Bex Rocks! 3 Hours of commercial-free loudness from 7pm BST / 8pm CET / 2pm EDT
Tune in to ‘The Classic Rock Show’ tonight (1st Oct) from 7pm (BST) and hear some classics from Black Sabbath (x2), Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Jefferson Starship, Mr Big, Saxon, Led Zeppelin, The Black Crowes, Alice In Chains, Bon Jovi, Danger Danger, Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch.
Plus, we have some new music from this year: X-Ray Visions by Clutch from their forthcoming album Psychic Warfare (out Oct 2), Greek bluesmen The Zilla Project, Chantel McGregor, Guy Bailey’s new band Thirsty, Biters, Huntress, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown and Motor Sister.
See you later. Cheers!
AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen (the birthday boy), John Mellancamp, Judas Priest, two from Queensryche, Saxon, Alice Cooper, Black Label Society, Europe, Johnny Winter, Mountain, Electric Light Orchestra, Ozzy Osbourne, Extreme to name a few. Plus new music from David Gilmour, The Jokers, Graveyard, Biters, The Palace Of The King, Mirror, The Shrine, Amberian Dawn and Moonspell.
All from 7pm BST. TuneIn: http://ow.ly/Qi6Rc Hook up with other listeners via our Facebook Group!
See you later. Cheers!
#INTERVIEW New Years Day’s Ashley Costello talks Malevolence, songwriting, recording, touring and board games!
2015 has already been a monstrously significant year for the band New Years Day. It saw them play this year’s Van Warped Tour, as well as frontwoman Ash Costello hosting the Alternative Press Music Awards Red Carpet and taking an active role as a spokesperson for PETA.
Malevolence is the title of their forthcoming album, produced by Erik Ron (Escape The Fate, The Word Alive, Motionless In White, Set It Off) and is the band’s first release on Another Century Records. New Years Day will be heading over to the UK as tour support for Motionless In White, beginning November 23rd in Belfast.
So impressed were we with the single ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ when we played the track on ‘The Classic Rock Show’ the other week, we got in touch with Ash Costello and had a chat about all things New Years Day.
TCRS: New Year’s Day, formed ten years ago?
Ash: Well, if you think about just ten years. Yeah, that sounds like a long time, but then again you have to also realize that all the Wikipedia…How do I say this(?), it looks at our high school years and counts that. You know, I feel like the first five years don’t really count because we were children. I mean we were a band, but we were kids and we didn’t know what we were doing at all. So I don’t really count that. But New Year’s Day as an adult got serious and became a real band I’d say was about five years ago…2010.
Ash: Well, I mean that couldn’t gone any better we weren’t originally put on Main Stage, we were put on the stage below that. But, we got put on Main Stage all the time. And you know we got put on Main Stage more than any other band that was moved around and it just went so well. You know our crowds were bigger we expected. It was just a really good place to be this summer. You know, we really felt like we’re actually making a difference here. You know we’re doing the things we set out to do and it feels like for the first time we’re seeing them happen in front of our eyes.
TCRS: What were the highlights for you?
Ash: Every time we got moved up to Main Stage was a highlight for sure.
TCRS: How did you entertain yourself in between shows?
Ash: We play a lot of drinking games [Laughs]. Yeah, we’ve done Warped Tour before so we kinda knew what to bring, what to expect! Like, okay, we need to be the band that brings the table with the chairs and the tent so we can all hang out and invite other bands. We have board games and ping-pong tournaments and so we brought all kinds of board games and drinking games and tables and chairs and coolers. And we’d set up behind our trailer. and just invite other bands. We’d always have something to do to Escape the Fate or Memphis May Fire or Pvris; we’d just play games all day!
TCRS: So that experience from the previous tour was put to good use this time round?
Ash: Yeah. I learned, you need a tent to sit under, you need chairs to sit on and you need a table and the rest just kind of brings itself. We didn’t think of it last time, so we were all just burning in the sun, sitting on the ground.
Ash: Yeah, we were actually signed to a subsidiary of Century Media before called Hollywood Waste Records. When they abolished that they really didn’t take any bands that were on it. Ss we had one record that we put out that was on your own, but then I guess what had happened was the owner heard the record and was like “Oh my gosh! This is so good. What do we do with this?” And we had to tell him, “Oh you guys dropped us” and he was like “What?”. They re-signed us basically and that’s pretty much what happened there. I’m really glad that we did because we were having offers come in from other labels. I’m just glad we went back to Century because they honestly they feel like family. They really do.
TCRS: What made you all decide to go back into the studio?
Ash: It was about that time. It had been about two years since our last full length. So it’s just about that time and we were about to head on warped tour and generally before you leave for a big tour like that you want to have an album before you embark on that busy schedule. Otherwise you just get sucked into the schedule and pretty soon there’s no time. We were still recording when we started Warped Tour and I had to fly home to fly home on the days of to finish the album. So it was a pretty hectic time and it was the only time we had to do it.
TCRS: And this time your back working with Eric Ron who produced your previous album Victim To Villain. He’s been such a positive influence on the band, right?
Ash: Oh yeah. I mean he’s a genius you know. That’s why everyone wants to work with him. He’s a goddamn genius that guy! He took a liking to New Year’s Day, he also manages us and we’re the only band that he manages. And he’s like a brother to me now and has influenced me in a way or he’s made me better. He’s made me a better front-person, he made me a better vocalist, a better songwriter, better marketing, just better at everything. He has had a very positive influence and it’s really hard to find people because even though we have Eric Ron, we still branch out and work with songwriters. We are so different and so unique; I have such a specific vision that it’s very hard to find people that understand that. Eric Ron has always understood it from the get go, so that’s why we tend to stick with the people we love, that we call family and we’re very rarely branch out from that.
Ash: Oh god. I hate songwriting. I’ll just be honest I hate it. It’s the worst for me because it’s, you know, you have to go back and find the perfect way to say some sort of hellish way to say some sort of hellish pain you went through so that other people can understand it and relate to it. It’s generally not a very fun process for me. That’s why it takes me a long time to write a song, but in a way that’s a good thing because I truly care about what I’m saying. I truly think about how the person will relate and I really think about how I’m saying what I’m saying. You know, I put a lot of thought into it and with Malevolence the songs are the most honestly, purely from the heart lyrics I’ve ever done and that’s what makes me the most proud of this album. I think people are really going to relate to it.
TCRS: We played Kill Or Be Killed on the show just the other week. It sounds tremendous. Tell us about that song.
Ash: Kill Or Be Killed is about how I was pushed around a lot in the beginning and still am sometimes in the music industry, because I’m a girl. I think that doesn’t help any and I tend to get knocked around. I hit a point a year ago and it was like I’m gonna push back from now on and I don’t care who doesn’t like me. And I don’t care who gets mad or who says bad thing about my back. Like “Oh, she’s a Diva. Or she’s a this, that and the other”, I just know what I want and I’m gonna fight for that and so that’s where the saying, you know, Kill Or Be Killed…backs against the wall, bloods gonna spill…! While I was recording some of the songs, I would get emotional and cry. And I know it sounds like so cheesy and cliche, but I think if you’re not feeling what you’re writing to that degree, I would sit back and go, well, I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t push myself hard enough. I didn’t dig down deep enough and I need to go back and revisit it and try harder. ‘Cause I know that everyone is different. I know that for me, that’s the standard I have for myself.
TCRS: What’s different about this album compared with your previous releases?
Ash: I think with the previous releases, I had a vision of what I wanted to sound like. You know, who is to say that you’re gonna achieve that the first attempt out the gate? And I feel like Victim to Villian was a great record and it came very close, but it still wasn’t enough for me. So with this album, although I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied, this is a lot closer to the way I envisioned New Year’s Day sounding; it’s much heavier, much more emotional, a lot darker. So I feel like this is New Year’s Day growing up in a way. You’re always learning and I don’t feel like on Victim To Villain I was as honest as I am in Malevolence. So I kind of go there a little bit more, emotionally, you know?
Ash: Yeah, yeah. Personally, I’d had a really hard year. I mean New Year’s Day was starting to take off and I really, for the first time, had never dealt with negativity in my life. For the first time, I was starting to see what losing a friend to drugs was like. Or losing a friend to money. Like disagreeing on money and losing a friend. Or, you know, watching people get greedy because they see what you have. You know people using you. People using you then stabbing you in the back. Being cheated by someone that I’ve been dating for a very long time. I mean just pretty much all the nastiest things you can of happened this year and I had to become stronger than all of it. And so the album, the reason it’s called Malevolence, is because I really identify with the character Maleficent. You know she started out as a pure person, but kind of the wrongdoings of the world turned her into this evil, vengeful, powerful being. And I just felt I related to that and so that’s pretty much what the album is about.
TCRS: What’s been the reaction to the new songs out on the road?
Ash: I’ve never had such a good reaction to new songs, in my life! Normally, there’s at least someone who’s like “Ah, I liked your old stuff better” or “I don’t get it”. You know there’s always someone, but even YouTube, where it’s like the worst of the worst comments ever, I’ve not found anything negative. You know people are just really loving it and so I was a little worried at first but now I’m like “Fuck! Okay. Let’s roll with this. This is great!”
TCRS: You’re heading over to the U.K. to tour with Motionless In White.
Ash: Yeah! I’m so excited. We’re going to share a bus. It’s going to be all nothing but board games [laughs]. I’m so excited.
TCRS: Do you have any particular favorite board games?
Ash: Yes! Yeah, there’s two that we play. No, there’s three that we play constantly and one is called Geek Out, which actually gets us into serious fights because what you do is you pick up a card and it’ll say “Name six planets from Star Wars”. Or “Name seven comic book super villains”, and you’ll get into arguments with your friend and legitimately get pissed off. So we play that a lot. Like I’m talking hours! And then we play Pictionary and we play…oh what’s the other one? Oh, Scategories is our big one. Yeah. We get pretty serious. And then Scene It because we’re all really into movies. We play Scene It a lot. it’s like a movie trivia game.
TCRS: It won’t be your first time over in the U.K. What are you looking forward to most on this tour?
Ash: Yeah, last time out was with Escape the Fate which was our first time, they’re also our best friends. So I mean talk about the funnest time of my life. I mean honestly like I get butterflies when I think about how much fun it was. And then we came back for a week to do the Metal Hammer Awards thing. So this will be our second real tour but the third time we’ve been over. As for waht we’re looking forward to most, oh, the sightseeing! We get super into sightseeing!
TCRS: What message do you have for your fans out there for coming to see you this time?
Ash: Y’all better bring the pain. We demand a lot of audience participation. So there’s no free rides in our shows. You have to crowd surf. You have to circle pit. You have to do these things or you’re just going to get a shoe in your face. Just prepare yourself.
TCRS: And as for your album?
Ash: I would just like everyone to have an open mind and to let out the little angry monster we keep inside all of us. And usually quiet up and kind of shut down. I would like people to listen to it and kind of release that monster for a little bit.
New Years Day supporting ‘MOTIONLESS IN WHITE’ UK Tour:
23 NOV Belfast (IRL) Mandela Hall
24 NOV Dublin (IRL) Academy
26 NOV Manchester – Club Academy
27 NOV Leeds – Stylus
28 NOV Glasgow (SCO) – Garage
29 NOV Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
01 DEC Birmingham – Asylum
02 DEC Bristol – The Fleece
03 DEC Southampton – 1865
04 DEC London – Underworld
06 DEC London – Underworld
The new album from New Years Day ‘Malevolence’ is out on Another Century October 2nd. We dig ’em and we think you will too.
#INTERVIEW Joel Hoekstra on ‘Snake and recording with a stellar line-up for his new album ‘Dying To Live’
Joel Hoekstra has announced the release of his new melodic hard rock studio album “Dying To Live” from his electrifying new side project, Joel Hoekstra’s 13. Hoekstra is best known to rock fans as the current guitarist for Whitesnake, and also known for his work with Night Ranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra and the show Rock of Ages.
Dying To Live focuses on struggles, potential pitfalls and the art of overcoming obstacles in life to “finally arrive where we are meant to be”. Featuring an all-star cast of rockers including Jeff Scott Soto (vocals), Russell Allen (vocals), Tony Franklin (bass), Vinny Appice (drums), and Derek Sherinian (keyboards), it will be available via Frontiers Music SRL on Friday, October 16. Hoekstra took charge of the creative process by handling the production, song writing and arranging (music and lyrics).
Dying To Live was conceived before Hoekstra joined Whitesnake. David Coverdale gave the album his full blessing. Excited how the new album turned out, Hoekstra is looking forward to the overall reaction from fans and media. The Classic Rock Show recently caught up with him for a chat:
Joel: It’s been great! I mean my experience with Whitesnake so far has been awesome. The honeymoon hasn’t ended yet. I’m still really enjoying working with David. The opening leg of the tour here in the States went really fantastic. There wasn’t a single bad review. The band has great chemistry and has a great line up right now with Tommy Aldridge and Reb Beach, of course David and our bass player Michael Devin and we’ve got this kick ass keyboard player from Italy name Michele Luppi, who just sings amazing background vocals and is a great guy. So yeah, we’ve been having a great time and the tour’s gone great. It was a lot of fun making the Purple album…all’s good!
TCRS: And you’ve been touring with a band from the British Isles, The Answer, a band that’s hugely popular on The Classic Rock Show. Tell us about how that worked out.
Joel: Those guys kick ass man. What a great rock band. They’re just a delight to work with, honestly man. They just come in, there’s no Rock-Star attitude. No pretentiousness, nothing weird happening, just a bunch of good guys who love to rock out and kick ass. They really won over all the crowds. I just wish those guys nothing but the best moving forward. I think they are a great band and I think they’ve got a bright future.
TCRS: You’re gonna be hitting the UK later this year. Touring with Def Leppard. Black Star Riders are also on the bill. What’s not to like?
Joel: Yeah absolutely! Sounds like a solid night of rock to me, right?!
TCRS: Back to the present, you’ve released a handful of solos up to this point, which offer the listener quite an insight into the various guitar styles of yours, but you’ve now about to release a fully fledged self-produced album as Joel Hoekstra 13 called ‘Dying To Live’. Let me begin by offering up a massive high five as it’s a kick-ass album, one which is most definitely another landmark in your established career.
Joel: Well, thank you very much. I think it’s been a real labor of love for me; it was a struggle with everybody’s schedules and everything. But it was years ago I put out three primarily instrumental guitar records that kinda just showcased my playing ability and ‘Dying To Live’ is a record that people have been asking me to do now for years. Friends that have followed me with Night Ranger or Trans Siberian Orchestra or the show Rock of Ages and now Whitesnake, everybody said how come you don’t put out an album just like cool rock songs and blah blah blah. And it sounded like a great idea, I just didn’t necessarily always have the time. But this is finally that album! For me it just was really cool, I got to do all the writing, all the lyrics. I feel very emotionally connected to it and I basically called in favors from a lots of my favorites in the music business. I didn’t really set out to have an all-star band thing, but I really just picked out my favorite guys. And they were all cool enough to play me on this for me and I can’t thank them enough. I think the end result it’s melodic hard rock a genre I’m known for these days or best known for and I would describe the album as Dio-ish at its heaviest and Foreigner-ish at its lightest.
TCRS: You’ve brought together, as you mentioned, a bunch of musicians and they’ve certainly delivered for you in their performances. The performances are simply stellar. Tell us about who appears alongside you. J
Joel: Yeah, well it all started with Tony Franklin from Blue Murder and The Firm, a great bass player. We had just worked on another project the other called VHF that was completely different than this, like psychedelic instrumental rock you know. So uhm I asked Tony hey man lets just do a rock album. Lets just write some cool vocals songs and he was into it and I said what drummer would you want to use. And he said Vinny Appice would be killer and I was like that would be super cool man. It’s like instantly having a Black Sabbath type or Dio-ish rhythm section sounded very appealing to me. And then when it came time to find a singer Russell Allen from Symphony X and Adrenaline Mob had just signed up to do the Trans Siberian Orchestra tour that I do. Now that guy is just freakin’ killer! I have got to be honest, I hadn’t really listened to Symphony X and I didn’t know what I was missing with this guy. He’s one of the best singers in rock and so I got him on the front half of the album and I called in a favour from Jeff Scott Soto, who most people know, obviously he’s one of the best singers out there, but he’s also a nice enough guy to agree to sing background on tracks for me, just cause we’re friends and we go way back. He’s obviously overqualified for such a duty but he was so great and I was like “dude, you got to sing the back half of the album, we’re going to have two singers on this”. I mean just too great to have two of the best singers in Rock today on this thing. So Jeff sang on it and then I still felt that after leering a lot of guitars there was room for some textures and to fill the gaps though. I thought it still needs keyboards and I decided to start at the top and ask Derek Sherinian if he was willing to play on it and he was amazingly enough despite the fact Derek is overqualified too; there’s only, I think, two solos for him on the album and so a lot of it was really tasteful playing on his part. I just can’t thank these guys enough for helping bring these songs to life and I think we did something cool in avoiding the whole wank-age thing there’s no real long guitar solo, no big drum solos or bass solos or anything of that nature. It was just cool songs, tastefully played by great musicians!
TCRS: Sounds like it was a fun project?
Joel: It certainly it was a lot of fun. It was a challenge to make with everybody’s schedules and I wasn’t exactly sure throughout the process what it was going to be. Like I said in the early going I was kind of interested in having co writers on it and with everybody’s schedules I just thought man i need to move this along. I’m just going to do all the writing. And so it kind of became what it was as it went. You know which was fun. It was fun to watch it grow and I’m very very excited about the album. Very proud about how it came out and i hope people will give it a shot.
TCRS: What was it like for you being producing your own work and what was, what did you go, what did you do in pre-production with the other musicians and Engineers?
Joel: Well, the way I did it for the most part on this was I would lay down scratch guitar to a click and I would write the vocal melodies. And in most cases when I write I would write a song chorus out. Like I’ll write a cool chorus with words and everything and then I’ll just kinda come up with the melodies for the time being for the verse until i can you know have proper time to think of lyrics and what not. So I guess to cut to the chase lay down scratch guitars with my guitar also playing the vocal melodies and harmonies. And then that would go to Vinny Appice he would lay down his stuff. Tony played his parts to Vinny and scratch guitars and from there everything else just kinda fell into place basically at the same time from there. My real guitars went on, vocals went on, background vocals and keyboards. So all that kind of stuff would happen simultaneously. That’s the general gist of how it all got done. And my production style with the guys all of them was pretty much to let do their thing with it and say hey look here’s the frame work but play the way you want to place so Vinny Appice in particular took a bunch of these songs in completely different directions than I would have expected but that’s part of the fun because then you have to go with him and take the song in that direction. I just respond that the best production style let people play the way they would play and not micromanage that stuff. And then just your job is to roll with them on it.
TCRS: I was gonna say you’ve recorded with some of the best producers in the business over the years. Who do you look up to in getting the very best out of the artiste in this project and how did that help you when you went about recording?
Joel: Ah man, I honestly don’t have an answer in terms of like a producer necessarily that i look up to. I mean David was great to work with on the Purple album with that in terms of getting his players to put their stamp on it. He wasn’t stressed and didn’t worry despite the fact that we were recording these deep purple song that we obviously were going to face a lot of scrutiny and so he was great and chill about that and I just tried to be that way with this whole thing in terms of what people would play and then rolling with it. And I mean nowadays in the end you have pro-tools don’t you? So its like if anything really needs to be changed you could probably change it but its a lot of fun to go with what people come up with.
TCRS: What have been the challenges you know I mentioned the scheduling challenges that putting it together what were the challenges for you as you progress in completing the album?
Joel: Well a lot of it for me it was coming down to crunch time while I was just out with Whitesnake. So that was difficult! A lot of times I’m getting through a day off or I just feel like chilling but I spent 12 hours not being there. A lot of the stuff nowadays is done obviously digitally as i getting mixes from the mix engineer. He’s sending over links to them I listen give notes and type them back to them. In the old days I would have been sitting in the studio telling them exactly what I wanted, which I think moves things along a little bit. So a lot of it is just the challenge of dealing with the technological end of the way things get done these days. Which I mean in a way it speeds it along, because i wouldn’t have been able to probably do the mixes for the entire time I was out with the tour but it also slows down the process of getting changing some of the things that you want to change. If that makes sense. TCRS: How easy was it for you to put the album to bed, so to speak?
Joel: I still haven’t, man. I struggle with stuff like that. Its really difficult for me to listen to without wanting to change things. And I probably with stay that way the rest of my life when i hear the album honestly. I guess its just who I am. I think I’m proud of it and everything. I really am, but I just always hear, I hear stuff that probably wouldn’t matter to many people and me i just feel like changing. And in the end you abandon mixes right? Isn’t that the common phrase these days? You never really finish a mix you abandon it.
TCRS: The songs will be personal Joel to you, of course, having written all of them, but are there some that are very close and personal. And if so, which would you like to tell us a little bit more about?
Joel: I don’t know that there is any one in particular, but the album kinda it has a theme. The album is essentially about overcoming obstacles in your life till you are finally meant to be. I think all off us are kinda struggling with some things in our lives to be the person we want to be whether its our relationship at home, or whatever a vice or some people are overeating. Some people aren’t exercising. Whatever. All the things you want to do to get where you want to be and be the person you want to be. And so a lot of the songs on the album are sung from the standpoint of those obstacles and a lot of the songs are about overcoming them or singing anthems to overcome them. So that’s the general theme. Just the struggles in life and hence the title “Dying To Live” which is basically about doing whatever you can to be where you want to be.
TCRS: Are there any designs on a few more videos to accompany the album tracks?
Joel: Yeah, with the first one I’m not sure, I second guessed whether that should have just been a static screen or a lyric video. I felt like giving people some kind of visual to accompany was better than a static screen, but in the end sometimes you get criticized for the visual that’s there. So you go “Well was that a good idea or not?” I’m kinda learning as I go with this stuff, but they are gonna be a couple videos with the musicians in them coming. And I have to make decisions on a couple more as to what to release them as just audio, or with lyric videos.
TCRS: So, is Joel Hoekstra’s 13 something that we’re gonna be seeing more of in future?
Joel: Well, I think the sky would be the limit for this. I mean obviously for me this doesn’t sound like a solo album. It doesn’t sound like a guitar album. You’d kinda be expecting to hear a ton of solos and a ton of fancy guitar work. When really to me this just sounds very band-ish, but it’s not to call it a band to those guys. I did all the writing and it’s very much my music, so I thought a project name was the most appropriate thing for now – Joel Hoekstra 13. Obviously, if this was successful and it sure would be fun to hear what this lineup would come up with everybody writing together and collaborating on it as well. Potentially turning it into that, I’d certainly be open to that idea and I’m open to supporting it anyway possible with any form of live shows should they be able to be organized.
TCRS: Congratulations on the album, once again Joel. Its a stellar album with a stellar lineup and you should be rightly proud of what you’ve achieved.
Joel: Thank you I really appreciate that. Its very early in the game so I haven’t much feedback from people yet. So its good to hear man, it really is.
TCRS: Before we go, what would you like to say to your fans out there? Joel: Oh, well, I kinda come from a pretty modest upbringing and I feel pretty lucky to be as far into the game as I am here with this whole thing. So, I just appreciate the support that everyone if giving me. I appreciate the opportunity to make a living laying rock guitar and I hope people come along for the ride. And let’s just see where this all goes.
Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) – Guitars, Backing Vocals Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen) – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob, Symphony X) – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) – Drums Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) – Bass
Special Guest Musicians: Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion) – Keyboards Chloe Lowery (Trans Siberian Orchestra) – Vocals Toby Hitchcock (Pride of Lions) – Additional Backing Vocals Charlie Zeleny (Joe Lynn Turner) – Percussion Dave Eggar (Amy Lee, Coldplay) – Cello
Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. We really like Joel Hoekstra’s album ‘Dying To Live’ and recommend it to anyone who likes melodic hard rock. Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk Twitter: @ClassicRockShow Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow
Against the formidable obstacles of an ever-changing cultural landscape, the rise and fall of various musical trends, and the near collapse of the record industry itself, Queensrÿche secured a triumphant legacy as one of hard rock’s most respected and celebrated acts, selling 30 million albums around the world across a 30-plus-year career.
The much-anticipated new offering, ‘Condition Hüman’, sees LaTorre deliver the performance of a lifetime on what is now his sophomore recording effort with the band. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary) in the band’s native Washington, Condition Hüman is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.
The band’s name is uttered in the same breath as many of the groups they looked to as influences and others who arose as peers. Queensrÿche built a dedicated legion of fans traveling the globe on tour with fellow rock giants like Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard. In recent years, they’ve consistently delivered high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen. Even with eleven gold and platinum plaques and a several Top 10 hard rock anthems woven into the very fiber of the genre, Queensrÿche won’t relent. In fact, they’re in the throes of a jaw-dropping creative resurgence.
The band is currently touring across North America with the Scorpions (Sept 10th to Oct 9th). We caught up with founding member and lead guitarist, Michael Wilton, soon after their Wacken Festival debut.
TCRS: You’re on a break now, following your recent tour of the UK and Europe?
Michael: Yes we just finished 21 shows in 23 days. Blitzed through Europe and the UK, and now I’m just in Germany then I’m heading back to the States before we start the next tour.
TCRS: You took in a few festivals including Wacken Festival. I believe that’s a first for the band, if I’m not mistaken. How was it?
Michael: Yeah! It’s really amazing that we never played that festival and Wacken is such a huge event. It’s just, it’s mind blowing you know. How that little town just turns into this metal Mecca you know and just the crowds. I mean that was one of the biggest crowds I’ve performed in a very long time and it’s well organized and wow!, you know? And I met the owner, he’s just so down to earth and such a cool guy. And you know hopefully we’ll be able to attend and play that one again sometime.
TCRS: Before we get into the big stuff about the band and the new album, may I just take you back to 1984, when I believe it was the first that you came to the UK, as tour support for Dio on the ‘Last in Line Tour’. Am I right with that?
TCRS: I saw you at the Hammersmith Odeon [now Hammersmith Apollo]. I recall drinking with friends in the bar, as you do, anyway we heard you guys light up and we’re looking at each other and we’re like “Hey, this sound is something we’ve not heard before!”, and we all trailed into the auditorium and were all just blown away by you guys. What are your memories of that time?
Michael: Oh well, thank you. I mean that was, what ’84? A long time ago…and for us that was such a monumental tour. We were so grateful you know to be on tour and you know Ronnie was the consummate gentleman. He kinda of showed us the ropes in a lot of areas and just such a great person and all the guys in the band were great. And so accommodating to us because we were just getting our legs for touring the world. I’ve got an interesting thing: I had never had Indian food before. Ronnie had a chef out there and he invited us to eat Indian food. That was the first time I ever had Indian food.
TCRS: Was it the last?
Michael: No! I kinda like it. You know, as long as my stomach can handle it.
TCRS: Perhaps not something you recommend on tour maybe, certainly not on a tour bus anyway.
Michael: Yeah exactly! [laughs]
Michael: It really going excellent. You know we’ve been touring on the previous recording of 2013 you know for two years now Todd is comfortable with singing a song. His voice is getting stronger and he’s just more comfortable being on stage and singing these songs. These are not easy songs for anybody to sing. So, he’s really done a great job and he’s definitely acclimated to the road life and being out here. So, everything is kind of settled in a way so we’re doing quite well.
TCRS: And I guess he brings another amount of experience to the party as well.
Michael: Well he does especially over here in Europe. You know he’s got a reputation with Crimson Glory and now he’s with Queensrÿche, he brings a whole new dimension to the live performance. He is so energetic and so passionate about the music. There’s a new energy on stage with the band and everybody is just really just having a great time and having fun again.
TCRS: The audience are certainly feeding of that energy and that gives you something to feed off.
Michael: Oh yeah. It definitely does. Especially like you know when you’re playing in front of 65,000 people, it’s just unbelievable the energy. The support we’re getting from the crowd…well, it’s just kinda like the old days.
TCRS: The new album, Condition Hüman, is out on Century Media October 2nd. Produced by Chris “Zeuss” Harris, who’s known for recording with Hatebreed, Soulfly, Whitechapel and has been working on the new Rob Zombie album, how did that arrangement come about with Zeuss?
Michael: We already had a few songs, but didn’t want a repeat of the last album. We wanted to evolve from it and I think this was a very important record that we needed to establish, you know, that we are the roots Queensrÿche as well as a current band. Zeuss was introduced to us by the A&R guy at Century Media. I had looked at his portfolio and it’s like, wow, you’ve done some heavy bands! When I first talked to him, he goes “Let me just tell you, I’m not about changing Queensrÿche, I’m about bringing that band magic that happened on those early records, and finding that and bringing that back out in your performances to record. I’m gonna mix this so it’s current…you’re a current band!. You know, that’s kind of how we started and we met and then it was just the whole thing of scheduling and finding somebody that was flexible. He was flexible. He had just finished the Rob Zombie album and he had a certain amount of time allotted that he could do with us. So, basically he had I believe six weeks to record 15 songs, Queensrÿche songs that is. It was a lot of hours and he is a workhorse. He got so much accomplished and it was just 16 hour days for the guy. He actually even traveled on the road. We had a couple weekend shows that we had to do and he actually traveled with us and set up in a hotel room and we recorded the guitars in that kind of a setting just to keep on schedule. So we basically finished with all the music in six weeks. We then needed a couple more weeks for Todd to finish up vocals, so he had to talk to Rob Zombie and see if we could you know borrow a couple of his weeks. Rob Zombie was very cool and let us finish the album – I just want to say that. Then it was just off to the mixing and the mastering. We’ve been just very, very busy, you know; touring, recording and like I said things have been a little more settled. There’s not too many distractions anymore and we’re just on our mark for fertile grounds of creativity. There’s going to be no stifling of that.
Michael: Exactly! Like I said, things are settled. We have our management. We have a proper booking agent in the Europe and the UK now. We’ve got proper booking agents in the US. We’ve got PR people in the US. PR in Europe and the UK. And Century Media is totally behind us. They exercised their second option on the recording contract, which I might add that hasn’t happened since EMI!
TCRS: Congratulations! Just going back to Zeuss, if I may, what was he able to bring out of each of you in the recording studio?
Michael: I think he got us out of that way of thinking that everything had to be kind of structured and a pop song format arrangement. He got us out of that traditional way of thinking and you know we kind of brought the spirit of Rage for Order, The Warning, MindCrime and just let’s do things a little bit different. Let’s do some tempo changes, some key changes, some fake endings, some extended endings, some segues that come out of nowhere. He was like “Let’s just have some fun with these, so that they’re more unique and they sound more in the spirit of how you guys are”. And he really brought that out in everybody. I mean most notably Ed Jackson (bass). I mean the bass used to be so prevalent in our old recordings and Zeuss was adamant at making sure that Eddie’s bass was featured and you could hear it on every song. And you know more of just playing with the Kick drums playing. Let’s get the old Ed Jackson back into this. And you know so and that’s just one example. I mean he did that with everybody. He got just amazing performances out of everybody.
TCRS: You never stop learning in this business do you?
Michael: Me, personally, no. I’m constantly learning and relearning and relearning what I’ve relearned. You know it’s a never ending process and that’s what makes it so fun. You know it’s just I have such a burning desire to do what I do that I just, I can’t stop it. I’m just insane about it so it’s just I love what I do and I love the fact that I can keep learning from it definitely and I think I can say that for everybody else in the band as well. That we’re just a bunch of guys that can co-habit together.
TCRS: That’s great to hear, Michael. We played the lead single ‘Arrow Of Time’ on the show the other week and it went down a storm with Queensrÿche fans and, let me tell you, now you’ve won some new fans over as well.
Michael: Thanks for playing it! We’re really proud of that song, and that’s what it’s about, you know, we’re also a current band. The audiences are so varied and different and if we can influence new listeners to check out what we’re doing, that’s just great! We’ve played that song every night as an added bonus, so the fans got to hear a live version of a song that’s not even out yet.
TCRS: When are fans likely to hear more of the new album in your live sets?
Michael: Well, hopefully, you know the release is October 2nd and I know we’ve got another single [Guardian] and we have some videos coming through the pipelines, so yeah we’ll be able to bring those into the set. I don’t know if we’ll do that on the Scorpion’s run, but we’ll be able to do that maybe on our own shows in between those Scorpion shows.
TCRS: What are you looking forward to most touring with the Scorpions?
Michael: Well, you know I’m a big Scorpions fan, so obviously the music is something I’m looking forward to, but it’s just the opportunity to finally properly play with the Scorpions and play the United States and Canada with it all. They’re playing in some pretty big places that we haven’t played in a long time. So I’m really looking forward to that and I just think it’s going to be awesome. I love these guys and I have all their albums, so it’s kind of a double dream come true.
TCRS: What rig are you taking around these days?
Michael: Well, what I take around with me is called a Kemper Profiler and it’s kind of a self contained amp that I can just plug into a rented speaker cabinet and all my sounds are in that along with a wireless system and my trusty ESP Signature guitars. Oh, and a foot pedal, that’s about it.
TCRS: The ESPs loaded with Seymour Duncan’s, I guess?
Michael: Oh Yeah. Love the Seymour Duncan’s! One of my guitars is a Custom ESP that they made for me and the other one a Signature ESP and that’s what I travel with.
TCRS: Have you ever done a rig rundown on YouTube, I don’t think I have seen one?
Michael: No, I never have. I think it would probably disappoint a lot of people as it’s all in this little box. All stored on a thumb drive, a little 1GB thumb drive! [laughs]
TCRS: I don’t think it will disappoint anybody. Okay, Michael, so what is the future looking like now for Queensrÿche?
Michael: We’ve got a plan that we’ve been sticking to and we’re just going to continue on with that plan. We’re gonna tour, of course, and after the Scorpions tour we go into November and December doing a few gigs in the US. In January, we start up again and we go all the way through March. We’re booking more shows and I think another summer tour over in Europe is on the cards.
TCRS: Good luck with the new album. If ‘Arrow of Time’ [and Guardian] is anything to go by, Queensrÿche have another belter of an album in ‘Condition Hüman’.
Michael: I think any Queensrÿche fan is gonna just love this recording. And if you’re not a fan, well, check it out anyway. It’s a very cool, eclectic, semi-progressive, semi-metal, semi-hard rock album. Queensrÿche is back with a vengeance!
‘Condition Hüman’ will be released 2nd October via Century Media Records. ‘Arrow Of Time’, ‘Guardian’, ‘Hellfire’ and ‘Bulletproof’ are destined to take their place among Queensrÿche’s most beloved songs. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary), ‘Condition Hüman’ is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.
Queensrÿche is: Todd La Torre – Vocals | Michael Wilton – Guitar | Eddie Jackson – Bass | Scott Rockenfield – Drums | Parker Lundgren – Guitar
Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. Make sure you check out the new album…it’s killer!
#NEWS British rock ‘n’ rollers The Temperance Movement announce their brand new studio album ‘White Bear’
British rock ‘n’ rollers THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT are proud to announce their brand new studio album, ‘White Bear‘.
Due to be released on January 15th, 2016, the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut was recorded with producer Sam Miller in London, Northamptonshire and Monmouth and features 10 stomping new blues-rock anthems. The band will support ‘White Bear‘ with a UK tour which kicks off the day after the album’s release.
Guitarist, Paul Sayer confides, “White Bear is a real step on for us sonically and artistically. Playing so many shows together over the last 3 years allowed us to develop a really clear idea of where we wanted to go with our next record. When it came to making this album we had a bit more time and space to let our creativity go, and I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved.”
Whilst on the album title, ‘White Bear‘, singer Phil Campbell notes, “Nick called me with the title which inspired the lyric to the song. It refers to a study by Daniel Wenger on mindfulness and the controlling of unwanted thoughts, testing a quote from Dostoevsky’s ‘Winter Notes on Summer Impressions’: ‘Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.'”
1. Three Bulleits
2. Get Yourself Free
3. A Pleasant Peace I Feel
4. Modern Massacre
5. Battle Lines
6. White Bear
7. Oh Lorraine
9. The Sun and Moon Roll Around Too Soon
10. I Hope I’m Not Losing My Mind
‘White Bear‘ is available to pre-order now on CD, signed CD, vinyl and limited edition signed white vinyl, and is also available in a number of t-shirt bundles. Reserve your copy now at http://www.earache.com/ttm
The album is also available to pre-order now on iTunes, including an exclusive bonus track, at http://bit.ly/whitebear-itunes
Don’t miss THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT on tour in the UK in support of ‘White Bear‘:
Jan. 16 – Portsmouth, UK – Pyramid Centre
Jan. 17 – Norwich, UK – UEA
Jan. 19 – Aberdeen, UK – Beach Ballroom
Jan. 20 – Glasgow, UK – Barrowland
Jan. 21 – Newcastle, UK – University
Jan. 22 – Leeds, UK – Becket University
Jan. 24 – Manchester, UK – Academy 2
Jan. 25 – Birmingham, UK – Institute
Jan. 26 – Cardiff, UK – Y Plas
Jan. 27 – London, UK – Shepherd’s Bush Empire
All tickets and bundles are available at http://thetemperancemovement.com/whitebear
Get more news and info from THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT: