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This week has come around so quickly. More great music is in store, however, including your requests as well as a sprinkling of album tracks from LPs released this week back in the day from the likes of Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Extreme, Pantera, Europe, Poison, Kiss, Aerosmith and Coverdale Page.
We’ve also got the new single from Motor Sister who are fast becoming my fave band of Q1 2015, along with a homage to three musicians who passed away this past week…Mike Porcaro (Toto), Bruce Crump (Molly Hatchet) and Andy Fraser (Free).
Join the listening rock party from 7pm GMT www.theclassicrockshow.co.uk
Thunder are to release their latest album ‘Wonder Days’ through earMUSIC on February 16th (UK/EU). Fans have had quite a wait for anything new to come out of the Thunder camp, but the wait was worth it. Judging by the reaction our listeners gave when they heard the single ‘Wonder Days’, it’s clear to anyone with a pulse that they are back with a belter of an album.
Recorded at the infamous Rockfield Studios, from start to finish, the songs on the album seem to have this ability to form an instant bond with the listener, grabbing your attention right from the opening riff, through to the dying notes. It’s this rare gift that has served them well, ever since the day they recorded as a band and in Luke Morley, us Brits have a songwriter we can be rightly proud of.
I sat down with Danny Bowes and Luke Morley at a studio in London to ask how ‘Wonder Days’ was put together. Always willing to fully answer any questions thrown at them, we began by asking after Ben Matthews’ health. Listening to their answers, you immediately sense that their ambition is as strong as ever it was and that they are proud, rightly so, of the way they have adapted to the new approach to recording an album and what they’ve achieved in the studio with ‘Wonder Days’.
There are very few rock bands out there, less than a handful in my experience, that can ignite such a positive reaction from listeners when played on ‘The Classic Rock Show’ as Thunder can…and I’d put them at the top of that list. ‘Wonder Days’ will only ensure they stay there for a long time to come.
This week’s show takes you on another trip down memory lane, back to the year 1983, with Part 4 of a series of shows celebrating Rock Music through the 80s, year-by-year. “Oh yeah….looking through those rose-tinted spectacles again, are we?”, but those of us fortunate enough to have lived through the early 80s can be forgiven for thinking it was an era where rock music, not for the first time, took on an energy all of its own, providing some notable highlights and in some case, breaking new ground.
Just look at a few of the bands we’ve lined up for you to rock out to in the first hour of the show! Motley Crue, Dio, Y&T, Quiet Riot, Yes, Genesis, Alcatrazz, Thin Lizzy and Gary Moore.
And if that’s not enough, we’ll be hearing from the likes of Queensrÿche, Metallica, Kiss, Molly Hatchet, Hanoi Rocks, Magnum, Bryan Adams, AC/DC, Rainbow, Journey, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Hawkwind, Marillion, Status Quo, Accept, Dokken, Ozzy Osbourne, Slade, Def Leppard and ZZ Top.
Three hours of great music, anecdotes and news headlines from the year 1983 – 7pm Thursday, 12th February.
Listen links are on our homepage www.theclassicrockshow.co.uk
In an already jam-packed career Skarlett Riot have wowed audiences at Download (earning a 4K live review from Kerrang!) and Bloodstock, and have shared stages across the UK with the likes of Wednesday 13, D-A-D, Reckless Love, Heaven’s Basement, Periphery, Firewind, Black Spiders, Edguy, Taking Dawn, L.A Guns, Glamour Of The Kill, Crashdiet, Vains Of Jenna, Deaf Havana, Francesqa plus many more, including the prestigious Reading and Leeds festivals to their live resume.
The band’s debut EP, the critically acclaimed “Villain”, set the benchmark high and led to glowing praise within the rock community. In 2013, they released their first album ‘Tear Me Down’, once again, it was received well by press and fans. Now, they’re about to release another EP entitle ‘We Are The Brave’, a collection of songs with big riffs, and strong themes.
I recently got talking to Skarlett, the lead singer, about the EP and I began by asking her about the new video which has been circulating on Scuzz TV.
MJ: Skarlett…welcome to The Classic Rock Show. How are you doing?
S: Yeah, I’m good, thank you.
MJ: Busy time for you all. You’ve a new video out for the song “Rising”. It’s a track off your We Are The Brave EP which is out on February the 16th. Tell us about the video.
S: Basically, we filmed it about six months ago. And we wanted like something silhouette-y, so you can only see the band at the end of the video. So it’s all blacked out, and the idea of it is the song is called “Rising,” obviously, and the lyrics are about getting revenge on someone, saying you’ll be back again. Having power in the lyrics. So we wanted to keep it all silhouetted out, and then at the end have the world kind of exposed so it looks more powerful, at the end, I guess. So we just got it on Scuzz TV as well which we’re really excited about too.
MJ: How long has the We Are The Brave EP been in the making?
S: I would say about a year. We’ve just been writing as much as possible since the Turn Down album in 2013. We had been thinking of doing a second album, but we said no, let’s put the best of what we’ve written so far into one EP. So we wrote about 10 songs and we picked about five to go on the EP, which has brought us up until now, really.
S: All the tracks, apart from “Rising” are about living life to the full and not wasting any time. Like “Wake Up”, “Are you Alive?” and “Cascade”. The lyrics to “Cascade” are about time slipping through the hourglass and having no time to spare. You know, it’s the sand in the hourglass is never going to stop, just like time itself. So, the back message is live your life and enjoy it and don’t listen to what anyone else says…just do what makes you happy.
MJ: Last year, of course you were seen at a number of festivals and on tours. How is 2015 looking for Skarlett Riot?
S: Yeah, we’re continuing to raise our profile and get as many fans and people knowing the name as possible. We’re touring with Gus G in February and then we’ve a few headline dates. We’ve got a sold out show at the O2 Academy Islington with Kamelot and Gus G in March. We’ll be with Slam Cartel in April…and a couple festivals here and there…so far, so good.
MJ: Going back to the EP, the front of the EP is a depiction of a lion’s head, which has been hand-drawn. Is that Helen Hebenton‘s work again?
S: Yeah, that’s right. We’ve known Helen for quite a while and worked with her before, way back to the Villian EP cover and the Villain t-shirts. She’s also responsible for designing the band’s new logo. We wanted the style of the new EP cover have a vintage look, with black and gray artwork. Helen was a perfect choice. She did a great job with the EP, the cover. It was largely her idea to use the lion it would best represent power and strength. I think it has come across really well.
MJ: You’re obviously going to be pushing the tracks on the EP in your ‘live’ set?
S: Yeah, we’ve been practicing like crazy. It’ll be like three or four of the new EP tracks and then we’ll be mixing it in with a couple of the Tear Me Down tracks. So, they’ll be a lot of new material in there, but we’ll be putting in a couple of what we think are the best tracks from the Tear Me Down album as well.
S: Yeah, I think we’ll be releasing a couple more singles off of the back of the EP. We wanted this EP to last the full year. But in between that we’ll be writing some more while the EP is circulating. We’re hoping to be writing an album, too, but we’re not sure when that will be released yet. For the moment, we all feel that we need to have the right material in place first. Make sure it’s 100% and that we’re all 100% happy with it.
MJ: Any last little things that you want to get over to the fans?
S: Just thank you very much for supporting us. We had such a great response to the pre-order for We Are The Brave. You can order it on www.skarlettriot.bigcartel.com. Yeah, thanks for the support and we’ll see you on the road!
Apocalyptica is a Finnish cello-rock band from Helsinki, formed in 1993. The band is composed of classically trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Perttu Kivilaakso and drummer Mikko Sirén. Their music borrows elements from a wide variety of genres including classical music, metal, world, folk and progressive rock. They have sold over four million albums to date. The band’s recent albums included both instrumentals and collaborations with various singers, such as Corey Taylor, Adam Gontier and Cristina Scabbia.
Apocalyptica have recently recruited an official vocalist, Franky Perez, who was part of Scars on Broadway, Pusher Jones and appeared on Slash’s first solo record.
The band will release their eighth studio album ‘Shadowmaker’ in April through Eleven Seven Music. We have had a taste of what’s to come as a lyric video of the album’s title track has been released. They’ll be releasing a single, ‘Cold Blood’, mid-Feb along with a video directed by Lisa Mann who has directed a number of Apocalyptica videos.
I got to speak with Perttu Kivilaakso the other day after they had shot a new video for a future single release ‘Cold Blood’ out mid-February.
MJ: A very warm welcome to ‘The Classic Rock Show’, Perttu.
PK: Thank you!
MJ: Bands such as Electric Light Orchestra, Eloy, Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Sky, etc., have all used heavily orchestrated arrangements within their work and have been cited as having influenced many an artist/band both then and still do so to this day. What music being created today influences you and how has it manifested itself in the music you have written and recorded?
PK: The band have a large taste when it comes to all kinds of music. We cellists naturally grew amongst classical music, symphony orchestras. I personally have loved opera, especially 19th century Italian, my whole life. I would say that everything we have listened to and loved has had an influence to what we are doing. I still listen to opera and bands like Arch Enemy, Slipknot, as well as Muse, Ellie Goulding, Owl City.
MJ: Apocalyptica perform live shows the world over, and to a heavy schedule. We all think that guitars, keyboards and drums are pretty robust instruments these days. How do the Cellos bear up to the stresses and strains of travel by air/sea?
PK: We have such a great flight cases for the cellos that ever since years back when we started using them, none of the instruments has been destroyed in cargo.
MJ: Do you have any tips on how to keep them in shape and what do you need to look out for?
PK: Cellos are very sensitive instruments and usually need careful handling,keeping them off from heat/cold etc…BUT we are not really a good example for that, so if you watch Apocalyptica banging them cellos, try to avoid all that and you’ll do just fine! [laughs]
PK: We went to Nashville just because of Mr Raskulinecz’s studio. We had a clear vision how we would want the album to sound and approach and our choice for producer was very obvious for us.
MJ: As you have mentioned, Nick Raskulinecz has produced the album. He’s previously worked with the likes of Rush, Alice In Chains, Evanescence, Mastodon and Foo Fighters to name but a few. What was it like working with him and his team?
PK: Nick is definitely one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever worked with in the business. He was able to help us find an entire new level for our group, in ways of playing as well as our thinking. This time we were better prepared for the recordings than ever, after months of rehearsing and pre-production, practicing and yet more arranging and jamming together. So, when it came to the final recordings, everything was clear. And Nick concentrated to achieve magical performances from all of us.
MJ: Can you share any instances that occurred in the studio where he got you to think differently about your approach, for example, to a certain section of work?
PK: He had a big impact in how we set out our arrangements. We discovered many cool progressive and brave solutions. In fact our motto for this recordings was “Be Brave”.
MJ: How soon into the recordings was it before you came to realise that you really had made the right choice with Nick as your producer?
PK: I think we all realised it already in pre-production, We had a strong vision for the album, but already from the start Nick encouraged us to follow our hearts and not to worry about anything else, like pressures from outside our band. So this time it is easy to say that the album is absolutely as we felt while composing, arranging and recording. Nick was able to set us on fire!
MJ: How would you describe the album?
PK: Shadowmaker is a strong journey, a story that brings you through various emotions. The album is somehow more serious, it is also totally a “band record”…we wanted to have just one voice, one vocalist, to bind all…better together.
MJ: You’ve already given us a taste of what’s to come by releasing a lyric video. Tell us about how the title track ‘Shadowmaker’ came about?
PK: The Shadowmaker song was so determined; one of the most powerful tracks we did that we wanted it to be album title as well. It is a cool example of the musical variety we have, from sweet vocal choruses to dark metal, pure cello sounds collapsing with horrific distortions. That pretty much sums up what it is to be “Apocalyptica”.
MJ: As on previous albums, you’ve chosen to work with other musicians. How did your collaboration with Franky Perez come about?
PK: We really wanted to concentrate on our band this time around and not to focus anymore with all the “featuring stuff” etc. We wanted to bring in a vocalist who is able to join us for all tours ahead; one guy to sing the album and perform with us ‘live’.
We had quite a big closed audition to find a person who would fit in perfectly. I have to say that we are more than happy having Franky, as besides him being an amazing vocalist, so versatile, handsome and stuff, he is also the nicest guy on earth.
PK: Of course we’d like to play most of them, if not all ‘live’. I think the whole album is just so cool. As for a personal favourite; I have a close relation with ‘Dead Man’s Eyes’, and that will be so emotional to play ‘live’ as well. I feel like I sacrificed a part of my soul while composing those melodies and making them come alive!
MJ: We’ve come to the end of our chat. It’s clear to me listening to you that the recording of this album and the prospect of what lies ahead for Apocalyptica, has had a significant impact on both you and the rest of the band. I’m curious to learn, therefore, what have you taken from this experience?
PK: Personally, I once again found out few more tricks to play cello differently than I’ve ever done before. Some ultimately fast passages which felt impossible at the time [laughs]. This experience has made me love music even more. I am so excited for the band, for the release of Shadowmaker, all the forthcoming tours, my other musical projects and life in general!
You would have to be brain-dead not to have picked up on Perttu’s enthusiasm. He certainly left me in no doubt whatsoever that the band are a strong outfit. What they’ve seemingly accomplished with this new album is something more than just a great piece of work, of which they’re rightly proud…I sense it’s a new beginning.
The album ‘Shadowmaker’ is set for release in April 2015…and we can’t wait to hear it!
Hello and welcome back!
Ok, back to tonight’s show. We’ve three hours of killer rock tuneage lined up for you, as many of the requests sent in this week as we can fit, plus single releases from Crobot, Blind Guardian, Skarlett Riot, Cancer Bats and a new band for us Empire of Fools.
As for the Classic Rock…we’ve lined up some beauties for you…Black Sabbath, Dio, Van Halen, Boston, Genesis, Bon Jovi, Triumph, Pantera, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Iron Maiden, Georgia Satellites and many more besides.