talent show (which are the death of creativity) you can’t go anywhere, or at least, continue to do as we are doing. Having a band like that, in addition to work and everything else, involve us virtually all day.

TLR!: Paolo, you're on bass, what or who got you started playing the low end?

Paolo: I started to play guitar when I was child, but I was very inconstant with the studies. I know Andrea since primary school, we play together all days. And when he looked for a bass player for his band “Lies”, I said: “Why not? It’s cool!”

TLR!: Since I already asked about what's coming in 2011, what was the high point of 2010 for Eva's Milk?

Eva's Milk: Zorn certainly was the culmination of two years spent together playing and writing, is our second album and it's always nice to get out the discs. Then… surely the great reviews, we liked for the most part and we are very happy. Because when we sing in Italian and foreign pleasure for the tongue is a great feeling!

TLR!: Lorenzo, what would you say is your best memory tied to your drumming career?

Lorenzo: Well, I think was around 4 years ago in a club called "Rolling Stone" in Milan. There were a lot of bands and we were the last band of the night before the DJ-set time.This club was very large with a big name in the music scene. So... the coordinator came in the dressing room and told us: "guys... 5 minutes... on stage...". I moved the curtain and I saw a sea made up of 800 heads. When I walked on stage I felt like Keith Moon or the Creedence Clearwater Revival. I felt a great wave of energy... it was beautiful.

TLR!: Grazie again my friends for sitting down with TLR! and letting our readers get a closer glimpse of Eva's Milk!

Eva’s Milk: Thanks to you guys!

Parker Jameson of Massakren - Redefining Metal
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 4/25/11
Posted 4/27/11 3:05PM EST

Parker Jameson - Photo Courtesy Massakren

TLR!: Thanks for taking the time to talk to TLR! and our readers Parker! So let's start with some back story on Massakren for the uninitiated, how and when did the band come together?

Parker: Since we were younger, my drummer (and also brother) Spencer and I had always talked about the concept of throwing together a metal band. We both took our instruments extremely seriously, and had been practicing and listening to metal for years. We both enjoyed death, black, symphonic, and even power metal, and really wanted to fuse all of them together into one unique blend. Conceptually, Massakren took form in early 2008 when we started recording random riffs and tracks and seeing what we could do musically together.
Long story short, we were extremely impressed with and enjoying the music we were playing, and realized that if we could get a full line up, the band idea we shared could really turn into something big. I went to Indiana University with the intent of finding more capable and like-minded musicians than lived in my hometown, and I luckily stumbled upon Charlie who shared the same visions and career aspirations. The three of us began writing music, and after we had a full album’s worth of material, we found Justinian nearby to cover live bass.

TLR!: Too many people write off black metal anymore thanks to the genre becoming known as more than just a subgenre over the past decade, let's set some records straight here, Parker tell us what Massakren is about and why should people care?

First off, I think dismissing a band because of their popularity is beyond ridiculous. If somebody is going to stop listening to a band just because dozens, hundreds, or even millions of others are listening to them, then they are obviously more concerned with their own image and probably not even a fan of the music in the first place. Secondly, Massakren isn’t writing songs with popularity in mind, but if people like them, that is certainly a plus. We’re also not doing this to conform to pre-existing subgenres or to be a “true” black metal band. That’s the exact opposite of our goal. We put this band together to satisfy OUR musical needs, not anybody else’s. We love melodic death metal. We love black metal. We love modern film scores. We take all these elements (and more) and do what we want with them. Exposure, popularity, and how the public will respond to our songs are the last things on our mind when we write material. It needs to sound good to us. That said, I think this is why many people have been drawn to us. I feel like there is tangible originality and dedication behind our sound, and I think people like that.

TLR!: Well said! The new self titled EP is set to turn some heads in the metal world, how was the recording experience for you being on vocals, lead guitar, and chief songwriter?

Parker: It was really great to hear my songs turn out the way I’ve always heard them in my head. We were really familiar with the material when we hit the studio, and recording was an extremely smooth endeavor.

TLR!: Massakren's self titled EP's five tracks are pretty hardcore even for black metal if the video for "Threshold" is any indicator, was getting the songs laid down a smooth trip or a hell ride?

Parker: Like I said before, it was absolutely a smooth trip.

TLR!: Parker, being that you are the chief songwriter, everyone's writing process is different but many people expect black metal writers to be obsessed with death, blood, vampires, zombies and the like; what as a song writer sets you apart from the screamo kids that like to pretend they're metal?

Parker: Our songs all have a strong sense of medieval warfare, pagan mythology, death, and similar imagery. When I write, I have an image or concept in mind (For example, New Infernal Rebirth is about a hypothetical triumphant return of ancient gods) and then I write music to fit the scenes I see in my head. Other times I might noodle around on keyboard, accidentally play a progression that forms an interesting image in my head, and then I follow through with it and compose a full song. In either case, lyrics always come last.
I feel like some bands overthink their lyrics, or write lyrics first and then try too hard to mold a song around them. I don’t do that. To me it seems like our music dictates the lyrics. Threshold just sounds like death and bloody destruction, so I wrote the lyrics to match. This Is Our Battle, This Is Our Day sounds like charging into war with swords held high, so that’s what I sing about. The lyrical aspect isn’t very difficult because the songs perfectly set themselves up.

TLR!: Awesome, definitely can't wait to get a hold of the EP for myself.
It's recently been announced that Massakren is being managed by Outerloop Management, how's it been working with them?

Parker: It’s been great. We actually met our current managers at a show we played out in Baltimore, and they liked what they heard and added us to the team. Since January we’ve really been progressing with the band and pushing forward.

TLR!: Also, you're shopping labels right now, what's the hunt turned up so far?

I can’t reveal too much, but let me just say that there is certainly a good amount of interest in Massakren.

TLR!: In that vein, what type of label and/or dream label are you hoping to land for Massakren?

Parker: Our dream label would be one that supports us 100%, understands our vision and provides us with the best opportunities possible.

TLR!: Parker, you started studying music seriously in your early teens, who were the major influences that helped launch you from casual player to serious career performer?

Parker: When I started playing guitar I was really big into Rush, as well as hair-metal Motley Crue type stuff. However, once I discovered Satriani, the way I viewed guitar playing changed entirely. I got super big into him, Paul Gilbert, Vai, Yngwie, and Petrucci. There was a point in time where I just wanted to be the next big instrumental guitar shredder, and as a result, guitar solos are something I make sure to include in all of our songs.

TLR!: You perform vocals and lead guitar, From personal experience as a vocalist and bassist I know I'm more comfortable behind a mic because I've had more vocal training, are you more at home on the mic or with the guitar? Or are you one of the lucky multi-talented musician's equally at home with each?

Parker: I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14 or 15, and obviously am extremely comfortable with the instrument. My career as a vocalist actually started when Massakren was formed simply because somebody was needed to fill the role, and I already knew all the lyrics and how I wanted them inflected. Though having half as much vocal experience than guitar experience, I feel equally comfortable doing both. That said, I primarily think of myself as a guitar player.

TLR!: Parker, how did you get into playing guitar? Best experience/memory playing has brought you so far?

Parker: I started around freshman year of high school. I had been active on saxophone for many years prior to that, but as I got more and more into hard rock and metal, my eventual playing of the guitar was inevitable. Any time I play a show is really a memorable experience. The adrenaline and rush from performing is just great.

TLR!: Is there anything in the works for a follow up to "Massakren EP"?

Parker: We’re waiting for a label so we can do a full length, but we literally have albums worth of material written. We’re just waiting for the opportune time to release it.

TLR!: It's still early in '11, what is the goal for Massakren for the remainder of the year?

Parker: We will be playing on this year’s Metal As Art tour which kicks off in September. After that you can expect to see us all over the States as support for various other death metal and extreme metal acts for the remainder of the year.

TLR!: Excellent! Hopefully TLR! will be there to cover one of your stops! Thanks again for sitting down with Tastes Like Rock! Parker!

Parker: Thank you!


For more on Massakren, check out www.facebook.com/Massakren, www.twitter.com/massakrenmetal,  
www.myspace.com/massakrenofficial, and www.youtube.com/user/MassakrenOfficial. And stop over on our own Music Videos page for Massakren's "Threshold"!

Jacki Stone - Drumming Across The World
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 5/28/11
Posted 6/6/11 5:37PM EST

Jacki Stone - Photo Courtesy Vains of Jenna & Team All About The Music

TLR!: Good to have you here Jacki, thanks for taking time out of your tour schedule to talk with me. To get things rolling, tell me a bit about yourself and Vains of Jenna.

Jacki: Well, I’m 24 years old, got my birthday coming up soon here on the road so it will be a big party! Been playing drums since I was 11 or something, but more constant since VAINS started in 2005. We are right now touring all over the US in the support of our new CD "Reverse Tripped".

TLR!: Vains of Jenna is currently at the half way mark of a 53 city US tour, how has it been so far?

Jacki: It’s been good! It’s hard to go out by your selves for such a long tour, but we’ve had some great shows! This is what we all love, so we are gonna go out for 3 months in Europe after this US tour as well, with a stop in Mexico too… touring is awesome.

TLR!: Travel time has been pretty damn tight for you Jacki, considering some of the jumps city to city and state to state; how do you personally keep sane at the pace this tour is demanding?

First of all you gotta love what you do and touring is something that is very close to my heart... I can’t get enough of it. But trying to get some sleep in the van is definitely something I try to get every day, if I’m not driving myself. Even how tired you are before a show, it always change when you get up on stage, it’s a great adrenaline kick!

TLR!: Speaking of tours, over the last three years you've toured a good chunk of the planet with Vains of Jenna, what have been some the best and worse places to play?

Yeah we’ve been busy, that’s for sure… since Jesse joined the band we’ve been in Europe, South America and now the US and soon Mexico.
Argentina and Brazil was really cool, a dream come true for sure. There is always good and bad places on tour, I guess Tyler, TX wasn’t that good a couple of years ago. [laughs] Dry county is something I don’t like.

TLR!: Break down your dream gig for our readers.

Wow… VAINS OF JENNA headlining arenas and stadiums for the rest of my life… you know, sell out Wembley a few nights in a row, stuff like that [smiles with a wink]

TLR!: How did "Reverse Tripped" come about? How were the songs covered on the album chosen?

Jacki: We had a ton of songs that we just put down on a list… then we took the ones that we felt most for. We really just jammed the songs and got that VOJ feeling into them, without thinking I guess. The album took like 12-14 days to do.

Video courtesy of Vains of Jenna

TLR!: Jacki, you and the rest of the Vains of Jenna are originally from Sweden, how do you find the metal slice of the music world here in the US compared to Sweden? In terms of fans and venues.

I gotta say venues in Sweden are way more cleaner and maybe more organized for the bands. Fans are great all over the world… at least VOJ fans.

TLR!: Back to the current US tour for a moment. The tour wraps up July 2, what's coming up over the rest of the summer for you Jacki?

Jacki: Mexico City in the middle of July, then back to Europe to tour in the fall.

TLR!: Now it's time for the questions every reporter from every media outlet asks... what got you started on drums and percussion? Biggest influence or influences?

Jacki: I borrowed my uncles drum kit in the summer of ’97. That was the first time I played. Then Nicki and me started our own band in ’99 back in our hometown in Sweden… I guess it just came naturally for me to sit down and bang on those drums. The biggest influences would be Dave Grohl and Keith Moon.

TLR!: Granted I'm a bass player, but I'm an all around gear head when it comes to equipment, so lay out your dream rig for us Jacki.

Jacki: I have a great set up now… Single kick, snare, 1 rack, 2 floors, hi-hat, 2 crashes, ride and a china… good stuff.

TLR!: Very good stuff man! Retirement plan or "bury me with my kit"?

Jacki: Bury me with my kit with some platinum records and a lot of good memories.

TLR!: My sentiments exactly, well substitute bass for a kit [laughs]. Thanks again for taking the time for TLR! while you're on the road Jacki, it's been cool talking with you.

Jacki: Thanks a lot! Be sure to follow us on Twitter, look for dates on Facebook etc. to see of we are on our way close to YOU!
You can get "Reverse Tripped" in stores, Itunes and from our merch online and on the road… also, we have a NEW version of the “We Can Never Die” EP, just add VOL.2, and that’s the new name.
It has two new songs on there and two songs from "Reverse Tripped", all acoustic… be sure to check that out!

For more on Jacki and Vains of Jenna check out www.myspace.com/vainsofjenna, www.facebook.com/pages/Vains-Of-Jenna/17289385249, and www.twitter.com/vainsofjenna.   

Sheri Miller - Lighting Up NYC's Music World
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 6/4/11
Posted 6/20/11 3:05PM EST

Photo courtesy of SheriMiller.com

TLR!: Today we're chatting with Sheri Miller, up and coming singer/songwriter based in the Big Apple herself. Thanks for taking some time for TLR! and its readers, Sheri!

Sheri Miller:
Thanks for having me, Mike!

TLR!: You grew up surrounded by music, your mother an opera singer and your uncle a recording engineer, obviously opera and classical were introduced to you early on in life; do those genres of music still play a role in your writing and composing?

Absolutely. But of course. I still love classical music- Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Debussy. I’m a big fan of the Beatles and Beach Boys, and I always hear the classical movement in their songs. I rebelled against classical as a child, as it felt so devoid and drained of energy, to have to play these stiff, dusty piano pieces. I wanted thunder, lightning, magic, instant entertainment sugar. As a child, I didn’t want to sit down and learn someone else’s music at the time- I wanted to create my own music! But to be honest, in retrospect, I wish I would’ve sat my little 8-year old bony ass down and learned more classical pieces.

TLR!: What sorts of music did your uncle's career expose you to?

Sheri: My uncle used to send me these old-school mix cassettes and CD’s. Anything from Hungarian Gypsy Music, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, pirated Etta James live concerts, Joan Osborne, John Renbourne, Suzanne Vega, Muddy Waters, Eric Johnson, Brian Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Diamanda Galas, you name it. Now that I think about it, he was heavy into the blues and the Beatles, so that probably seeped into my consciousness deeply.

TLR!: For a while you pursued your career in Nashville. Considering the musical history of both New York and Nashville, how does the experience in the industry differ between the two cities for musicians that are making their names?

Sheri: Damn, good question. They’re both fantastic, inspiring, highly creative cities with very talented musicians in both. An embarrassment of riches in both. I’ve spent most of my life in New York, so it’s harder to have a fresh birds’ eye perspective, but the one thing I noticed- which was amazing- in Nashville. EVERYONE, including your grandmother’s accountant’s gas pumper, was a musician or songwriter. It’s almost like when you’re a kid, everyone must learn multiplication tables, eat pizza, and play kickball in gym. In Nashville, it felt like music and songwriting is inherent to your upbringing. Yes, oh yes, I love both New York and Nashville. Mucho.

TLR!: Speaking of the differences between the two cities, what are some of your favorite things about living in New York and in Nashville? Both as a musician and just as a resident.

Sheri: New York= pizza. Damn good pizza Nashville= buttery biscuits, grits New York= songwriting in Brill Building and Tin Pan Alley Nashville= songwriting on Music Row New York= skyhigh rents, skyscrapers Nashville= skyhigh incredible session musicians available now

TLR!: Sheri, you've "paid your dues" and lived out some of AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N' Roll)", so I have to ask (because everyone has at least one); what gig do you wish you could go back in time and drop like a bad habit?

Sheri: One exhausting gig I did at an Irish Bar, it was a 4 hour gig, after I had played 5 hard, 4-hour-a-night-sing-hard-and-entertain-the-crowd-gigs the week before. I barely had any voice left, was physically spent, and a drunk guy, after my last set, tried to help me break down my equipment, and broke my music stand in 2 seconds flat. That was a good one.
But I don’t see it as paying your dues. I see it as helpful, musical experience. I’ve learned a ton on these gigs, and made new fans.

TLR!: While recording "Winning Hand", you had the good fortune to work with producer Kevin Killen, how was that?

Sheri: In two words. Un Believable.

TLR!: In the same vein, working with Killen afforded you the opportunity to work with some incredible musicians including Will Lee, Charley Drayton, and Gerry Leonard; how did you feel recording your songs with such an awesome band behind you?

Sheri: Very lucky.

Photo courtesy of SheriMiller.com

TLR!: Sheri, you've also had some incredible writing collaboration experiences while you were in Nashville, who has been your favorite writing partner of all time? So far at least.

Sheri: Writing with J.D. Souther (songwriter of the Eagles) was a true honor. He’s incredible. Writing with Al Anderson (NRBQ) was also fantastic and an honor. I also loved writing with Kim Richey, Marcus Hummon, Walt Aldridge, and Maia Sharp, 3 more incredible writers, I feel blessed to write with. Writing with Jill Sobule was one of the most fun times I’ve had writing. She’s a light.

TLR!: In most interviews I conduct I always get around to instruments. Being a gear head, what makes your '69 Sunburst Guild the choice electric guitar for you?

Sheri: It was like buttery magic the first time I played it. There was no question. We were made for each other.

TLR!: Sheri, your songs all come from personal experiences that are tied pretty close to your heart, do you ever surprise yourself with how deep your writing goes into yourself and say "wow, that one's not leaving my head"?

Sheri: I sometimes, when I’m lucky, almost feel like a channel, when I write. I’ve stepped outside of my body. A conduit. I’m in that deep, subconscious, pre-conscious place. When I get out of my own way. I never save anything for myself. Why? I can only hope I bare it all. To have the courage to express the truth, the pretty and the ugly. I think the ugly is beautiful, anyway.

TLR!: Thank you so much for taking the time for TLR! and our readers Sheri!

Thanks again for having me! My pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to read. I’d love if you please take a listen to my music at http://www.facebook.com/sherimillermusicAnd please support independent artists and Buy “Winning Hand” CD now at iTUNES: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/winning-hand-ep/id429249730, AMAZON: http://amzn.to/kljGLp, and CD BABY: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/sherimiller2 


For more from Sheri Miller visit: http://www.sherimiller.com and http://www.facebook.com/sherimillermusic, and be sure to catch Sheri's visit to Tastes Like Rock! Radio, Thursday June 30 2011 11PM EST/8PM PST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tasteslikerock; and stay tuned to TLR! for our review of Sheri's "Winning Hand" coming this week.

Steve Bello - Simply Shred-tastic!
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 7/30/11
Posted 7/30/11 7:00PM EST

Photo Courtesy Steve Bello

TLR!: Thanks for the chat Steve! First off for anyone that doesn't know you yet, how did you started with music and metal in particular?

Steve Bello: No problem, man! I was four when I first heard Led Zeppelin, and from there that was it. I knew music would be it for me. The first metal band I heard was Judas Priest, back in 1981 when MTV played their "Hot Rockin'" video. I loved the leather, the guitar tones, and figured I could dress like that. Looking back, I'd resemble a Hefty trash bag.

TLR!: (Laughs). You just got your band back together and squared late last year and have now dropped the Steve Bello Band's Go Berzerk!, how is it being back in the musical saddle?

Steve: It feels great because it took so damn long to get things rolling. A lot of false starts, premature endings, miscommunications, all things typical of having a band. When the cd finally came out on July 5th, I felt like I had a toothache pulled after 4 years.

TLR!: Except for "Chomp" you wrote all of Go Berzerk! yourself, when you write where do your songs come from? Experiences? Emotions? Jamming until something comes together?

Steve: I write what I feel, that's it. There's no real preconceived notion of what I'm supposed to do or expected to do. Songs come from anywhere, and I don't mean for that to sound like a generic answer. But that's the truth, I just write. I write best early in the morning because my head isn't filled with a full day's worth of information. "Chomp" is the first song on a Steve Bello Band album that I didn't write, it was written by bassist Joe DeMott. That song was what made me say to him, "If you join my band, you can use that song." In the past, I felt I had to write all the songs. Now I can kick back because I don't feel the need to satisfy my ego like I used to. Except when I shred (laughs).

TLR!: Of course anyone can ascribe a plethora of meanings or stories to a musician's songs, but I'm curious Steve, and this is somewhat an extension of the previous question, do you aim to tell specific stories with your compositions?

Steve: Yes and no. I want the listener to draw his/her own conclusions. "Throwing Away My Skin" seems obvious, whereas "To Be Human Again" does not. I get a kick out of peoples' interpretations of what the songs are. To me, they are just a gateway into my twisted psyche and if people like it, great.

Go Berzerk! Cover Art - Courtesy Steve Bello

TLR!: How did your trio come together Steve? Did you have to search your bandmates out or did the stars kind of align with heavenly guitar licks from the Metal Gods and everything fell into place?

Steve: Every line-up I have ever had fell into my lap. There was only one time where I put an ad on The Mode (never again!) I prefer to find people either through word-of-mouth or by fate. This trio came together when Ed Faust (drums) had some downtime from Ted Poley's band, so I said "Let me find a bass player." Again, through a strange turn of events, Joe came back into the picture. Long story short: he and I played in a band together back in the Paleozoic Era. It took 16 years to hook back up and do it right.

TLR!: Now for some personal takes on the industry, metal has "died" and resurrected itself many times over the last two decades. What are your feelings on metal right now? With the scene experiencing a real deluge of hardcore, death metal, and rap/metal fusions and so forth. 

Steve: Music has to change and grow but it can't be forced into it. My feelings of metal right now? Everyone I see wants hair metal to come back. I hope not! I'll be out of a career again like in the 80s. Thrash metal seems to be popular again but it's not the same magic as it was when I was a kid. Listening to Metallica, Venom, Slayer, there was some indescribable power there. Now it's "Let's take one Slayer riff and call ourselves thrash." I never got too into hardcore or death metal, and I never liked rap/metal at all, except when Run-DMC did "King Of Rock". That was cool!

TLR!: If the last twenty years are anything to go by, the music world shifts gears in the first few years of a new decade; 1991-1993 saw the rise of grunge and the death of synth pop, new wave, and glam metal. If we experience a big shift again where would you like to see music lean in the next few years of the decade?

Steve: I'd like to see people dig my music (laughs). It seems that people are slowly warming up to instrumental bands like Animals As Leaders and Scale The Summit, where the emphasis is on playing at breakneck speeds without batting an eyelash. Music hit a brick wall when Nirvana got huge. It took a long time for the musicians and the music industry to recover, but we're not out of the woods yet.

TLR!: Steve, we've known each other for a few years now and there has been a question I've wanted to ask for sometime now... why don't you sound like Nickelback?

Steve: Because I know more than four chords.

Courtesy Steve Bello

TLR!: Now for the gearhead questions! Steve you rock Ibanez guitars, what model do you play and why is it your preference?

Steve: I love the RG 7-string line, and I have an Exotic Artwood acoustic that just sounds awesome. Too bad it only has six strings (laughs). My favourite 7-string is the Magenta Crush model I bought back in 2001 and my daughter Emma named it Pinkie when she was 2.

TLR!: You're one of the best 7-string guitarists I've ever heard, but I'm curious why the preference for seven over six? Personal curiousity moreso than journalistic, when I play bass I prefer 4-stringers to five and six.

Steve: I am? You need to get out more often (laughs). I do appreciate the compliment, thank you so much! I always wanted to try 7s, but my attitude was "I can't play like Steve Vai, so screw it." I heard Korn's first album and liked the sounds they were coming out with but I didn't want to play just straight power chords. I then heard some jazz guys like Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden, and thought that would be cool but I need talent to play jazz.I bought my first Ibanez 7 back in June 1999, but it wasn't until I heard Chris Broderick and Jeff Loomis in 2000 that I thought "I really need to play 7s now!"

TLR!: In closing, what's coming down the line for the Steve Bello Band in the remainder of 2011?

Steve: Right now I am so into promoting the cd, that's all that is on my mind. Live shows are non-existent to me, and besides there's no demand for me to perform, so I am not going to fight an uphill battle. If people want me to perform, pay me and my guys handsomely and get us pizza (laughs).

TLR!: Thanks again for the sit down Steve, you sir, rock!

Steve: I do my best!

For more from Steve Bello and The Steve Bello Band check out www.ibanez.com, www.myspace.com/stevebello, www.facebook.com/steviehimself, www.facebook.com/stevebello, and www.purevolume.com/stevebelloband.  

Gogog Bloodthroat - Bringing Orcish Mayhem to Metal
Interviewed by Michael Meade
Posted 8/3/11 3:00PM EST

Photo Courtesy A Band of Orcs

TLR!: Hail and welcome Gogog! Thanks for talking with TLR! today. To get things started, for those that don't know yet or at least don't know your origins, how did A Band of Orcs come to be?

Gogog: Just like two humans do but messier, more screaming.

TLR!: And what is the mission statement of yourself and your comrades?

Gogog: Add your head to pile, awaken Gzoroth, bring forth the Domination. More heads on pile make more bodies in wall.

TLR!: Not to be flip Gogog, but there's a line for my head already; take a number (laughs). How do the writing duties work out? Team effort? Individual writing brought together in the studio?

Gogog: Gzoroth whisper orc words to Shaman, Shaman chant to Gogog, Gogog make hum growls, Cretos make shredding solo. Hulg, Gronk!, Cretos make crunchy rhythms to cocoon words, growls, shreds.

TLR!: Gogog, what or whom would you consider the biggest influence on your vocal style?

Gogog: Easy. Arrow to throat... (laughs maniaclly

TLR!: Okay... moving on, Gogog you've been bringing the Domination to the world with your band's brand of metal since 2007, how's the ride been for you personally?

Gogog: Brutal!!! Gogog like be leader of your puny realm.

TLR!: Hell the way the realm's been going the last decade that might work out well. Best memory tied to performing so far?

Gogog: S.C.U.M.Fest 2010. Warrior paladins of Watsonville show up to challenge me as new leader. Smelled like urine.

TLR!: Gogog what do you aim for people to walk away from an A Band of Orcs show thinking and/or feeling?

Gogog: Your new leader has arrived. Fiery burn of cleansing by fire. Thrill of battle. Chaos of the Maelstrom.

TLR!: Vocals are your main duty for the band, but do you play any other instruments?

Gogog: Radio and slots!!! (more manic laughter).

TLR!: Along with the rest of A Band of Orcs, you've shared stages with 3 Inches of Blood, Deicide, Master, and more death and black metal acts; who have you enjoyed sharing gigs with most? So far at least.

Gogog: So many warriors, so many epic battles...Sothis, Exmortus, Nekrogoblikon, Fiends at Feast, The Backup Razor...and, yes, battles with 3 Inches of Blood very epic. Many more--Gogog head hurt try to remember.

TLR!: How was it for you when Bruce Dickinson played "Bring Out Your Dead" on his BBC show?

Gogog: Like omen from Gzoroth. We make date 11-23 Infernal Day, give us excuse to party like Orc Stars way through Orcstaking Day week.

TLR!: Note to self, take refuge in underground bunker for a few weeks in November. Second note to self find underground bunker. Are there any plans for a follow up to the "Warchiefs of The Apocalyps" EP? Another EP or a full album perhaps?

Gogog: Yes, pieces of battle plan fall in place now. Go to Trident Studio November, release Spring/Summer 2012 through label slaves Itchy Metal Entertainment.

TLR!: What can fans look for from you and the rest of your orcish band mates in the remainder of 2011?

Gogog: We make little statues of us for humans to worship, with our allies Impact! Miniatures. Pillage GenCon Indy, August 4 - 7. Tidings of studio sorcery battle plans.

TLR!: Thanks again for hanging out and answering these questions Gogog!

Gogog: Hail Gzoroth!!! You will be spared when the Domination comes.

TLR!: Woo-hoo!!!

For more from A Band of Orcs check out www.abandoforcs.com, www.facebook.com/abandoforcs, and www.myspace.com/abandoforcs. (Please check them out, I want to keep my head attached to my neck.)

Michael McDowell - Defender of The Shred
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 8/30/11
Posted 8/30/11 5:05PM EST

Michael McDowell - Photo courtesy Shredguy Records

TLR!: Thanks for sitting down with me today Michael, I appreciate the time from your schedule. Would you mind introducing yourself so the readers of TLR! know who you are and what you do before we dive into the interview?

Michael McDowell: Sure man. This is Michael McDowell, owner of Shredguy Records, LLC. The new force in Shred guitar!

TLR!: Michael you're the founder and main man at Shredguy Records, how did you get started in the music biz?

Michael: Actually started in 2008 with the reissue of some local Columbus Ohio music that I wanted more people to hear. The music featured my friend, and shred guitarist Rob Johnson. Rob is a shredder from the 90's who I felt didnt get enough recognition. And I am not just saying that because we are friends... [laughs]. Technically he is up there with anyone... incredible clean sweep picking and string skipping licks. So with his help, and an engineer named Ashley Shepherd we remastered the tracks, and printed some small quantities and got them out there. The releases are Saddleback Shark-The Killing System and Rob Johnson-Shredworx. Both are out of print but you can still find copies on ebay and amazon.com. Though for various reasons those releases werent as successful as I would have liked, they let people know that there was a new guy out there who was willing to invest and release shred guitar music. So fast forward to the end of 2008.... and this is when the I(the label) wanted to do compilation cds featuring guitar players from around the world. A great guy named Tracy G (former guitarist for Dio) wanted to record a track for one of our compilations. The drummer for the track was Ray Luzier of Korn... and they came up with an incredible track called "Massacre In Bridgetown". Having those two guys on a Shredguy release gave the label instant credibility... and thats when we took off as a label!

TLR!: Okay, there's the "how", now for the why are you in the music industry? And more specifically why a record label?

Michael: To become rich and famous of course!... [LAUGHS]... just joking... I am a total fan of hard rock and heavy metal. Have been since I was a kid. Getting the message out that there are virtuoso guitar players that are creating great music, in an age where people would rather play "guitar hero" than learning guitar, is what its about. Helping great players get better known and being an ambassador for virtuoso guitar playing! Its about the music man.... I am not in this to get my picture taken with guitar heroes, or set myself up as an authority on who is a good guitar player and who isnt. It is cool though to make your living in music... and to be your own boss... I like that!

Courtesy Shredguy Records

Dannyjoe Carter Band's self-titled EP cover - courtesy Shredguy Records

TLR!: What or who paved the way for you to be a one man army for Shred Metal?

Michael: Well my inspiration musically is none other than Yngwie Malmsteen. When I heard Rising Force in 1985... then saw him on tour with Talas that same year, it changed everything for me. Then you had other players that came along on the Shrapnel Records label.... it was a shred guitar revolution. Without that there would be no Shredguy Records. Yngwie and the Shrapnel guys are the foundation for what we do at Shredguy.

TLR!: With those questions out of the way, Mike tell me what sets Shredguy Records apart from other labels?

Michael: I think the commitment to our artists. Ask any of the current Shredguy artists.... the advertising we do, promo sheets, getting airplay, getting in as many countries as we can, getting them interviews, just the commitment to the artists.

TLR!: On that note, what's coming down the line over the rest of 2011 to continue your mission in the name of Shred Metal?

 Well we started working with Dannyjoe Carter, who was featured in Guitar World magazine as the fastest living guitar player. Picking a ridiculous 17 notes per second. BUT Dannyjoe is more than just a speed demon. He is a great writer and is a great hard rock guitar player. His approach is song-oriented and he has a ton of songs that we will be releasing. Also more Tore St Moren! Tore is the guitar player in Jorn. Very much like John Sykes, Gary Moore, and John Norum. Again another song oriented guitar player with some serious licks. And I think the shred guitar fans are going to love the track from Jeremy Barnes and Michael Dolce called "Outback Stomp" soon to be released on iTunes. These are two Aussie shredders.... so we have some shred thunder from down under!! Seems as we are closing out 2011.... the guys who are with Shredguy now can write some great instrumentals and not just shredding.

Adrian English's "Innerplanetarium" Cover art - courtesy Shredguy Records

TLR!: From a "mainsteam" perpective at least; metal, and shred metal in particular, time and again has been declared dead over the last 15-20 years. This is of course blasphemy, but I'm curious Mike, what's your take on why metal has had this perpetual cycle of going underground, becoming the underdog, rising to the top and back again? And which part of the cycle do you find it to be at it's best?

Michael: I know things are very trendy here in the U.S.... In Asia, Europe, and South America metal generally speaking has always stayed strong. As far as where we are now... there are so many more outlets for music... of course I am talking about the internet.... so is there really ever going to be an underground?? I dont think it will ever die out.... because access to music is bigger than ever...... we just have to make sure that people put a monotary value on it!

TLR!: Similiarly, do you think the current back and forth damages or enriches the genre and the artists that perform within it?

Michael: Well every genre want to be popular of course.... nothing wrong with that. But what tends to happen is oversaturation. You see that in prog-metal and power metal.... too many bands sounding the same. So people get tired of it... then bands have to get more creative... then you start seeing some great stuff coming out. So ultimitely it enriches it. And believe me it happened in shred guitar... but now you have some real creative stuff coming out from Jeremy Barnes and Michael Dolce with the track Outback Stomp and.... say from a guy like Chris Storey(ex All Shall Perish)... he is doing some pretty creative stuff in his new project Smashface... kind of shredcore.... it's not a Shredguy project... but it is good and fresh!!

TLR!: Best memory, so far anyway, that being the head of Shredguy Records has given you?

Michael: Lots of good memories... I think finding out that Michael Abdow-Native Alien was the top selling cd for the year 2010 at guitar9.com.... that was incredible... because that release outsold so many other established guitar players releases. I was thrilled that Michael Abdow had broken through!

Michael Abdow's "Native Alien" cover art - courtesy Shredguy Records

TLR!: How about the biggest challenge?

Michael: Well in other interviews I have mentioned this and I am going to mention this again. ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING! STOP STEALING MUSIC...AND MOVIES FOR THAT MATTER. But so many people do! Recently I brought it up on a facebook group...and can you believe there was some guitar player on there defending that illegal practice. What a dickhead... it turns out this guy has never been on a label (that I know of) so maybe he doesnt understand... and actually he had asked to work with me in the past. SORRY dude....... I dont care who the hell you gave lessons to. Another challenge speaking of guitar players... is the bitter, whining, petty players who like to go on forums and youtube under various names and put down other players. Dont be mad because another guitar player has videos in Guitar World, get working on some stuff of your own...dont worry you wont be on my label or in Guitar World anyway... but I am just saying...[laughs]... Jealousy among musicians is crazy.... its art.... art shouldnt be competitive... I laugh... but its also kinda sad. And finally distributors who mistake themselves as being the artists. You are not the artist.... you are not the star! You are just a vehicle to get the music into people hands.
Those three things are challenges that need not be, if people would just act right...[laughs].

TLR!: Speaking of challenges, what's the most common you face in producing your artist's albums?

Michael: The challenge of doing the compilation cds can be overwhelming at times. Because you have so many different recording situations. Some guys are recording in their bedroom...some in big studios. Yeah big difference in quality...but you want the songs to be at the same levels soundwise. Sometimes we have dropped the ball with mastering... which sucks because I want these guys to be heard in the best light.

TLR!: The last two years you and I have known each other have been very busy at Shredguy, what do you feel are some of your biggest accomplishments in that time?

Michael: There are several.... I already mentioned Michael Abdow breaking through. Check him out readers... great melodic player.... besides Michael, I would say Adrian English being featured in Guitar World with some cool videos, and being featured on the front page of Guitar World's website with a cool feature about his set up. Front page of Guitar World's website is big. Also Toby Knapp-The Campaign being named as one of the top Heavy Metal albums of 2010. And this year seeing the two Tore St Moren tracks "The Journey" and "Benedicte's Song" actually charting on iTunes. You just dont see too many instrumental guitar tracks charting on iTunes! You got to check these songs out. Really great SONGS!

TLR!: You recently gained some new blood in the talent pool at Shredguy, how has it been working with the new additions?

Michael: Well you must be speaking of Tore and Dannyjoe. Two great guys... have always done exactly what I have I asked.... two mature guitar players and two mature people. Tore has played in front of thousands of people with Jorn, and Dannyjoe was cited as the fastest living guitar player by a major publication, yet both of these guys have no ego issues.

TLR!: Mike where would you like to see Shredguy in five years?

Michael: More live shows from Shredguy artists. Michael Abdow has done a few that have been great...Tore St Moren is of course out on the road a lot with Jorn and Street Legal, but he has also done some solo gigs... also Alex Ehrsam (jazz-fusion shred master) has done a lot of shows in France. But more shows...like guitar showcases featuring a number of Shredguy artists is what I would like to see.

TLR!: Before we conclude, anything exciting in the works for 2012 that you divulge yet?

Michael: All I have to say is stay tuned!

TLR!: Thank you again Mike for taking the time for TLR! and it's readers!

Michael: Thank you Mike Meade. One of the most professional and hard working dudes in the biz. You are doing a great job..... I wanna give a shout out to those who have helped along the way... Fred "Seven" Goza, Herlaka Rose, Janne Stark, Joey C Jones, my beautiful wife Kat, the McDowell family, and my friend Rick Jackson. And of course all the fans who have bought Shredguy product!
Readers make sure and check out our online store at www.shredguyrecords.bigcartel.com........ SHRED IS NOT DEAD!

Dannyjoe Carter - For The Love of Guitar
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 9/10/11
Posted 9/11/11 2:15PM EST

Dannyjoe Carter Band's self-titled EP cover - courtesy Shredguy Records

TLR!: Hey Dannyjoe, thanks for being here today for TLR! and it's readers!

Dannyjoe Carter: Man thanks so much Mike for making time for me! I love this sort of thing really!

TLR!: How long have you been playing guitar?

Dannyjoe: 32 years, hard to believe actually! Started in 1978 and never put it down.

TLR!: Nice! Who hooked and kept you with guitar?

Dannyjoe: All the classic rock guys like Ace Frehley, Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton and Billy Gibbons. Then later on Gary Moore and Michael Schenker.

TLR!: Dannyjoe with your song "Push It", you're flipping the medical field and the government's medical agencies a pretty massive bird; I applaud you for that by the way. Was the song inspired by the general state of medical care in the U.S. or from a personal experience?

Dannyjoe: A little of both - I have family members with cancer. Things are out of control with health insurance companies as well as everything else in this country and I think people have just gotten used to it and accept it. People have written me that listen to the lyrics and say "yeah that is how it is isn't it?" I'm hoping it serves as a wake up call.

TLR!: I'm with you, I hope it serves that purpose as well. Some emotional territory is covered in your other songs from the Dannyjoe Carter Band's self titled EP, which is your preferred subject matter in lyrical songs? More microcosm or macrocosm-based viewpoints/issues?

Dannyjoe: Well I always like to write from my personal view and the way I see things, so basically from a very small microcosm perspective. Not everyone may agree with how I see things and that's fine. But I will never write about going to bars and picking up chicks, [LAUGHS!] I want to say something that makes people think and have a moment of pause.

TLR!: Your sound could be classified across several genres of rock, metal, and even blues rock; do you aim for a specific genre or is it more the music takes form and you go with it?

Dannyjoe: I'm really trying to bridge the gap with my music and playing. I want to get things back to being just rock and roll. I have fans that are die-hard blues fans that enjoy what I do then ask, "But why do you have to play so fast?" Then I get serious metal style players that ask "Why do you play that country blues sounding slide stuff?" I tell both to stop trying to compartmentalize guitar in general, just enjoy it if it moves you regardless of whether or not it's metal, blues, shred or country. The main point is I'm going to throw everything into and get as many emotions as I can from my guitar regardless of how people want to categorize it.

TLR!: Your instrumental pieces emote very strongly, regardless of the song's tone, especially with the current deluge of metal acts so many are sounding very "copy & paste", many "name" bands are getting homogenious in their writing. Dannyjoe, what do you feel you have to do to stay in top shape creatively?

Dannyjoe: I just stay away from all of it. There isn't a lot of guitar music I listen too these days. I've never cared what other players are doing and I have never done cover tunes. The only down side to that though is I'm 46 years old and just now people are starting to notice me. For years I wasn't playing what was cool, like during the whole grunge era, and even during the 80's I didn't really fit in. But I have stuck to what I do for so long that now people seem to like it and that makes me very happy.

TLR!: Earlier this year you signed with Shredguy Records, how did you get hooked up with Shredguy and how're you liking it so far?

Dannyjoe: Adrian English turned me onto Mike through a phone call during one of the NAMM shows. Adrian's a MADMAN player and on the label.
Now about Mike McDowell, I love Mike. He's given me a chance and through him lots of people are getting to see and hear what I'm about. What's also amazing about ShredGuy is the fact that Mike McDowell wasn't concerned that I'm in my mid 40's. That's a rare thing in this industry these days.To him it's all about serious guitar playing and song writing.

TLR!: Dannyjoe, I heard from Mike McDowell that you moved to Las Vegas over the summer, how do find the music scene there? Seriously and without the pretension so many expect simply because it's "Vegas" [laughs].

Dannyjoe: Well actually I moved to Vegas in 79' and loved it. Back 2008 though I bought a house in a rural area outside of Vegas and two months ago lost it to the bank, forcing me back to Vegas. And yeah I'm going to write a song about the crooks in the home loan industry too! [LAUGHS]
But as for Vegas, seriously this is the entertainment capital of the world now and everyone knows it. There's a ton of new money here plus the locals stations like KOMP and KXTE really support local music. Once I get my band line up complete there will be a ton of places to play and it will be great to launch a tour from here! By the way, I still need a bass player -

TLR!: Too bad I'm not closer to Las Vegas...
Anyway, how does the Vegas scene stack up against other places you've lived and performed?

Dannyjoe: Well Vegas is all I really know and has always had the most going on from what my friends who have lived else where tell me.
TLR!: With the last months of 2011 moving along, what's going on for the remainder of the year for you?

Dannyjoe: I'm working very hard to get my live band together. That's a huge goal this year and I'd like to get my full length CD out by the end of this year, or whenever Mike wants really, I'm OK with it.
Another cool thing I'm actually doing is guitar teching for Michael Angelo Batio. He's doing a big show called "A Tribute to Rock Guitar" here in Vegas on September 23 and 24 and wasn't going to have his regular guitar tech with him so I volunteered.
I've built guitars in the past and have teched for years so to help out a Master is a real treat!

TLR!: Plans for 2012?

Dannyjoe: Band - Tour - Record and watch ShredGuy grow! And I'm going to make a lot of money this coming year I can feel it!

TLR!: I hope so brother [laughs]. Thanks again Dannyjoe, it's been great interviewing you man.

Dannyjoe: It's been a real pleasure Mr. Meade, I'd love to do it again!

For more from Dannyjoe Carter, and the latest info on the Dannyjoe Carter Band check out http://www.facebook.com/dannyjoe.carter.

Adrian English - Guitar Master
Interviewed by Michael Meade on 9/3/11
Posted 9/16/11 5:00PM EST

Adrian English - Photo Courtesy Adrian English

TLR!: Thanks for the interview Adrian, I've been wanting to do one with you since I wrote a review on your album "A.D.D." a few years ago. Let's dive right with a little history lesson about yourself... Who or what got you interested in guitar?

Adrian English: First off thank you Mike for giving me this interview, well in simplest terms gen 1 and gen 2 original "shredders" from the late 70's through the 80's and 90's. But more specifically EVH, George Lynch, Shawn Lane, and of course all the Shrapnel Alumni, Friedman, Becker, MacAlpine etc., I was very moved as a youth when I heard classics like speed metal symphony and perpetual burn. But hands down when I was 10 I heard "ERUPTION", and was devastated!!! Like.....yup.... I need to play!

TLR!: You're very welcome Adrian! Any musicians that are still an inspirational force for you? Or perhaps a few that no longer are?

Adrian: As far as current Tobin Abasi (Animals As Leaders), Guthrie Govan of which I had the pleasure of getting a brief meeting at N.A.M.M. '09 in Anaheim, super cool guy and is an amazing player, and pretty much most of the new bred shred movement is really making me want to lock myself in my bedroom 7 days a week. As far as the two players that I revere at the highest pedal-stool above all for pure aggression and beloved highest caliber tasteful shreddum.... with out question Dime Bag Darrel and the king of the space invaders Shawn Lane. Both (R.I.P.).

TLR!: How's your song writing process work? Does a song take shape in your mind before you have your instrument in hand or is born from jamming?

Adrian: I have always heard a beat first in my head, then a rhythm, then a melody and then a back drop or maybe a solo (vocal) line if you will... in the case of instrumental music. Which to some like I guess a quote from Yngwie Malmsteen years ago.... he always heard a solo or vocal line first and worked it down to the foundation, which I suppose works best for the way it does for each individual to they're liking and for best results among the listeners.

TLR!: Why the preference for 7-string guitars over 6?

Adrian: Years ago my best friend Tony Lopez got me so curious about the 7's and when i]I played his Ibanez 7 one night at a party at his apartment I messed around with a classic Meshuggah (D.E.I.) riff known as SOUL BURN....! I'm like.... yeah..... its on, it just took a few to acquire my first 7, played it for like I think maybe 10 minutes with no amp and was like..... "HELL YEAH!!!" lets get dirty. It feels awkward to play a 6 now.... because I actually have pretty large hands , now transitioning to the 8!!! Once again my buddy Tony has an 8 Ibanez and its just NOW starting to feel like thats my limits! But again I gotta give creds to my bro Tony who himself is an awesome player and writer for exposing me to advancements through what some of us old timers refer to as the "DARK AGES".... OR the "NO SOLO GRUNGE DOOM ERA". I kept my older rg 6 string which I belt sanded and dremeled and had George Lynch sign at a clinic here in Vegas. That 6 string I used all the years growing up sending demos to Mike Varney(Shrapnel) and playing live in bands and in contests etc. I'll never part with that beast!

TLR!: Adrian I mentioned your album "A.D.D." a moment ago, that album was pure shred guitar from beginning to end and while your recently released "Innerplanetarium" is shred guitar as well, there are other genres and flavors in the mix this time out. A few of your compositions were very funk heavy and others had a touch of psychedelic rock and even a bit of classical; how did you find blending shred metal style guitar with these other sounds?

Adrian: I come from a background of mixed Genres, Metal ,Jazz, some Blues, New Wave,Thrash, Regae, Groove Metal, Cali Surf Punk, Industrial Tech shred.... ETC., not to mention a good ole helping of what now is funny to say "classic rock", when I was growing up and when MTV was still Music f'n Television and Ozzy and Ratt, Motley Crue, Dokken and all the "hair bands"...we're the NEW ANTI CHRIST for our future children... that wasnt "classic rock"! Classic rock was Steppenwolf or Zepplin or Hendrix, Floyd, Blue Oyster Cult, or Clapton, Janis Joplin.... etc... the list is insanely long. So ....for me....at 8 years old I heard Warren Di Martini (RATT) play the solo from Round and Round and was like "holy crap" there is nothing Classic about this... this is the new order! But again it was in the early 80's, and they're weren't too many players out there "SHREDDING", like YNGWIE, Shawn Lane, ULI JON ROTH, etc. all the above earlier "shredders" mentioned had an impact on me to this day!

TLR!: What are your aspirations for 2012? In both an artistic and performing sense.

Adrian: I'm working with a couple different promoters right now to potentially get me active here locally in Las Vegas and we will see where it goes from there. I believe there is no boundaries on live performances.... if it goes to the next level I will re-enlist my original band mates Ryan Morrow (Bass), Chas Cantrell (Drums and Percussion's) from the album and seek out a rhythm guitarist to get this train going, for now its all about playing out live on a solo exhibition level using the actual album as a dummy to play to. This album was never intended to just/only cater to fans of shred!!! I'm in the works of trying to get several radio stations to play my music and I dont mean just in Las Vegas!!! All over the united states! How else am I gonna get the GENERAL public's ear? How do you think Satriani became known back in the day? The next step of course is all digital and online now with a live performance!

TLR!: Alright, those are the aspirations, how about plan? Anything that can be shared yet?

Adrian: Not yet, I have started finally developing "REAL" connections on a multiple level and have serious aspirations of playing in a fully constructed and touring band to say the least. The solo thing is just a thing I've always wanted to live out since I was in elementary school.

TLR!: This always tends to be a loaded question for musicians, but I'm going to ask it anyway; Adrian what are your thoughts on the music industry as it stands right now?

Adrian: Simple!!! [Laughs].... Loaded! Full of alot of stuff that I am too polite to say. Mike McDowell single handedly gave me Faith that there IS people of business-like minded sources that actually want to see some one other then themselves get rich or succeed!!! Period!!! I have had my ups and downs as a player all the years growing up, with all the promises... etc., etc., etc.! For the most part from just even talking to a few of actively professional musicians.... some of them on the road as we speak!!! ....Its a struggle without need. It comes to a very small handful of players and or musicians out there that can even survive and really call it "a profession"!!!! So to answer your question...."split decision" , insane.... and plentiful!!! To a lucky few! I'm lucky to have come across Shred Guy Mike because he has a down to earth sense about him that I have never ever seen in any one that touts themself "apart of the music bizz!!!!", not saying he does "tout".....but he IS established and actually is creating a new movement on U.S. SOIL!

TLR!: That is definitely true, Mike is one of the few honest guys on that side of the biz that I've met too. Now where would you like the industry to go in the next few years?

Adrian: A little bit more flexible in every aspect, sponsors, endorsements..... a good example, a long time associate that was established from the Bay Area in a heavy band in the late 90's through the early 2000's has a signature guitar, I asked him one day "dude you're already experienced in knowledge of being an endorser what do I gotta do...." and as of early "this year 2011"..... he was like "dude!!!! every big corporate company is crimping down! Its getting harder and harder to get endorsed by the day." Where would I like to see it go is.... stop endorsing "everyone"!!! The company that my friend is... I think still with has a list of like 210 people on it and as far as a known (commercial global) circuit , I think I knew three names vaguely. Funny enough.... so as not to be a total hypocrite... how else would I get to be known... if not from the un-known up!? Hmmmm. Sooooo.... the catch 22 ever begins and continues! I'd like to see the industries maybe pull together and fight the illegal down loading of music!? Whats the point of a person wanting to become a professional musician if... at least by today's standards a 3rd of their income is raped from them EVERY SINGLE DAY... by the general public or even worse... "THEIR OWN FANS" who are too lazy to go out and get a job right out of high school or later, and actually pay for a solid product!!!!!! Its f'n stealing!!! Pay the money for it.
Rather then just "ripping it" off their friend and then letting 3 or 5 or 9 other friends rip off of that, and the irony.... alot of these very kids for the most part play in a band that strives to one day make it "BIG"... which means SELLING CD'S AND DOWNLOADS LEGALLY!!!![LAUGHS] Yeah!!!! Point made! For every time that perspective player in a band who wants to become rich or even just make a solid living steals a track.... guess what? You're next guy! Even if you make it. Have I? Personally no! I have a gigantic collection of cd's because I'm more of some one who believes in supporting the system, further more it doesn't do any thing for me knowing that I just took from someones creative financial till when they deserve it! Enough said!

TLR!: I'm with you brother! Even before TLR! I was involved with bands trying to break out, it's all the rougher when your creative endeavors are stolen. Now for the one that's sometimes the hardest to answer... what is most important about music be it metal, rock, or any other genre to you?

Adrian: Here is a cliche!!! ....Yet I live by it by my very heart!!!!! "S T A Y T R U E !!!!", if playing a certain genre gets you off... and you stay to it very sted fast! Stay to it and with it!!! There is nothing wrong with expansion and change.... but in an ever changing scape of this system of things sometimes you have to crank down on your bolts and clamps and just stay solid!!!!! Or... in some cases you will never master your field!!!! A.D.D. and Innerplanetarium to me are me doing exactly what "I WANTED TO DO!" and SHREDGUY RECORDS gave me that freedom. Yet I will always do something ever growing different from here on out!

TLR!: Thank you once more for taking the time to sit down and chat with me Adrian!

Adrian: Thank you Mike again for the interview.

For more from Adrian English check out www.myspace.com/adrianenglish and http://shredguyrecords.bigcartel.com.