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Monday, April 30, 2007

10 Q's with THRESHOLD's Karl Groom


Since I finished up on Dead Reckoning it has been mixing projects all the way. Two DVD soundtracks for Neo and Pendragon and an album mix for a pop/rock band called the Dreaming tree from the Midlands. Right now I am mixing new hardcore band NATO, from Cornwall.

For Threshold our tour agency is working hard on sorting out live dates. I know we have already made quite a few plans for summer festivals and also ProgPower USA in October. Some of those days already appear on the band’s website . There also will most likely be a European Tour in September


The songs are about various difficulties people sometimes face during their life, for example Slipstream is about getting scared of life and not wanting to go outside, Elusive is about losing the will to achieve things and One Degree Down is about losing hope when dreams take too long to come true. Musically the album is slightly darker and heavier than our previous work, although there are still plenty of progressive moments especially in songs like Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams and Fighting For Breath. There’s no traditional Threshold power ballad this time but Safe To Fly comes close.


Threshold had to negotiate a new contract after completing three CDs for Inside Out and had a number of options. I’m sure it would have been very comfortable to stay with Inside Out, but I think it is important for a band to move on once in a while and to reinvigorate things. It is too easy to get into a pattern in terms of the way you write and promote the band. I find it good to need to prove to a new label how good you can be.

We did not actively look for a new label, but Nuclear Blast came to us after finding out we were up for contract renewal. They put up with us negotiating the contract for about six months and are still positive and looking for ways to get the most out of the new album!

I am not negative about Inside Out and would like to thank Thomas for the work he put in for Threshold, but unless a band like Threshold continues to evolve I can’t see it surviving. I want to continue to make music while I feel passionate about it, so we thought NB would offer us a step up and a lot better distribution, whilst still maintaining full artistic control.


The albums Wounded Land, Psychedelicatessen and Extinct Instinct were all released as special editions during our deal with Inside Out. Each re-release included bonus material which consisted of bonus tracks or multimedia and an extended booklet. The re-issue of Psychedelicatessen included a remix and a bonus disk of the now deleted Livedelica taken from the bands 1995 tour.


We are currently planning the live set for the Dead Reckoning tour as our first dates will be during the summer. There will of course be a lot of material from the new album to promote, but also some old favourites and maybe some things not heard for a long time. We are taking something from nearly every album I think.


The production work on other bands work is something I enjoy doing. It is just a case of separating it clearly from Threshold. We will typically spend 3 months writing and arranging for a new album and then maybe 3 months recording. On Dead Reckoning that time was split into a couple of sessions because of previous commitments. In the case of Threshold production I have Richard to work with, so that makes it much easier not to miss anything when you are so close to the music.


The advent of the ProgPower UK festival has brought our style music forward again a little bit over here. However, metal as a genre has not been that popular since the 80s as far as I can see. The UK is generally attracted to manufactured pop music and reality shows, which means we and the other bands I work with play 99% of our shows abroad. That’s fine for the bands, but I see some frustration from rock fans who don’t get the same chance to see the music they love as other countries. We have gradually had better attendances at our shows in England, but we are looking to take a step forward with this album. That is one of the main reasons we were keen to sign with Nuclear Blast. Their distribution and promotion is much wider reaching than previous record companies we have been with.


I gave up my local government job as a building projects manager when a small Dutch label signed one of the projects I was working on. We used the advance to buy equipment and record the CD and have continued to build the studio side ever since. About the time Clone came out I started getting a lot of power metal bands asking about production and it has gone on from there.

As a band we have always tried to be true to the style of music we are good at. It might be tempting to follow some trends at times, but there are plenty of there bands doing that and I think it pays to be original if you looking to be around for more than a year or so. One of the secrets as far as I am concerned is to never go back to old songs that were not used for a previous album. If they were not good enough then, why would they suit now? I try to write all my material in the few months just before we record so that it is of a given period of time. That will also help with the consistency of a CD.


Watching football, cycling and struggling on home gym equipment!! I think Rich has just joined this crazy activity.


I hope they enjoy the new Threshold album, Dead Reckoning and I look forward to seeing them somewhere on tour this year!

10 Q's with Sean Hetherington (INTENSE)

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Currently doing promotion for our new album, and then next on the list is to start sorting out some show. We’re hoping to sign up to a new booking agency soon.

2. Could you take us through the tracks on the new album 'As Our Army Grows' please (eg ideas behind the songs etc)...

Okay, Anger of the Ancients is the opener (and you can hear an edit on our myspace page ) and is basically tells the story of tomb raiders getting their just desserts, Mirror Shroud was an idea I got from a book I’d read, it’s a cape that is addictive to wear and renders the wearer invisible, it gradually takes you over and makes you into a demon… Our Last Hope is the 3rd song in my tribute to the Prophecy Films (Dark Season and War of Angels were the first two) . It’s influenced greatly by Prophecy 3 the Ascent, it’s the story of war in Heaven between Angels and also man. You Die Today is just an observation that when your time comes, you can’t escape. Insanity’s Call comes to as all at some point in our lives, maybe even more than once… when you’re pushed and pushed and you’re very close to the edge. Temptress is a light hearted moment although I retained the darkness to some degree, this is about the type of women most men will come across at some point, they know what they want and will do whatever they have to to take it. Kara does a great job on vocals on the bridge. Fear Is Not Enough is about the supernatural and is seen from a psychics eyes, it’s also a case in point as to perception, we shot a video for this and the Director came up with a totally different narration (check it out on youtube ) We end with the Chronicles of the New Flesh, a Trilogy Written by Nick in dedication to David Cronenberg’s film, Videodrome. This starts with Trojan Transmission into Strange New World and finally Long Live the New Flesh. It helps if you’ve seen the film but even if you haven‘t I think you can enjoy the songs, they basically take you through the metamorphosis of the films main character and his battle with the videodrome.

3. How did you hook up with your new label Napalm Records? Will they be re-releasing your earlier work as well at some point?

This time I’d made a rule only to send to labels that showed an interest rather than send out promos that wouldn’t be listened to. Napalm were recommended to me by Karl who’d worked with someone who had recently been signed by them. They came back to me saying they were interested and after some negotiations the deal was done. We haven’t talked about our old stuff yet, if it were to happen we’d need to be better established on the world scene I think, Napalm are working at that right now. It was a great shout from Karl as thus far the label has been ultra supportive of the band, after hearing the label boss tell me of his commitment to our cause I was confident we were on the right label for us. The promotion up to now has been superb and we have some good guys in Austria, the States and the UK doing their bit for us.

4. What sort of live set can fans expect and which countries/venues do you particulary like appearing at?

Well we aired some of the new stuff last year both over here and in Europe. Germany is great for us to play and we played only a few shows in Holland and 1 in Belgium and got a great response so would like to go back doing bigger venues as a support in those countries, we’d also like to get to some bigger venues over here on a decent support slot, the UK fans have always been supportive of us which is great! Venue wise we played the Batcave in Tilburg at the 013 club.. which is probably the best venue we’ve played, they had 3 different stages there so I’d def like to go back there. I think as a band we enjoy the bigger stages such as Bloodstock, Thirteenth day etc as we thrive in such a situation. Set wise I think we’ll be playing mainly new stuff with a couple of SS tracks thrown in.

5. How did last year's first UK based Prog Power go? Have you seen interest in prog/power metal increasing over the past couple of years here in the UK?

PPUK last year was excellent, I think number wise we saw nearly 1200 people turn up to a totally new festival in Cheltenham. We had great reports and reviews and that’s why Jon and his wife Wendy have carried it on to do this year. I left the partnership after last year as I could see things were going to get busy with Intense and couldn’t commit the time unfortunately, I got to go as a guest this year which was nice. I think the profile of prog/power metal is growing and more people are turning to it or including it in their listening preferences. Of course having somewhere like PPUK is great as you can go along and get to see bands that rarely play the UK and also you get turned onto new bands you didn’t know before. A few bands have got new deals too, and Dragonforce are flying so it can only be good for metal I think.

6. How do you see the metal scene progressing and why do you think Intense still seem to be lagging behind press recognition/fanbase wise here in the UK compared to Europe?

The Metal scene is probably the best it’s been since the 80’s, I just hope it doesn’t crash and burn in the same way. I don’t think we’re lagging behind over here particularly, this is only our Second Album and only the first one that’s going to get decent distribution (HMV,Virgin, Play, Amazon etc) so maybe we have some catching up to do but I think it’s achievable. Our last label was very small and limited to what they could do, I did more self promotion for Second Sight than I did for Dark Season which I released myself, that tells a story I think, We’ve also not been on any decent support slots over here which we really need to address from now on to spread the INTENSE Word. Press wise we now have someone to handle press for us over here and thus far have received reviews in Metal Hammer, Powerplay, Fireworks etc plus all 3 had Anger on the cover mount, so I’m happy that things are changing for the better.

7. How easy/hard is it to get a decent run of tour dates together? Which bands that you appeared live with have you enjoyed appearing with most?

It’s pretty hard, that’s why I want to get a decent booking agency working for us rather than ME (ha ha) we also have to negotiate time off work etc.. all good fun. Despite everyone’s natural competitiveness we’ve made some good friends over here, Powerquest, Mercury Rain, Fourway Kill, Seasons End, Headless Cross, Conquest of Steel have all been good to play with and most of them are top guys/gals. It was nice playing with the likes of Sonata Arctica and Evergrey etc at the festivals too naturally.

8. How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

I don’t know if I’ve ever got a break in the music business ha ha.. All I’d say is that be prepared to work hard, take the good times with the bad and be driven.. persistence will get you a long way.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my wife and 2 sons, watch Liverpool whenever I can and I like to escape by reading or playing strategy games on the PC.

10. Message to your fans...

I hope you like the new album and can see the progress since SS, and come and see us when we eventually hit the road… see you down the front!! Cheers!
Gig review & interview with TRIVIUM


Friday, April 27, 2007

Status Quo will release a new album in September. To be called 'In Search Of The Fourth Chord', it's being produced by Pip Williams and will be on their own Fourth Chord label.

ALICE IN CHAINS have started to write new material but have no plans to release an album as yet.

DEEP PURPLE have dropped their idea to play the whole of the ‘Machine Head’ album on their current UK tour and instead are playing a more ‘loser’ set.

ATO Records has set July 10 as the North American release date for Crowded House's "Time On Earth." It's the band's first new studio album in 14 years, and features original, founding members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour, along with former member Mark Hart and new drummer Matt Sherrod.

EPICA have signed to Nuclear Blast.

The Answer are to re-issue their debut album 'Rise' through Albert Productions on June 18.
It has a bonus CD, featuring live tracks, a cover of Aerosmith's 'Sweet Emotion', acoustic versions and singles B-sides.



Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the reissue of Michael Thompson Band's masterpiece How Long on June 8.
In order to coincide with the release of Michael Thompson's new band debut album TRW's Rivers of Paradise, Frontiers and Michael agreed that it was a perfect time to re-release this masterpiece on the same day.
In 1988, after working to try and get a deal with his band Slang for several years, Thompson got signed by Geffen Records to release one album entitled How Long, under the Michael Thompson Band (MTB) moniker.
The singer for this group was Rick 'Moon' Calhoun, previously front man for the AOR cult band The Strand, Michael's long time friend. Completing the line-up were another bunch of highly respected studio professionals such as John Andrew Schreiner (on keyboards), Leon Gaer (bass), John Keane (drums).
On How Long more musicians appeared, in particular drummer-maestro Terry Bozzio, Pat Torpey (of Mr Big), bassist Jimmy Haslip, ex Kansas vocalist John Elefante, Toto's Bobby Kimball and Great White associates Michael Lardie and Wyn Davis (who also produced the album).
As of today How Long is regarded as one of the highest examples of hi-tech AOR / West Coast, with a superb production and immaculate songwriting. During the years it became more and more of a collector's item and the prices paid on E-bay exceeded 80 dollars!
This 2007 reissue comes completely remastered and adds two songs which were recorded during the original sessions and the first fruit of a reunion between Michael, Moon Calhoun and songwriter Jeff Paris entitled Wheelchair, an appetizer for an upcoming brand new album to be expected sometime in 2008!
Final tracklisting of the How Long reissue shall be: Secret Information; Give Love a Chance; 1000 Nights; Wasteland; Never Stop Falling; Can t Miss; Gloria; Stranger; Baby Come Back; How Long; Right To Be Wrong (bonus track); Love Goes On (bonus track); Wheelchair (new song).

In the meanwhile track listing for the highly anticipated album from TRW (the new alliance between Michael Thompson with former Bridge 2 Far members and top-session players John Robinson and Mark Williamson) has been finalized.
The album Rivers of Paradise will include the following tracks: Set My Spirit Free / Rivers of Paradise; Hold On; Indiscretion; Gonna Be Some Changes; Only a Letter; Hard Time Love; One Good Woman; Love Comes Callin'; Alimony Blues.
Don't miss this incredible opportunity to welcome back some great AOR heroes!

Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the signing of Swedish Melodic Metal hopefuls Seven Tears!
Previously known as Atlantica (their demo received a great review on Sweden Rock Magazine in early 2006) the band is now formed by Jonathan Carlemar on guitars, Fredrik Lager on bass, Kristofer von Wachenfeldt on keyboards (Platitude), Michael Sjöö on drums (Spearfish) and singer Zoran Djorem. With this line-up Seven Tears recorded the demo "The Story Unfolds" which was sent in early 2007 to the attention of Frontiers Records who immediately liked the music and offered a recording deal to the guys in February 2007.
"It is absolutely fantastic to get a deal with Frontiers. A dream come true!" said guitar player Jonathan Carlemar, who presents Seven Tears music as "Evergrey meets Journey an unique mixture of Melodic Metal and an AOR-feeling with some prog-elements. The mixture of different styles from the members musical past gives the band a unique sound towards today's rock/metal bands."
Seven Tears are currently busy recording the debut album under the direction of Peter Lundin (Spearfish) at Teknik Kompaniet Studios in Vetlanda, Sweden. Frontiers hopes to release the album during the fall 2007.

Press Release / Vancouver, British Columbia, April 25 - One of Canada's most popular bands, Loverboy, is back, and has just released a new single to radio exclusively through Destiny Media Technologies' Play MPE digital distribution system on Tuesday, April 24.
Loverboy rocked the world in the 1980s with several platinum hits, including "Working for the Weekend," "Turn Me Loose" and "When It's Over" among others. A new album, entitled Back For More, is due out from RockSTAR Music in June.
Loverboy's new single; The One That Got Away is one of the first tracks to utilize the Play MPE system since its fresh launch in Canada. "We have seen the power and reach of Play MPE in its application in the US, and for our brand new single we wanted to hit the ground running," said Loverboy lead singer, Mike Reno. "This album is going to blow our fans away -- both old and new alike!"
"When we needed to get this huge new single out for Loverboy, going with Play MPE was the obvious choice," said Michael Hektoen, President, RockSTAR Music. "No other service has the radio industry's loyalty like MPE. We wanted to be positive that our contacts at stations get this track, and this was the surest path." Play MPE launched in Canada on Monday, April 23rd. The Canadian launch followed several years of exponential growth and success of MPE in the US market as well as adoption by major record labels and radio in every format.
"Having Loverboy release their new Canadian single exclusively through our service is a great honor," said Dean Ernst, VP of MPE Operations. "With the Play MPE System, radio stations across Canada will have immediate access to one of the most anticipated tracks in the year." The Play MPE system delivers extremely high quality music, graphics and song data directly to authorized computers in a locked format that recognizes whether the machine has been registered with the system. If the labels allow the content to be burned to CD or exported, a proprietary patent pending forensic watermark, which survives analog duplication and compression is embedded into the song. This mark identifies the original source if copies are made.
The MPE system is used by over 800 record labels, including Universal Music Group, EMI Music Group, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group. 42,000 songs have been sent to radio stations and other trusted recipients since launch.
RockSTAR Music is an International Music and Media Company. RockSTAR Music has become the "it" independent Record Company in Canada continuously releasing hit song after hit song from artists including; Rosette, Bianca, Marika, Sy'Rai and Live on Arrival.
RockSTAR will be releasing the upcoming highly anticipated new album by Loverboy in June 2007.

Press Release / Tune into any Classic Rock station in America and you'll hear their hits—“Lady,” “Renegade,” “Come Sail Away,” “Fooling Yourself,” “Babe.” With record sales surpassing 54 million, including a record-setting four consecutive triple platinum albums, Styx is one of the biggest rock bands of the 20th century. What's more, after almost four decades together, Styx is still touring and thrilling sold-out crowds.
A founding member of Styx and its iconic bass player, Chuck Panozzo remembers what it was like on the road to success, riding between local gigs in the back of a station wagon, and at the peak of his fame, playing before thousands of screaming female fans and torrents of panties, bras, and propositions. He also recalls the loneliness and gnawing fear of being found out and exposed as a gay man. He tells the story of his struggle to come to terms with himself while navigating a rock 'n' roll odyssey in The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies, and My Life with Styx (Amacom; May 15, 2007; $24.95 Hardcover).
“Fortunately, I am now comfortable enough in my own skin to take a stand on my own behalf,” Panozzo reflects. “But I know that there are thousands of others who are not. For them, I hope to be an example. For them, I hope to help break down the stigma and stereotypes that still surround not only the gay community, but also many other groups and individuals who feel disenfranchised.”
The Grand Illusion begins on the South Side of Chicago. Born in 1948 to hardworking and devoutly Catholic second-generation Italian-immigrants, Chuck was his mother's only son for exactly 20 minutes. Then his twin brother, John, made his entrance. Growing up, Chuck was reserved and compliant, while John routinely raised hell. Teased at school for “running like a girl,” Chuck felt worthless—until he discovered his talent for making music. At age 10, the Panozzo twins started music lessons, taught by their Uncle Tony. John was a natural drummer. Though it took Chuck a few months, he found his instrument: the rhythm guitar. At age 13, the Panozzo twins formed a trio with their neighbor, 15-year-old Dennis DeYoung, and quickly became popular on the local wedding/party circuit. Thanks to a bit of almost divine intervention—savvy advice from a nun—the boys dumped their Sinatra repertoire to focus on playing rock 'n' roll. After an unlikely detour—a year in the seminary—Chuck came back playing bass guitar with John and Dennis and working on building a rock band.
The Grand Illusion presents a backstage pass to the journey of one of the world's most successful bands, while tracing the awakening of a gay man to his own sexual identity.
Still the [occasional] bass player for Styx, Chuck Panozzo now lives as an openly gay man, in a committed loving relationship, and is an activist for HIV/AIDS education and gay rights. “I've been given the opportunity to make a difference,” says Panozzo. “I do not take that opportunity lightly.”
Filled with insider revelations, The Grand Illusion will strike a chord with fans of Styx and anyone fascinated by the true tales of rock legends. At its heart, however, Chuck Panozzo's memoir is a testament to the power and peace of self-acceptance, certain to resonate with not only gay and lesbian readers, but anyone who has ever felt different or had difficulty accepting their true identity.


FATE - Fate (2007) MTM

The second of the Fate albums to be reissued this year following the April release of Cruisin' For A Bruisin' and this time it's the self-titled debut album in the spotlight. Created and lead by ex-Mercyful Fate guitarist Hank Shermann this is considerably more guitar-centric than the later more keyboard oriented albums but still displays a definite melodic edge.
Opener 'Love On The Rocks' displays this immediately sounding much less polished and harder than the revisited version on Cruisin' would. Further riff heavy matter in the shape of 'Danger Zone' and 'Tracks' confirm the bands initial positioning as a melodic metal band underlined by the dark lyrics of 'Fallen Angel'. Possibly a carry over from Mercyful Fate its light years away from the party rock of 'Underneath Da Coconuts'! 'She's Got The Devil Inside' stands out as a really good track and hints at an Alice Cooper influence although reminds me of Golden Earrings' Twilight Zone during the chorus. Unfortunately the quality of songs dropped somewhat toward the end of the album and the final four tracks see the metallic edge blunted and a sound more akin to early Poison takes over, perhaps hinting at the future direction for the band. This release adds a bonus 12" mix of 2nd album opening track 'Won't Stopp'.
Again a decent album that will serve to replace an earlier poor sounding release and maybe stop some of the original CDs changing hands at high prices at auction. I actually preferred the heavier sound of this debut album however the later release in this pair of reissues has the greater amount of better songs.

Bill Leslie

FATE - Cruisin' For A Bruisin' (2007) MTM

The first of two digitally remastered reissues scheduled for melodic rock act Fate sees their 1988 vintage third album get the makeover treatment. Initially formed by ex-Mercyful Fate axeman Hank Shermann he had jumped his own ship by the release of Cruisin' and possibly down to this fact this album saw the band move further away from the guitar fuelled debut sound and develop a party rock approach along the lines of David Lee Roth's early solo output.
The likes of "Cupid Shot Me", "Dead Boy, Cold Meat" and a remake of debut album track "Love On The Rox" all borrow something from the ex-Van Halen frontman's style. "Babe, You Got A Friend" is a decent if cliche ridden quota filling big ballad whilst the likes of the rocking "Lock You Up" and "Diamond In The Rough" best reflect the bands harder rocking credentials. Standing out above all though is the track "Lovers"; a fine keyboard driven number that was given the 'promo video' treatment back in the day.
The original CD commands high prices on eBay currently therefore for that reason alone this is a worthwhile release there is clearly some demand for and there is enough high quality pop-metal on here to understand why its so sought after. It's not the absolute classic the marks on some sites would have you believe though and even after numerous listens there isn't that much to set Fate apart from so many other late 80s bands.

Bill Leslie

ASIA ‘Live In Nottingham’ The Store For Music Ltd (2007)

Asia have many live CD’s out there and here is another one recorded back in 1990 when the original trio of John Wetton, Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer were joined by guitarist Pat Thrall. This line-up also recorded some songs for the ‘Now & then’ compilation which came out in the same year. The set list contains all the Asia classics including ‘Don’t Cry’, ‘Heat Of The Moment’ and ‘Heat Of The Moment’ plus ‘Days Like These’ of the aforementioned ‘Now & Then’ compilation album. The sound quality is varied with Carl Palmer’s drums very low in the mix at times. Three bonus tracks including a truly awful recording of ‘Heat Of The Moment’, all tinny drums and muffled vocals, a Geoff Downes solo tune and ‘In The End’ from the first Wetton/Downes Icon album. A very eclectic mix of bonus material!
One for collectors/avid fans only…

Jason Ritchie

MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND ‘Live In America’ The Store For Music Ltd (2007)

Recorded in the US back in 1977 this live album has a classic set (with the band’s classic line-up including vocalist Chris Thompson and drummer Chris Slade) from the band including ‘Blinded By The Light’, ‘Davy’s On The Road Again’ and the 60’s hit ‘Mighty Quinn’. Some decent live bonus songs as well including a cover of the Stones track ‘Ruby Tuesday’.
A good, solid live album from a band who often get overlooked but are one of the better 70’s classic rock bands.

Jason Ritchie

LITTLE RIVER BAND ‘Re-arranged’ The Store For Music Ltd (2007)

Recorded in 2006 this sees the band re-record their classic tunes although with a relatively new line-up bar guitarist Stephen Housden who has been with the band for over 25 years now. So really this is a tribute band in all but name! Only ‘Lady’ with its more guitar orientated sound and ‘Man On Your Mind’ are on par with the originals, otherwise it is okay but after you’ve heard the original versions so many times these re-recordings are a pale imitation…
Get the originals as the vocals are stronger and that was how the songs were meant to be.

Jason Ritchie

JOHNNY MONACO ‘Overrated’ Cargo Records (2007)

Johnny Monaco is the guitarist and now also vocalist with Enuff Z Nuff (he seems to have replaced original vocalist Donnie Vie certainly as far as touring goes). On this his first full solo album he has penned, produced and played all the instruments on the fourteen songs on here. The songs are very much in the Enuff Z Nuff mould being for the most part up tempo pop rockers like the excellent ‘The Wrong Crowd’, the driving guitars on the title track and ‘The Model Of A Woman’ where Monaco sounds like Donnie Vie crossed with Elvis Costello! Only slight criticism is that some songs do tend to sound similar, especially in the guitar and drum sound.
Definitely one for Enuff Z Nuff fans and short, spiky pop rock tunes a la Butch Walker or Ginger’s solo output.

Jason Ritchie

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ROADSTAR have split-up just as they have released their second album ‘Glass Mountain’.

My Chemical Romance bassist Mikey Way is 'temporarily' leaving the band to spend time with his new wife. The band will continue with a replacement.

BON JOVI are to release their new single, '(You Want To) Make A Memory?' through Mercury on June 25. The band's show at the O2 Arena in London on June 24 is now sold out.

SPINAL TAP will reform for the upcoming global warming concerts on 7thy July. They will appear at Wembley.

Rudy Sarzo (OZZY OSBOURNE, QUIET RIOT, WHITESNAKE, DIO) has been tapped by Eric Bloom of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT to handle bass guitar duties for the band's April 28 concert at the Hawgs of Texas motorcycle rally in Lake Somerville, TX. Also scheduled to appear are QUIET RIOT and VIXEN, among many others. Additional BÖC dates with Sarzo on bass may follow.


Thunderground festival 18th August Rock City Nottingham


Former IRON MAIDEN frontman Blaze Bayley will reunite with his first band WOLFSBANE for three songs after his solo set at the Rock of Ages Festival in Tamworth, England on September 9th.

28th Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

10th Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London


THE LADDER ‘SACRED’ Escape Music (2007)

Steve Overland’s soulful Paul Rodgers-meets-Michael Bolton voice is one of rock’s great lost treasures, and the fame and fortune he deserves has always eluded him, with his main band FM always just failing to make that elusive commercial breakthrough before calling it a day in the mid-90’s.
Overland fans have been treated to his return in recent years with two projects, Shadowman and The Ladder. The latter’s first album in 2004 was a classic slice of melodic rock, albeit mainly rerecordings of unreleased FM songs, and now with ex Melodica guitarist Gerhard Pichler on board plus FM drummer Pete Jupp, they are back with an all new album.
The good news lies in a strong selection of songs which showcase the man’s voice which is as peerless as ever, but after the two opening (and best) songs in Body and Soul and Sacred, the album takes a surprising turn which may not appeal to all of his long-time fans. Essentially, the production and arrangements owe more to modern pop than the traditional AOR market of FM fans. So a ballad like Something to Believe In marries classic Overland vocal stylings with a trip hop beat that might be found on a boy band, while Believe in Me has a funky beat and the smooth harmonies of Run to You called to mind the reformed Take That. Drum loops abound, especially on the last four songs, during which the overall tempo of the album becomes considerably more laid back, and Pichler’s guitar is heard mainly in subtle fills rather than traditional guitar solos, though he does let rip on All of My Life (one of the strongest tracks on view) with a riff influenced by the Sweet’s Set Me Free.
A brave and radical departure which may alienate some of Overland’s longer term fans, although if somehow it means his work crosses over to a wider audience, then the end would justify the means.

Andy Nathan

TWO OF A KIND Frontiers (2007)

This band feature Dutch melodic rockers Terra Nova with the addition of two female vocalists, Esther Bronus and Anita Craenemhr. Like Terra Nova they keyboards of Ron Hendrix take a big role in the overall sound with guitar solos kept short and sweet. There are some cracking catchy hard rockers such as ‘Light In The Dark’ and ‘Little By Little’, both could garner airplay if given the chance. Meanwhile heart fans will do a double take when they hear ‘Give Me A Reason’ as it sounds just like a Heart tune from their 80’s heyday. The only problem with the album is midway through you get three slower numbers which really stops the album in its tracks after five great rockers preceding them. Only ‘In Your Arms’ hits the spot as this band excel more at the rock tunes and ‘Whole Again’ soon gets the album back on track. Fast pace with some wonderful guitar and keyboard interplay.
Fans of Heart and female fronted melodic rock will love this album, as will fans of Terra Nova and anyone who likes a catchy tune! Ballads aside the band really knows how to pen memorable tunes.

Jason Ritchie

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Elton John has recorded a version of the classic single 'Blueberry Hill' on a forthcoming Fats Domino tribute album. Bruce Springsteen and Willy Nelson are other artists rumoured to be on the tribute album, which is set for release later this year.

PASSION STREET are planning on reforming, with an album and tour dates planned. The UK AOR band released the critically acclaimed "Million Miles Away" in 1996 and toured with the likes of Danger Danger and Danny Vaughn - the band's guitarist Pat Heath is currently a member of Danny Vaughn's band.

The reformed RATT will consist of vocalist Stephen Pearcy, guitarist Warren DeMartini and drummer Bobby Blotzer. Joining the band onstage will be bassist Robbie Crane and guitarist John Corabi.

A 2-CD The Police Anthology is set for a June 4 release to coincide the band's world reunion tour. The new compilation will be the bands third best-of release following 'Every Breath You Take - The Singles' in 1986 and 'Greatest Hits' in 1992.

Travis plan to give away over a hundred previously unreleased tracks on their MySpace website. Lead singer Fran Healy explains: "We've released 130 songs in A-sides, B-sides and album tracks since we started out. Now there's finally a place where we can put up four brand new tracks a week that people haven't heard before."
The band release a new album called The Boy With No Name on Monday May 7th.


***Ordinary Boys, Morcheeba, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Toots & The Maytalls, Saw Doctors, Richard Thompson & Uriah Heep added to GuilFest July 13/14/15***

GuilFest, the UK's Best Family Festival (UK Festival Awards 2006) rolls confidently into its 16th year, with an as vibrant and eclectic a line up as ever. Established legends are joined by rising stars and bands of the moment as more names are added to the three day, Unison sponsored event, held in Stoke Park Guilford over the 13th, 14th and 15th of July.

Supporting Friday headliners Supergrass on the BBC Radio Two Main Stage will be Indie rock leading lights The Ordinary Boys, fronted by Sam Preston, whose recent infamous appearance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks reflected the punk attitude and confidence that has helped make this band such an energising live act.

Fresh from a sell out US tour will be the critically acclaimed Dublin based Mexican duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela, who will display their unique talent at playing unbelievably fast, rhythmic electro acoustic guitar – something that has already made them a major festival attraction throughout Europe and given them a number 1 album.

Saturday's BBC Radio Two Main Stage, headlined by the reunited Squeeze, sees the category defying, globally successful Morcheeba take the penultimate slot with their unique blend of soul, hip hop, blues, country and electronica. Their million plus selling 'Big Calm' album started a string of gold selling albums in the UK and set the precedence for a whole new genre in the late1990's. Festival organisers are sure that the ambient musical dreamscapes they weave will be perfect for GuilFest's rich mix of followers.

Bringing the BBC Radio Two Main Stage to a close on Sunday will be Madness, who are back with their unique brand of nutty boy ska for a welcome return. Supporting is undoubtedly one of today's most successful acts The Magic Numbers. Having won a string of musical accolades, including Best New Act award in 2005 (MOJO), this tight knit quartet hasn't put a commercial or artistic foot wrong since bursting on the scene and GuilFest are very pleased to have them for one of only a few UK dates this summer.

Perennial favourites The Saw Doctors make a welcome return to headline the Ents24 Stage on Friday while folk legend Richard Thompson, founder member of Fairport Convention tops the bill Saturday. There will be a former Spider From Mars on stage when Prog-rock legends Uriah Heep make a rare UK festival appearance, to close proceedings on the Ents24 Stage on Sunday evening.

GuilFest prides itself on rediscovering lost gems, this year that act is the utterly unique, three times Grammy nominated soul reggae rock steady stars Toots and The Maytals. Led by Toots Hibbert, one of the great voices of Jamaica, this group, formed in 1962, is cited by an endless list of famous peers, young and old, including Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and No Doubt - all of whom have collaborated on the latest album True Love - as a hugely important and influential outfit in the history of funk, roots, reggae, rave, disco and gospel music. With no less than 31 number 1 hits under their belt in their homeland, GuilFest tips this group to be one of the festival’s highlights. Toots and The Maytals will perform on the BBC Radio Two Main Stage on Sunday the 15th.

The line up over GuilFest’s seven music stages will continue to grow over the next few weeks and along with top performers for both the comedy and theatre tent, great facilities across the board including the Kidzone, mammoth bar, clean toilets and huge variety of stalls selling everything you could ever hope to find at a festival, organisers are determined to make this year’s festival the best GuilFest-ival ever.

GuilFest will be setting the precedent yet again for a family event with its relaxed vibe and friendly atmosphere. Tickets are now on sale and are available on-line at or by calling the Ticket Hotline on 0871 424 0050

Alex Skolnick Jams With Rodrigo Y Gabriela At New York´s Webster Hall

By Alex Skolnick:

Last Monday, the amazing guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela invited me to be
their special guest at their sold out show at Webster Hall in NYC.

It was an honor and a real treat for me.

Anytime someone is influenced by your guitar playing, it is touching, but
when I see what they have done with it, I am blown away. They sound like
several musicians at once and have the power of a full rock band.
Rodrigo’s playing is on a level of my favorite work by Al Di Meola, who was
a big early influence of mine that opened me up to jazz and world music.
Gabriela has developed a rhythm style that is one of the most unique I’ve
heard, at times sounding like an Afro-Cuban conga player, middle eastern
frame drummer or Indian tabla player while playing chords at the same time.

Together they have created a whole new sound that combines the energy of
metal with the grace of Spanish guitar. It is exciting to see it connecting
to so many people worldwide, via sold out tours and appearances on David
Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel etc…They are warm, special people. We hung
out for a lot of time before the show, and it feels as if I’ve known them
for a long time. I look forward to hanging/playing with them again. For
more info on them, please visit their website


ORANGE GOBLIN ‘Healing Through Fire’ Sanctuary (2007)

Orange Goblin have now signed to the big indie label Sanctuary for this their fifth studio album. They have been building a growing following here in the UK particularly after relentless gigging up and down the country. Sound wise they take the riffs of Sabbath and add this to straight for your throat metal tunes. ‘The Ballad of Solomon Eagle’ and ‘The Ale House Braves’ are no nonsense headbanging tunes. It is only towards the end of the album that the band start to spread their musical wings with an acoustic instrumental ‘Mortlake (Dead Winter)’ and the album closer, ‘Beginners Guide To Suicide’ which starts off like Led Zep and then ends up in a frenzy of guitar soloing with a nod to 70’s bands like the Groundhogs.
This band play to their strengths and are streets ahead of similar bands like Viking Skull or 3 Inches Of Blood as they have the songs and some mean guitar solos. Hopefully the band can now get heard by a much wider audience with the backing of a bigger label.

Jason Ritchie

CAGE ‘Hell Destroyer’ MTM (2007)

Cage will give Manowar a run for their money with this album as it features lots of spoken word interval pieces and some serious pounding metal music. With bands like this and their lyrics you will either love or loathe them, take for example ‘Christhammer’, which follows the spoken intro proclaiming this hammer to be the one that nailed Christ to the cross and is now the weapon to destroy hell! I love Manowar and Cage aren’t bad but for me there are too many similar sounding songs and they vocals of Sean Peck are very Rob Halford sounding at times, although no-one can match the mighty metal god! That said the title track and ‘Legion Of Demons’ are good, solid metal anthems. Musically they are very tight and the guitars unleash a metal fury and if you like Manowar, Primal Fear, HammerFall etc you should check this band out. But for me I will stick with Manowar…

Jason Ritchie

MANTICORA ‘The Black Circus Part 2 – Disclosure’ Locomotive Records (2007)

Prog metal bands seem to be springing out all over the place and Manticora are now on their fifth album. Sadly though this band are peddling metal by numbers as despite some fine musicianship they have forget the basics – a good, strong melody. It just lacks any hook to pull the listener in which is a shame as they can certainly play and the rhythm section is very tight.
Approach with caution although I am sure existing fans of the band will enjoy this new release.

Jason Ritchie

Monday, April 23, 2007

TNT’s new studio album The New Territory has the following track listing:
1. A Constitution, 2. Substitute, 3. Are You Blind?, 4. Golden Opportunity, 5. Something Special, 6. Now We're Talkin', 7. Wild Life, 8. Fountain of Love, 9. June, 10. Can't Go On Without, 11. 2 Seconds Away, 12. Milestone River, 13. Let's Party Mills. Japanese bonus tracks: Don't Come Too Near and Harley Davidson (Live).
No label has been announced as yet.

Former RATT bassist Juan Croucier has issued the following statement:
"It is with deep regret that I must inform you that there will not be a full reunion of the surviving RATT members.
"Considering the original band broke up fifteen years ago and there have been several questionable incarnations of it since then, my hope was maybe this time we could give the RATT fans what they have wanted all along; the original band. I made an exceptional and painstaking effort to work things out with the others, only to reach an impasse.
"There has not been a sincere attempt at redemption by my former band mates, for their insidious and sometimes malicious wrongdoings in the past, toward me. Even when they withdrew critical conditions to help facilitate a long-term reunion, I continued to hope, trying to stay focused on a positive outcome for everyone, especially the fans. I told them, in no uncertain terms, that if we could reach a point of reasonable compromise, in good faith, I would return to the band. To my dismay, near the end of negotiations, ulterior motives prevailed and I was eventually simply stonewalled. Therefore, since nothing has changed, I am left no other choice but to abstain from a reunion. I also made it clear that I was not doing this for the money. My attempt was motivated by my desire to instill credibility back into the name RATT, settle unfinished business and to give the RATT fans what I believe they would truly enjoy seeing and hearing the most. However, their ignorant and unscrupulous habits came into focus once again; a stark reminder of our tumultuous and dysfunctional past.
"Unfortunately, the biggest losers in this equation are the RATT fans, and for that I am truly very sorry. It was my sincere hope throughout several months of negotiations that many of the people that never got to see the original band could at least finally see the surviving members, delivering the bombastic assault of what has come to be known as Ratt N Roll.
"The band that will be opening for POISON this summer will be basically the same partially reformed band with Stephen [Pearcy] coming back to do vocals. I will be recording a follow-up to my LIQUID SUNDAY solo record and playing shows with my band."



To whom it may concern, I, Jeff LaBar am no longer the guitar player for the band, Naked Beggars. I have been fired, as a musician by the powers that be. I am however, still booking the band & my own project as well, until further notice. Feel free to contact me at for any booking inquiries regarding myself, Naked Beggars, Bellevue Suite, Evick, Skin Kandy, Wiser Time, Sex & Patriotism, 7 Days Away, Baptized by Fire, Goldylocks & even bands such as Lynam, Gibbs Bros. & Saosin.
Also, keep an ear open for my internet radio show with my lovely wife, Debby on We'll be spinning & ranting about the best rock music of the 70's & 80's with stories to coincide with every tune as well as turn you on to the best new young bands in the country!
As it stands right now, it will be late night on Fridays, right after the Hayden James' show. Check it & me out & we'll talk, J.L." / /

Magenta - "The Singles" will contain 14 tracks consisting of every song that has made up the band’s four EP/singles. 8 of these tracks have been specially re-recorded exclusively for this release, and none of them have been available on a full length CD before. Until the official release date of 21st May, the album will only be available at Magenta gigs and, very soon, from the Magenta shop at
Rob Reed explains the decision to release the album: "Most of these songs have been an important part of Magenta’s live set for several years now and they have evolved as the band has performed them live. We felt it was time to record and release definitive versions with our current line up, which includes Dan Fry on bass. We hope that fans of the band that have our three albums, but have not yet had the chance to hear these songs, will enjoy this equally important aspect of the band’s music. However, we hope that those that already have some of this material will appreciate how these songs have evolved over time and that you all love the new versions.“
Included on the CD is Night and Day (originally recorded with Annie Haslam) which features a complete lead vocal from Christina for the first time, plus Sunshine Saviour, a new piece adapted from Children of the Sun from the band’s first album Revolutions.
The three bonus tracks contain an additional 25 minutes of music including the full 14-minute director’s cut of "Pride".

Track listing:
Speechless (Single Version)
King Of The Skies
I'm Alive
Call Me
Sunshine Saviour
Lemminkainen's Lament
Night And Day
Essence Of Love (Instrumental)
Cold (2007 acoustic mix)

Bonus Tracks:
Opus 3 (Instrumental)
Pride (Director's Cut)
Sloth (String Mix)


DEVIN TOWNSEND presents Ziltoid the Omniscient Inside Out (2007)

Devin Townsend had prior to this all solo album, two outputs for his music the melodic metal of the excellent Devin Townsend Band and the crushing riffery of Strapping Young Lad (SYL), a band I have never warmed too. This time around Devin Townsend has produced a true solo album as he plays and composes all the music himself (including the computer software ‘Drumkit From Hell’!). A concept album and one that uses classic 50’s sci-fi imagery for the cover. The main theme though is to quote the man himself ‘one of no matter who you are or what you do you are existing, so just go to work’.
After a suitably grand intro and Ziltoid requesting the finest cup of black coffee on earth (this coffee is a recurring theme throughout the album) it is into ‘By Your Command’, with a brutal riff and one that fans of SYL will identify with straight away. To counteract all this bombast ‘Solar Winds’ sees Devin in more melodic mode and ‘Hyperdrive’ is classic Devin Townsend, crisp guitars and rums overlaid with layer sof vocals – sheer bliss. ‘The Greys’ melds his two worlds together nicely with melodic passages battling away with his more guttural voices.
The spoken word passages can grate after a few plays as you just want the music to kick in, case in point being the album closer ‘Tall late’ which is funny the first time but is one to skip on repeated plays.
Devin Townsend does it yet again producing a highly polished piece of melodic metal, prog metal or better still Dev metal. Be interesting to see after his totally solo approach whether he goes band to his band again. Buy with confidence and enjoy!

Jason Ritchie

EDGAR WINTER ‘Live at the Galaxy’ Track Records (2007)

This concert was recorded back in 2003 and has previously seen the light of day as a DVD released by Classic Pictures. A very lively set including an eighteen minute workout of ‘Tobacco Road’, which includes blues, jazz and some scat in it! ‘Frankenstein’ is most probably Winter’s most identifiable tune thanks to ‘Wayne’s World 2’ and again it is a marathon jam at seventeen minutes. Some great sax and guitar playing on ‘Show Your Love’ as well.
An enjoyable live release from a artist who covers blues, rock, soul and a bit of jazz with ease.

Jason Ritchie

BONFIRE ‘Live’ (DVD 2007)

Last year's Firefest III at Nottingham Rock City provides the occasion and venue for this DVD which marks the amazing 20 years anniversary of German melodic rockers Bonfire. With only a reasonably small stage, a basic stage set with only a logo backdrop and no gimmicks its always got to be the music and performance that win the viewer over and to be fair, with their 13 song set Bonfire do impress. Drawing from a number of their albums they open with 'Day 911', really hit their stride on the two Point Blank cuts 'Tony's Roulette' and especially 'Hard On Me' which sounds so much better live, and receive most audience reaction perhaps unsurprisingly for the four tracks culled from the 'Fireworks' release namely 'Never Mind', 'American Nights', Ready 4 Reaction' and perhaps their best known track 'Sweet Obsession' which again benefits from the harder live work out.

Benefiting from eight cameras and superb sound available in both PCM and 5.1 surround options its an admirable set however, due no doubt to it being a festival audience you can't help noticing that after the first five or six rows the remainder of the audience are in the main watching passively. Having said that the band are fairly static as well with the obvious exception being front man Claus Lessman who carries the show superbly with a display of genuine warmth and enthusiasm and its largely down to him that the live set gets the thumbs up.

Full marks to the band for offering up extensive bonus features to complement the show. The "Behind The Scenes at Firefest" footage serves a purpose but is largely filler as the handheld camera footage suffers from poor sound. Following the band to the stage and capturing the on-stage final bow from the bands perspective is a nice touch but it's most frustrating when, due to surrounding noise, a local radio backstage interview with Lessman is rendered near inaudible. The five promo videos are the big bonus and hark back to the major label days of the late 80s when Bonfire were regulars on MTV Europe and the Headbanger's Ball. 'Starin' Eyes', 'Sweet Obsession', 'Sleeping All Alone', 'Hard On Me' and 'Sword And Stone' are all featured and whilst definitely remnants of a different time they also serve to remind you just how good the band sound today with the versions included in the live segment. Finally a three song feature culled from German TV's famous Rockpalast series captures Bonfire live in 2002 performing the excellent 'Under Blue Skies', 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Proud Of My Country' in front of a partisan crowd, although disappointingly it does not share the sound quality of the 2006 set.

Overall an enjoyable release that has certainly had me digging through the CD boxes fishing out my old Bonfire discs that haven't been played in years, however I can't help thinking that maybe this would have been an even better and more fitting celebration if it had been a live show with the band headlining in their own country.

Bill Leslie

Singles bar

THE SESSIONS ‘What Is This Feeling’ *** the band’s debut single and one for lovers of soul meets indie rock. Neat guitar and vocals make for a decent tune although not a classic by any means.
GO CADENZA ‘All The Same’ ***1/2 have been looking in to the Coldplay/Keane book of songwriting as they have conjured up lush sounds and in ‘Hot Air Balloon’ they sound almost Floyd like, with its spacey sound and vocals.
SILVERFALL (EP) ***1/2 in vocalist Jenny bailey the band have a wonderful vocalist. She sounds like Stevie Nicks and the brooding piano led ‘Don’t Cry Michael’ could easily be a Fleetwood Mac number. Three very enjoyable songs and a band worth seeking out if you like Fleetwood Mac and more modern day bands like the Sundays.
DARKWATER ‘Easy Weakness’ *** female fronted hard rockers who sound like Garbage – that’s the band not how they sound! It is good riffed based rock but nothing new or outstanding. If you like female fronted rock then give them a try.

Jason Ritchie

HELLSONGS ‘Lounge’ (2007)

Now this one will set the cat amongst the pigeons! They play lounge versions of metal classics with a female vocalist, Harriet Ohlsson. Never have you heard Metallica’s ‘Seek & Destroy’ played like this! Mind you ‘Run To The Hills’ sounds very different and does work well in this format. I draw the line at ‘Breaking the Law’ though, as the handclaps just had me reaching for the skip button! The best is saved to the last though in the shape of Motorhead’s ‘Orgasmatron’, I mean can you ever imagine a Motorhead tune with piano and female backing vocals?
Like many novelty ideas eg dread Zeppelin the shelf-life is limited and many metal fans will detest this big time I am sure. But of you’re after something a bit different then Hellsongs prove that the test of any good song is that it can be played in any style.

Jason Ritchie

Friday, April 20, 2007

GRTR! is proud to be co-promoting the new album by 25 Yard Screamer, who have been compared to Rush and Marillion in reviews.
THUNDER’s Harry James will still in for drummer Jimmy Copley on MAGNUM’s upcoming tour due to Jimmy Copley being taken ill.

TESLA has set a June 5 release date for its "covers" album, entitled "Real to Reel". The two-disc set will contain 25 tracks, and will only be available at the band's live shows. Songs that are expected to appear on the CD include:

Seasons Of Wither (Aerosmith)
Is It My Body (Alice Cooper)
Not Fragile (Bachman Turner Overdrive)
Shooting Star (Bad Company)
War Pigs (Black Sabbath)
Bell Bottom Blues (Derek & The Dominoes)
Walk Away (James Gang)
Thank You (Led Zeppelin)
Saturday Night Special (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Make It Last (Montrose)
Do You (Feel Like We Do) (Peter Frampton)
Day Of The Eagle (Robin Trower)
I Want To Take You Higher (Sly & The Family Stone)
Ball Of Confusion (Temptations)
I've Got A Feeling (The Beatles)
Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones)
Street Fighting Man (Rolling Stones)
Bad Reputation (Thin Lizzy)
Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic)
Rock Bottom (UFO)
Stealin' (Uriah Heap)
Beer Drinkers, Hell Raisers (ZZ Top)

Vocalist Jeff Keith stated about upcoming collection, "We're going to call it 'Real 2 Reel' because we did it on two-inch tape, which nobody hardly ever does anymore. We wanted that warmth of the two-inch tape. That way it's real. Because with ProTools, let's face it — you can make anybody sound like anything. When it comes to tape, you're recording whatever you're laying down, so you've go to feel it. We kept it real-like-live. We would do two or three takes and go in and pick the best take, maybe fix a little part here and there. Of course all my vocals were scratch — and then when I would go in to do the vocals, I would do the same thing. Sing through it like three takes and pick the best one."

Guy/McCoy/Torme (GMT), which features in its ranks Irish guitarist Bernie Torme (GILLAN, OZZY OSBOURNE), has lined up the following dates:
Jul. 07, The Pitz, Milton Keynes, UK
Jul. 21, Riga Club, Southend, UK
Jul. 28, The Rock and Blues Custom Show, Derbyshire, UK
Aug. 11, Rainbow Spirit Enlightenment Fayre, Chepstow, UK
Sep. 29, Esquires, Bedford, UK
Nov. 02, Boardwalk, Sheffield, UK
Nov. 16, The Point, Cardiff, UK
Nov. 29, Carling Academy, Liverpool, UK
Dec. 01, Fibbers, York, UK

Guy/McCoy/Torme (GMT) recently entered the studio to begin recording its new album, tentatively due later in the year. The groups December 15, 2006 show at Bradford Gasworks was filmed for potential DVD release. Handling both guitar and vocals, Torme has partnered with his old compadre from Gillan, bassist John McCoy, who has worked with Joey Belladonna, Samson, and the UK Subs, among others; and drummer Robin Guy (whose credentials include Faith No More and Bruce Dickinson) to form the GMT three piece nucleus. Bernie Torme is known for heroically stepping in and saving the day for Ozzy Osbourne when Randy Rhoads tragically died. He also toured the world as the lead axeman in Gillan and formed Desperado with Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider and ex Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr, as well as fronting his own bands Eelectric Gypsies and Torme (featuring Phil Lewis of L.A. Guns/Girl fame).



Escape Music are pleased to announce the release date of the much anticipated new album from the boys of Mass on June 25.
Crack Of Dawn features the track list: 1. It's You 2. Crack Of Dawn 3. Someday 4. Empty Soul 5. Hello 6. Magic Train 7. Monkey Brain 8. Sweet Lady Jane 9. Seven Days (Bonus Track) 10. Leaving You 11. Castle 12. Who Am I.
Here is an exclusive full title track Crack Of Dawn (.wma file) for readers.
The new album is Produced and Mixed by Martin Kronlund at JM Recording Studio, Gothenburg, Sweden. Formed in 1980, this dedicated hard rock band from the Boston area has had numerous accomplishments. Most notably, they have sold over 100,000 albums worldwide.
Mass continues to have a strong following all over the United States and around the world. "Mass'" style continues to be driving hard rock with an edge and rocking melodies! Mass has performed with great acts such as Hanoi Rocks, Molly Hatchet, Winger, Stryper, Cheap Trick, Girlschool, Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush, Hurricane, Grim Reaper, Steven Stills and The Ramones along with many many others.
The band is Louis D'Augusta - Lead Vocals, Gene D'Itria - Guitars & Back up Vocals, Lou Spagnola - Bass & Back up Vocals, Joey “Vee” Vadala - Drums.

Escape Music through the very popular demands we are delighted to announce the release date of the un-released second album from Eyewitness titled Messiah Complex along with the self titled debut as a double CD digipak re-mastered and beautifully put together as always. Featuring: on lead vocals Todd Plant and on all guitars Ralph Santolla of the multi talented band Millennium.
Track List - Messiah Complex - 1 - Messiah Complex 2 - All We Are 3 - The Servant Has Become a Master 4 - Out Of Sight Out Of Mind 5 - Breaking Down The Walls 6 - Sea Of Sadness 7 - The Blade 8 - Guiding Hand 9 - Dreamscape 10 - Desert Rain 11 - I Think I Wanna Die Now 12 - Cries For Mercy.
Track list Eyewitness - 1 - The Killing Words 2 - Masters Of The World 3 - Still Half Alive 4 - Communication 5 - All I Wanted 6 - Far Away 7 - Dorian's Song 8 - Rising Sun 9 - Can't Stop 10 - Only You Can Rock me (UFO) 11 - Arms Of Love 12 - Life Goes On 13 - A Very Minor King.
The band is: J.Todd Plant - All Lead and Backing Vocals, Ralph Santolla - Guitars, Steve Hodson - Bass, Oliver Hanson - Drums.
The package will be released June 25.

Gutiarist Dave Kilminster has released his rock album Scarlet! Ten tracks feature Dave's mind bending guitar licks and stunning vocals with a vast range of styles and influence. Fans of Asia have always been kind to Dave, who has worked alongside John Wetton in his solo work, and Asia. Dave, with John and Carl Palmer was a founding member of Qango.
More recently, Dave helped form the Keith Emerson band with drummer Pete Riley and bass player Phil Williams, who also appear on Scarlet. Dave is currently on tour with Roger Waters' Dark Side of the Moon Tour. You can learn more at . Early reviews from fans and critics alike have been great! You'll want to give it a listen.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

VELVET REVOLVER will now release their new album on July 3rd.

U2 frontman Bono and guitarist the Edge will be providing the music and lyrics to a Broadway musical version of Spider-Man, reports

Cheap Trick has signed on to be the house band for a 40th anniversary celebration of the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The events will take place on August 10th and 11th at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and Cheap Trick will back a number of vocalists who will re-create the Sgt. Pepper's album, as well as other Beatles favorites. None of the singers have been announced yet for Sgt. Pepper's At 40... A Beatles Celebration, but the shows will also feature the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and conductor Edwin Outwater.


Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the release of the long awaited FREDERIKSEN / DENANDER album "Baptism By Fire" on June the 8th 2007!

Best know for his role as lead vocalist in TOTO's "Isolation", Dennis "Fergie" Frederiksen is undoubtedly one of the most gifted singers in Melodic Rock history. He left his mark also on timeless albums such as Trillion's debut, Le Roux "So Fired Up" and more recently singing on the awesome Mecca project.

Hot on the heels of that recording Fergie, took the chance to work with Swedish guitar player Tommy Denander on his very popular Radioactive albums. Tommy is a very clever and respected musician and producer who has worked with an amazing number of artists and played on an equally impressive number of records (with more than 1000 albums on his credit list that can boast such names as Paul Stanley, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Richard Marx, Desmond Child, TOTO and many more).

Getting to know each other better and better, the guys started to focus on the idea of working on a full album together with Tommy working on the songwriting and production and Fergie offering his incredible vocal and of course songwriting skills.

But of course when you have such amount of talent involved you can't help but call… even more talent to help! Fellow Frederiksen buddy, Ricky Phillips (with whom Fergie released the successful Frederiksen / Phillips album in 1995) of Styx, Jim Peterik of Pride of Lions and Tommy's songwriting partner on many albums Björn Lindbom – among others - offered their songwriting contributions to the project, while Michael Thompson (TRW), Steve Porcaro (Toto) appeared on guitars and keyboards respectively (completing the line-up on the record is NY session drummer Eric Z Daniels whose recent work include coming albums for Robin Beck, Radioactive and Jimi Jamison).

After 3 long years of work, now the wait is over and the album is ready to be unleashed. This is an unashamedly, straight ahead Melodic Rock album with plenty of magnificent hooks and brilliant musicianship. Everyone who's dreamed to listen again Fergie's voice singing on material that can live up to the levels of the Le Roux or Toto classics, can now safely add this incredible record to his collection.

Final tracklisting includes:
Let Him Go; Right Heart, Wrong Time; Silver Lining; Crossing Over; Written In Stone; Saving Grace; Baptism By Fire; Can't Get Enough; Never Try To Love Again; Dead End; Keep A Light On; Left With Nothing.

"Baptism By Fire" is a true Melodic Rock gem which just waits to be discovered on June 8th on Frontiers Records with a Japanese release on King Records.


Hyde Park Calling - Saturday 23rd to Sunday 24th June 2007

Main Stage
Saturday 23 June
Peter Gabriel + Crowded House + The Feeling + Ghosts

Sunday 24 June
Aerosmith + Chris Cornell + Jet + The Answer +McQueen

Second Stage
Saturday 23 June
Pete Yorn

Sunday 24 June
Joe Satriani

Third Stage
Saturday 23 June
Seth Lakeman
Sunday 24 June
Kids in Glass Houses
Enjoy Destroy



June 27 - Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
June 29 - Milwaukee, WI - Summerfest
June 30 - Tinley Park, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
July 3 - Bonner Springs, KS - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
July 4 - Maryland Heights, MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre St. Louis
July 6 - Noblesville, IN - Verizon Wireless Music Center
July 7 - Burgettstown, PA - Post-Gazette Pavilion
July 8 - Columbus, OH - Germain Amphitheater
July 11 - Walker, MN - Moondance Jam
July 13 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center
July 14 - Camden, NJ - Tweeter Center At The Waterfront
July 16 - Toronto, ONT - The Molson Amphitheatre
July 17 - Montreal, QUE - Bell Centre
July 19 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun
July 21 - Sarnia, ONT - Sarnia Bayfest
July 22 - Farwell, MI - Mountain Rock Music Festival
July 24 - Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 26 - Minot, ND - North Dakota St. Fair
July 28 - Cheyenne, WY - Frontier Park
August 11 - Mansfield, MA - Tweeter Center
August 12 - Hershey, PA - Hersheypark Amphitheatre
August 14 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon At Jones Beach Theater
August 15 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
August 17 - Bristow, VA - Nissan Pavilion
August 18 - Virginia Beach, VA - Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach
August 21 - Raleigh, NC - Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
August 22 - Charlotte, NC - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
August 24 - Tampa, FL - Ford Amphitheatre At State Fairgrounds
August 25 - Atlanta, GA - HiFi Buys Amphitheatre
August 26 - Louisville, KY - Kentucky State Fair
August 29 - Selma, TX - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
August 31 - The Woodlands, TX - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
September 1 - Dallas, TX - Smirnoff Music Centre
September 3 - Saint Paul, MN - Minnesota State Fair
September 5 - Oklahoma City, OK - Oklahoma City Zoo Amphitheatre
September 7 - West Valley City, UT - USANA Amphitheatre
September 8 - Grand Junction, CO - Rock Jam
September 9 - Englewood, CO - Coors Amphitheatre
September 12 - Ridgefield, WA - The Amphitheater At Clark County
September 14 - Marysville, CA - Sleep Train Amphitheatre
September 15 - Kelseyville, CA - Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa
September 16 - Reno, NV - Reno Events Center
September 18 - Concord, CA - Sleep Train Pavilion At Concord
September 20 - Phoenix, AZ - Cricket Pavilion
September 22 - Las Vegas, NV - Mandalay Bay Events Center
September 23 - Irvine, CA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
September 26 - Auburn, WA - White River Amphitheatre
September 27 - Vancouver, BC - General Motors Place
September 29 - Calgary, ALB - Pengrowth Saddledome
September 30 - Edmonton, ALB - Rexall Place


John 5 “The Devil Knows My Name” Mascot (Cat No M72172)

This 11 track instrumental album from Meatloaf collaborator, and former Marilyn Manson/current Rob Zombie guitarist, left me with mixed feelings.
Yes, the musicianship is without doubt. However, it’s a shame there no vocals as, at times, the songs become a bit like one long guitar solo. That said there is plenty of atmospheric openings and a variety of guitar work.
From the shredding and grinding of “The Werewolf of Westeria” (featuring Joe Satriani), to the haunting “July 31st (The Last Stand)” with it Alice Cooper style changes of mood- there are several highlights. These include the almost Metallica like “Bella Kiss”, a cover of “Welcome To The Jungle”- a cover that sounds like an open message to Axl Rose that John wanted the current GnR guitar spot!!! Then there is the bluesy “Young Thing” a track that sounds like the opening on any late 80’s Dave Lee Roth album.
Not bad for an instrumental album.

Tracks to Burn? “The Werewolf of Westeria”, “Welcome To The Jungle” & “Dead Art In Plainfield”.
Why Buy? Fans of John 5 will love this album.

Nikk Gunns 2 out of 5

Hatesphere “Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes” SPV

Danish thrash band Hatesphere have released their 5th album “Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes”- a 9 track master class in their given genre. Highlights include “The Stain”, “Drinking With The King Of The Dead” and “Floating”.

Tracks to Burn? “The Stain”, “Drinking With The King Of The Dead” and “Floating”
Why Buy? If you love your metal heavy and loud then this is the CD for you.

Nikk Gunns 2 out of 5

25 Yard Screamer “Cassandra” Get Ready To Rock (Cat No GRTR001)

25 Yard Screamer hail from South Wales and this, their third CD, is a great slice of modern prog rock- not far removed from Rush mixed with Marillion.
Opening track “Blacklight” weighs is at just over 19 minutes and is a subtle blend of melodic guitar and drum driven melodies and atmospheric interchanging segments. Whilst “Insomnia” is a shorter drum driven track.
The track that could easily be a single is “Boy In The Widow”, with it’s frantic opening giving way to a melodic gem of a song. Rounding of the album, and at 29 minutes, we have “Cassandra” this track is very much in the vein of “Blacklight” and tells a tale of Greek mythology and the gift of
prophecy- all good stuff.
A great 3rd album, especially for a band that was only formed in 2002.

Why Buy? Fans of Prog Rock cannot afford not to buy this future classic.

Nikk Gunns 4 out of 5

Crank County Daredevils “Livin’ In The Red” Bad Reputation

Opening with a cranking motorcycle this 9 track CD is a sleazy, raunchy slab of rock n roll that many a Hollywood band probably wish they had turned out themselves. To be honest this is one of the best albums that I have heard so far this year and there is not a weak track on it. If I had to separate the highlights then I would have to go for tracks “We Want It All”, “Love Me Like A Suicide”, “Livin’ In The Red” and “Back To Piss You Off”. The band look like mid 80’s Nikki Sixx crossed with the same era Guns N Roses- they sound even better with a sound reminiscent of the cream of late 80’s Hollywood bands.
This band will be huge, of that I have no doubt. Hopefully they will get over to Europe in the near future- until then buy this album to recapture the spirit of great times.

Tracks to Burn? “We Want It All”, “Love Me Like A Suicide”, “Livin’ In The Red” and “Back To Piss You Off”

Why Buy? Well, if you don’t want to buy this CD after reading the above, then it probably ain’t for you!!

Nikk Gunns 5 out of 5

MARTIE PETERS GROUP ‘Road To Salvation’ NL Distribution (2007)

Martie Peters (ex-Push) is back with a follow-up to his rather good 2005 debut album. He has worked as well with White Lion’s Mike Tramp and that band is the nearest in sound to the MPG. Take a listen to ‘Fallen’ or the excellent catchy single ‘Shallow’ for proof. Fans hankering after that classic White Lion sound will be in seventh heaven on here! Some good slow numbers with ‘For What It’s Worth’ hitting the spot with its soaring vocals, crashing guitar and layered harmonies. The title track really takes the album out in fine style, making for a very enjoyable melodic hard rock release. Top notch production as well thanks to Tommy Hansen’s involvement.

Jason Ritchie

TRAGIK ‘Poetic Justice’ Escape Music (2007)

With a band name like this you’ve got to have a good album otherwise reviewers will have a field day making up bad puns to go with their reviews. Luckily this album is a good hard rocker with lots of modern touches, mainly in the synths/programming. The main driving force is Phil Vincent, who has been involved melodic rock scene since the mid-90’s and has released nine solo albums to date. Joining him on here are guitarist Damian D’Ercole and drummer Dirk Phillips.
The opener ‘Show The World’ really hits the spot, a hook filled hard rocker although the next song ‘Never Stand Alone’ brings the tempo right down. A strange move as maybe another uptempo track would have been better suited here. Lighters aloft though for ‘One Of Us’, a classic melodic rock ballad. ‘Jessica’ is a heartfelt ballad that gives REO Speedwagon a run for their money! ‘Higher’ reminded me of Skin – big riffing hard rockers that stay in your head after one play. Good use of guitar and keys on this one. The only downside of the album is the amount of songs as maybe dropping a couple would make it a much tighter listen.
Good melodic hard rock from a underrated talent and worthy of your attention and ears!

Jason Ritchie

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen is to call her new solo album 'My Winter Storm'. Expect a release later in the year.

Britny Fox has finally decided to tour again, but unfortunately original members, guitarist Michael Kelly Smith and drummer Johnny Dee have other commitments at the moment and will not be part of this 2007 tour. We'd like it known that Michael and Johnny have not left the band, they just cannot commit to a tour this year. Ex-White Lion drummer, Greg D'Angelo will be filling in while Johnny Dee is absent, and guitarist, Tommy Krash will be filling in for Michael Kelly Smith. The band is poised for a long and productive tour, and it looks like the demand is high for a Britny Fox tour.
Britny Fox is considered by VH1 to be the 17th top 80's band, sandwiched between Kiss and the Scorpions, and finally feel the time is right for this to happen. There has been a demand for some time, but no supply. That is ending in a big way and the band is fresh, and finally hungry again, and more than ready to reclaim their place in the world of rock! According to no less an authority than Eddie Trunk himself, he said "This band epitomized the decade." Trunk also described the band as a "well oiled machine," one show will tell you all you need to know about this band, and why the reissues and albums keep coming out. Britny Fox is back, ready to rock, and is gonna shock!



July 12th – 15th 2007
Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk

Latitude Festival just gets bigger and better with new additions being added
daily to the already staggeringly impressive line-up.

Joining the abundance of talent is dapper Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr
who is enjoying a stint of solo success with the release of his debut album
‘Yours To Keep’. Released through Rough Trade, his music is under-stated yet
sentimental and heartfelt. His beautiful melodies and a sweet voice make Albert
Hammond Jr a welcomed addition to the Uncut Stage at Latitude.

Headlining the Uncut Stage on Saturday night are the fast-fingered, Dublin-based
Mexicans Rodrigo Y Gabriela. Their music is difficult to define, straddling both
world and rock, and often imbued with Hispanic, classical influences. But their
life-long passion for metal and classic rock make them mind-blowing acoustic
guitarists who really sound quite like no other.

Expanding the breadth of genres that the festival encompasses, Latitude is
please to announce that the BBC Award for World Music winners Tinariwen are
confirmed to play. Their unique fusion of Toureg folk songs with electric
guitars, has earned them the description ‘The Rolling Stones of the desert’ and
has made them a part of a musical heritage that includes early US bluesmen and
generations of desert singers and musicians.

Last year’s Latitude festival showcased some of the very best in up and coming
acts and this year is no different with bright new artists and bands playing
alongside more established names. Confirmed so far are 23 year old Irish born
folk/rock/jazz singer Wallis Bird and Manchester-based sultry singer songwriter
Karima Francis.

Headlining this year’s event on the main Obelisk Stage, Latitude are pleased to
announce Dublin born global phenomenon, Damien Rice for the Friday, the Damon
Albarn-fronted and super-cool The Good, The Bad And The Queen for Saturday, and
the epic, and euphoric Arcade Fire closing the festival on Sunday night.
Also confirmed for the festival so far are: Jarvis Cocker, Wilco, CSS, The
Rapture, The National, The Magic Numbers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Midlake,
Gotan Project, Patrick Wolf and Explosions In The Sky

But of course, Latitude is so much more than a music festival. Latitude can
boast the exclusive involvement of BAFTA with Screenings, Directors Q and A's
and Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger accompanied by a live orchestra; comic and
satirical stars from the world of Radio and TV including Alan Carr, Stewart Lee,
Mark Steel , Russell Howard and The Early Edition with Marcus Brigstocke and
Andre Vincent, a vast array of authors involved in the legendary Vox ‘n’ Roll
book readings and Robin Ince’s Book Club with guests Simon Munnery , Josie
Long and Jo Neary amongst many others. Royal Court Theatre and Nabokov Theatre
Company both bring exciting new shows to the Theatre Arena plus stellar poets
Roger McGough and John Hegley as well as Polar Bear and Luke Wright are all
confirmed for the Poetry Arena. And that’s not to mention Moulin Rouge Cabaret
at the Cabaret Tent and a headlining DJ set from Radio 1’s very own Rob Da Bank
at the In the Woods stage!

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, Fans and the Company,

I can finally bring you the band line up that will be shooting for the stars this year!
After much consideration I decided to take Chris Johnson on board as second guitarist to Frank. Chris has been playing in a similar position with 'Mostly Autumn' backing up Brian Josh on acoustic and electric guitars as well as keys and vocals. He's a great all rounder and I have not only seen him with 'MA' but also in his own covers band 'Hazard County' that's been playing in the Old White Swan in York on Friday nights, impressing me on both counts. Chris has also written material on the last 'MA' album "Heart Full of Sky", and with his other band 'The Evernauts' so his appointment at this juncture in time when we are still in writing mode is fortuitous.
He joined 'MA' last year and has received a warm welcome from fans and great reviews after taking over guitars when Liam Davison left the band. With Brian Josh embarking on a solo album this autumn and the 'MA' touring shutting down in June, Chris's availability escaped my notice until Heather suggested him for the missing position in my band. I asked Brian out of courtesy and he was more than willing to "loan" Chris out for the rest of the year. With Gavin Griffiths out on loan playing drums for 'MA' and Heather and Angela working with me as backing vocalists on the "13th Star" and the supporting tour, Chris's appointment takes us up to 4 out of 7 active members of 'Mostly Autumn' in my outfit this year. Obviously the question is raised as to when 'MA' go out on tour next year, what do I do for a band? I think we may have come up with the perfect solution 8-)
I am planning to go back to mainland Europe in Spring next year after the South American tour and with that in mind I have suggested to Brian Josh that his band come out and work with us on that leg giving him a great window on Europe, me a great support and a working band, the fans a great bill and the promoters something to get their teeth into. Everyone is very positive about this idea and if it comes off I think it will be an exciting and very positive project.

Steve Vantsis has been coming up with some great material for "13th Star" and we are ahead of the game at present with principal recording scheduled to begin on the 21st May with Calum Malcolm at the helm. We hit a rich seam about a week ago when we arranged "Manchmal". This has proven a key track on the album and the other material has clipped in around it and is making sense in terms of the overall concept and the structure sound-wise and stylistically.
At present the track listing and state of affairs is as follows:
"Circle Line" 90% lyric 90%
"Square Go" 100%
"Micklegate" 85% lyric 100%
"It Ain't Easy" 60% lyric 20%
"Arc of the Curve" 70% lyric 70%
"Manchmal" 100% lyric 80%
"Open Water" 60% lyric 30%
"Dark Star" 75% lyric 50%
"Going Home" 50% lyric 40%
"Where in the World" 75% lyric 60%
"13th Star" 100%

There are still perhaps one or two numbers still required but we may have enough already with the necessary links being found in the end sections of the existing songs. I now have two weeks "off" to work on the words while Steve works on the music sections down in Birmingham. We get together for the last writing session on the 29th April and have a week until the band arrive for pre-production on the 6th May for a week. After that it's a week "off" then into the recording here at the studio.

Dave "Squeeky" Stewart has been helping Steve V out with the drum end of the demos as Gavin has been away and as such the album has a distinctly heavier feel than previous projects. The demos have been played on my Planet Rock show every Friday 6-8pm and repeated Sunday 7-9pm and have been receiving great reviews. Elspeth has noticed a real upsurge in people buying back catalogue which is a good indicator of converts and new arrivals. It's a great sign and obviously the show is proving a success on all counts.
On the subject of merchandise the "Communion" album will be with us next Monday. All the pre orders have envelopes waiting so you should get them pretty quickly once the units arrive here at the Studio.

My "new" keyboard player Foss Paterson is currently out on tour with John Martyn. Try and catch the show as John is a bit special.
Frank Usher has been named in the past as John's favorite guitarist and worked with him in the late 80's together with other ex-members of my band including David Paton, John Giblin (bass on "Vigil" album), Neil Hay (bass at first solo gig in Lockerbie) and of course Foss on previous tours.

I saw the Lockerbie footage recently as I have been getting my vast Mini DV and HI8 video cassette library transferred across to DVD. I have been amassing the DVDs as the FishTV project will be coming at you in May with the first "proper" programme available in June. There is a free demo of material available to see on the web site in the coming weeks with some clips and interviews from the current studio project as well as some archive samples. If you answer the questionnaire on the web site you are then directed to the demo where you can see (amongst others) part of that Lockerbie gig which featured a band consisting of Mickey Simmonds, John Keeble (Spandau Ballet - drums), Hal Lindes (Dires Straits - gtr), Janick Gers (Iron Maiden - gtr), Bruce Watson (Big Country - gtr), Neil Hay, Frank Usher and Alison Jones on violin.
It was the very first solo gig and we debuted "State of Mind", "Big Wedge", "Family Business", "Internal Exile" as well as the first solo outing of the "Kayleigh"/"Lavender"/"Heart of Lothian" medley. Tracks from the show will be streamed on the programmes as the months go by.

I have had a film crew up last week and they conducted more interviews about the new material as well as historical anecdotes as we shot footage around the control room, Studio and the gardens. Steve and I were filmed writing and arranging "Square Go" and getting stuck in the "Pond Du Canard" with "Micklegate" :-X
As well as the film crew from the "official" footage suppliers I also had my friend Henk Templeman over from Holland shooting additional stock this weekend. Between the two sources I plan to put together a DVD to bring in as part of the "13th Star" mail order package that will be available from late July early August. It should provide an entire behind the scenes story of the making of the album and the entire creative process including first rehearsals in July. It's the first time I have managed to get cameras in and around an album project and, with the promise of a memorable piece of work, I am glad it is being documented.

Mark Wilkinson has been applying his "dark arts" and had been coming up with some very fine visuals as part of the ongoing teaser campaigns I want to instigate around the new album. "13th Star" will not be going to retail until January '08 and I want to attract as many people as possible to buying the album directly from us either from the mail order operation or on the '07 tour where it will be for sale on the merchandise stall.
It's another approach and after being a bit disheartened by the lack of promotion (again :-|) around the RTC project I do not see the point in giving this album to a third party at the outset when I can maximise myself on direct sales and - with the extra margins - supply a DVD extra which couldn't be provided within a "standard" release and accumulate a war chest to supply extra promotion around the album when we go out on tour in Spring '08. I am looking at revisiting the Dick Bros Record Co. model but with a slightly different and leaner set up.
I am hoping to be sending out stickers with the leader. The new header automatically directs people to the official Fish web site and as such is a great tool to entice newbies and the curious. The stickers are for windows or straightforward stick-ons and will only have the front cover image and web site address and album title. Once we get this going we can also supply cards and other promo items for fans to disperse.
Mark is working on the full inner cover artwork which involves a "traditional" airbrush meisterwork in the coming months for an overall booklet design which is very different from anything we have used before.

The star image you can already see on the website which I must thank Mo Warden for, as she has done a superlative job revamping and redesigning it for the new project. Thanks also to Tosh and Mark for their work on helping out with the glorious entrance to the portal!
I am really pleased with the "new" site and the band have found it inspiring as we get into the core of the album project. Everything is feeling very together! :-)

The November/December dates should be finalised soon and will be on the web site as soon as they are all confirmed. The warm up's are still not yet in place but I should have them booked by mid-May.

On the garden front it's horrendously busy and Steve V was out with me a couple of mornings during the writing sessions getting things in some semblance of order. Early potatoes (Epicures) are in as well as over 180 onions of three different varieties. Heather is still getting her stuff moved in but has been out planting the salad bed with green goodies. Since moving to Scotland she has become a carnivore and has even discussed eating "mystery meat" pies at Easter Road :-) Thankfully she is an avid gardener and we are spending quality time together weeding and tidying this week as Steve has returned to sort out his own jungle down in Worcs. Turns out Chris J has an allotment as well so there's scope for plenty garden talk in the back lounge of the bus. A sort of rock and roll travelling "Gardener's World"!

I'll get some pictures of the garden up to the site in the next few weeks so you get an idea of the fight on my hands. The "lower field" is the big headache just now as it has all been levelled in recent weeks and has had to be resown. The sprinkler movement is the curse of my life at the moment. I think I need to call up my ex-employers in Aylesbury, Hozelock, for some advice :-) Tired of traipsing across Somme-like fields to move the piddling sprinkler another 4 metres!

Apart from that it's all go here with wedding arrangements nearly together. Ironically the last thing we have to get is a band!! :-)
My main thing is to get the new kilt. After years of being told by my Dad that the Dicks were attached to the Macdonalds (I should re-word that :-D) I found out two weeks ago that our family actually ran with the Keith clan. TBH I am happier as they have an interesting history and are a bit more unique :-D Tartan's pretty cool too! My nephew James will actually be wearing my old Campbell kilt (Grannie was a Campbell). My best men Yatta is in a Welsh kilt, Steve is also kilted as will be Frank! First time for everything! :-)
Additions to the bridal party are Kenny Greenan my best mate in Haddington as usher, with his daughter Georgia ("wee Dod") as flower girl and his son Charlie as "mini me" Usher, Steve V's son Calvin (also kilted) as page boy. The other ushers are my brother in law Chris Gibbs, with his son James as a page boy or another mini me Usher, McKinty aka Angela Gordon's husband Mark (kilted) and "Hutch" (obviously kilted). All coming together!! TBH I am really looking forward to it all! :-)

But for now the garden calls and I have to get my next two programmes sorted for Planet Rock. The sun is shining!
Into the Blue!! :-)

lots of love
Onkel Fish xx

Official Fish site -
Mail order service -

3rd Astoria, London

24th O2 Arena, London

17th Mean Fiddler, London

13th Sept - Hotel California, Birkenhead
14th September - The Pitz, Milton Keynes
15th September - Fibbers, York
18th September - Islington Academy, London
20th September - Robin 2, Bilston
21st September - Corporation, Sheffield
22nd September - Rio's, Leeds
23rd September - Moses Gates, Bolton
25th September - Bootleggers, Kendal
26th September - PJ Molloys, Dunfermline
29th September - Doghouse, Dundee
30th September - Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
4th October - The Diamond, Mansfield
5th October - The Springhead, Hull

2 -- Wednesday -- Sioux Falls, SD -- Wash Pavillion of Arts & Science
3 -- Thursday -- Council Bluffs, IA -- Ameristar Casino
4 -- Friday -- Kansas City, MO -- Ameristar Casino
5 -- Saturday -- Minneapolis, MN -- Trocadero's
23 -- Wednesday -- Fresno, CA -- Table Mountain Casino (Friant)
25 -- Friday -- Stateline, NV -- Harrah's
26 -- Saturday -- Las Vegas, NV -- Boulder Station
1 -- Friday -- Jackpot, NV -- Cactus Pete's USA
2 -- Saturday -- Jackpot, NV -- Cactus Pete's USA
8 -- Friday -- Agoura Hills, CA -- Canyon Club USA
9 -- Friday -- Santa Ana -- The Galaxy USA
15 -- Friday -- Saratoga, CA -- Mountain Winery USA *
16 -- Saturday -- Jacksonville, OR -- Britt Festival **
14 -- Saturday -- Walker, MN -- Moondance Jam
24 -- Tuesday -- New York, NY -- B.B. Kings (2 shows!!)
More Dates To Be Added!
* -- Appearing with Three Dog Night ** -- Appearing with Quarterflash

Oct. 09 - Houston, TX @ The Meridian (supporting SONATA ARCTICA)
Oct. 10 - San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit (supporting FINNTROLL)
Oct. 12 - Cedar Falls, IA @ The Reverb
Oct. 13 - St Paul, MN @ Station 4
Oct. 14 - Mokena, IL @ Pearl Room (supporting OVERKILL)
Oct. 15 - Cleveland, OH @ Peabody's Down Under
Oct. 16 - Toronto, ON @ Opera House
Oct. 17 - Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
Oct. 18 - Montreal, QUE @ Club Soda
Oct. 19 - Bedford, NH @ Marks Place
Oct. 20 - Springfield, VA @ Jaxx
Oct. 21 - New York, NY @ B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (supporting OVERKILL)


VARIOUS ‘Guitar Greats Volume One’ Magna Carta (2007)

An eleven track compilation selected from previously released albums plus one previously unreleased track featuring Steve Stevens, Terry Bozzio and Tony Levin. Picks of the album are ‘Fate Speaks’ by the Explorer’s Club, where Dream Theater’s John Petrucci lets fly and a cover of Rush’s ‘Analog Kid’ with great White’s Jack Russell on vocals and Michael Romeo doing his best Alex Lifeson impression. However whoever roped in Seb Bach on vocals for another Rush cover ‘Working Man’ must have been under the influence at the time! Even Jake E Lee’s guitar can’t save this abomination. Worth getting as well to hear ‘Western Sabbath stomp’ by the Alex Skolnick Trio who really produce a veritable shredfest. The slow burning ‘Things Ain’t What They Used To Be’ featuring Glenn Hughes is worth a listen as well, originally released on Niacin’s ‘Deep’ album and Toto’s Steve Lukather plays guitar on this one.
A good, solid compilation with three tracks coming of the Rush tribute album ‘Working Man’ and fans of the guitarists/vocalists featured on here should certainly give this a go.

Jason Ritchie

DAYDREAMER 'Daydreamer' Escape Music (2007)

It's interesting when a band can bring to mind so many others acts yet still manage to produce something that sounds pretty unique however that's exactly the situation with this debut album from Swiss rock band 'Daydreamer'.
The most obvious comparison to draw is that smooth traditional metal of Headless Cross era Black Sabbath displayed in the likes of strong opening track, the strangely titled 'I Am F...', 'Glass Prison' and the excellent 'Slaves Of Our Fantasy' whilst I defy anyone to listen to the superb 'Guardian Angel' without thinking of 'St.Elmo's Fire' during the chorus! Containing also some impressive heavier power metal moments, a couple of ballads of which 'Hand In Hand' would grace a Scorpions album and two of the finest tracks I've heard this year in the epic melodic rock sheen of 'Dreamtale' and the amazing 'You Better Run' which employs a piano fronted build up in a similar way to Van Halen's Right Now and is potentially the song that could take the band to a wider audience.
Lyrically thoughtful even if the vocals are a little accented at times, and instrumentally delivered with impressive ability throughout its a very polished although occasionally unconventional modern hard rock release that offers something a little different and is well worth hearing.

Bill Leslie