Journey’s Jonathan Cain Releases New Album: Arise

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Journey band member Jonathan Cain releases his solo studio album, Arise, today (May 27) from Identity Records with The Fuel Music distribution. Resonating with joy and a profound sense of God’s power and grace, the recording offers a wake-up call to the Church and is this iconic artist’s sixth faith-inspired, full-length project since 2016. As with all of Jon’s music, this album is spectacular. Read on for more details, including a couple music videos from his new album, Arise.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Drummer Brings Art To Stone Harbor

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Photo Credit: Laura Glass

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and six-time Grammy award-winning drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chad Smith, is coming to Stone Harbor, New Jersey! Road Show Company presents, in collaboration with SceneFour Productions: The Art of Chad Smith, a limited engagement fine art exhibition at Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor from Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31.

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A Conversation With KISS’ Tommy Thayer

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Photograph by Will Byington.

Yesterday I returned from KISS Kruise VI, my third and final sea-bound voyage with the “Hottest Band in the World,” and a few days prior to this trip I interviewed the band’s lead guitarist: Tommy Thayer. As you can see below, I asked Tommy several questions that many fans want answers to and he was more than happy to oblige. Stay tuned for my full recap of KISS Kruise VI, which I’ll post when I get my photo with the band, which should be at some point later this month. Until then, I hope you enjoy my interview with Tommy!

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Vintage Trouble: The Swing House Sessions Tour

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Vintage Trouble, arguably the greatest modern rock band, is currently on the road for The Swing House Sessions Tour in support of their new EP. I had the pleasure of interviewing the guys last week about their wonderful music, style and success, so stay tuned for that in the weeks to come. And I’m attending their concert this Wednesday night in Philadelphia at Underground Arts.

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Review: Ace Frehley Returns With Space Invader

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Five years after his last album, Anomaly, Ace Frehley, the former lead guitarist of KISS, is back with a brand-new solo record: Space Invader. And I’m happy to report that Ace’s new album should please most fans of the legendary guitarist. What you’ll find here is meat-and-potatoes rock and roll. While it isn’t without its faults, I find this album to be superior to Anomaly and reminiscent of his 1989 album, Trouble Walkin’. With Space Invader, Ace didn’t try to pander to the critics or be something he isn’t. He’s simply set out to create a kick-ass rock and roll record: Mission accomplished.

Space Invader will be released on August 19. Until then, check out my track-by-track review of the album below:

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A Conversation With Paul Stanley

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I recently took part in an interview with Paul Stanley, the lead singer of KISS. Below are his thoughts on a variety of topics that were covered during the interview.

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2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

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Today was the start of the first pre-sale for tickets for the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Of course, I was in a meeting when they went on sale and so was my cousin, who is joining me at the event. To solve the problem, I enlisted the help of my girlfriend. At 10 a.m. she was logged in and was ready to buy the tickets and after clicking “search,” she was greeted by a message saying no tickets were available. After persistently searching for what felt like an endless amount of time, she finally secured two tickets and bought them.

Where did all the other tickets go, you ask? Well, they were snatched up by sites like StubHub, which is essentially legalized scalping. Tickets similar to the ones I got for $92.50 on Ticketmaster cost $244 on StubHub. How could they possibly justify such an exorbitant increase? They can’t, which is why it’s a rip-off that only harms the fans.

I’m thrilled that I’m attending this event because I’m going to see two of my favorite bands – KISS and Hall & Oates – get the respect that they deserve from an institution that has ignored their great artistic contributions for far too long.

If you’re looking for tickets to the ceremony, avoid StubHub and try and purchase them during one of the sale dates below:

Onsale to General Public
Start: Sat, 03/01/14 10:00 AM EST

American Express
Start: Mon, 02/24/14 09:00 AM EST
End: Fri, 02/28/14 10:00 PM EST

VIP Packages Presale
Start: Mon, 02/24/14 09:00 AM EST
End: Fri, 02/28/14 10:00 PM EST

VIP Packages Post-Sale
Start: Sat, 03/01/14 10:00 AM EST
End: Thu, 03/20/14 05:00 PM EDT

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Member Presale
Start: Fri, 02/21/14 10:00 AM EST
End: Sun, 02/23/14 09:00 PM EST

Review: Hot ‘n Sticky Live by Michael Des Barres

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Raspy rocker Michael Des Barres just released Hot ‘n Sticky Live, an album showcasing a blistering performance he gave at the Viper Room in Hollywood, CA. In addition to tracks from Des Barres’ excellent studio recording, Carnaby Street, this live album includes interpretations of classic rock and pop songs, as well as material from the singer’s previous musical endeavors. It’s an all-killer-no-filler affair that’s short, sweet and packs a punch. The band is tight and Des Barres’ soulful vocals bring the infectious melodies to life in a way that’ll have you singing the songs long after they’ve stopped playing. In a day and age where popular music is overproduced and underdeveloped, Hot ‘n Sticky Live is a raw and gritty reminder that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well.

You can buy the album herehttp://tinyurl.com/kydxfg3.

For your listening pleasure, below are a three of my favorite songs from the album:

 

 

KISS Kruise III Is Almost Here!

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Meeting KISS in the summer of 2003 right after their new album, KISS Symphony: Alive IV, was released.

This Sunday I head to Miami for KISS Kruise III. KISS is my all-time favorite rock band, and as you can see from the photo above, I had the honor of meeting them 10 years ago. So spending five days at sea with KISS is naturally the only way to top that first experience. Not only will I get to see them perform twice – an acoustic set without makeup and a show with makeup and the whole nine yards – but I’ll also get to meet and get my photo with the band, see other concerts on the ship, including Night Ranger, and engage in numerous fun activities, not to mention all the standard fare that comes along with cruises. Simply stated, it’s going to be an awesome trip I’ll be talking about for years to come. You won’t hear from me until I return, but when I do I’m sure I’ll have plenty of stories, photos and videos to share.

Until then, here are some clips from previous KISS Kruises:

A Conversation With Michael Des Barres – Part 2

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Below is part two of my interview with Michael Des Barres. You can read part one here. Stay tuned for part three, and check out the live clips at the end of this post from Michael Des Barres’ concert in New York City on March 7, 2013 at the Bowery Electric.

So, the song “Obsession” came out of your experiences with drugs?

It came out of drug use, yeah. But I turned and mutated that, in a literary sense, into a romance about a man who was determined to get this woman. But it could be donuts, or Prada, or guitars, or whatever you collect, man. It could be whatever you want. It will collect and capture you. It’s about ownership, taking something hostage – obsession. 

How was it working with Holly Knight on the song?

Oh, she’s brilliant! Just an extraordinary writer. She’s a classically trained pianist. I must have written that lyric in 10 minutes. I’ve found all the best stuff comes that way. It just flows, there it is and you don’t touch it. When you start tinkering with it – at least for me – that’s when it loses its potency. It was a great experience working with Holly. 

I think the new recording of “Obsession” is the definitive version. Do you prefer it to the others?

I love the new one. I think that it’s very relaxed, and I love singing in that Bowie-esque baritone. And I love the girl singer, she’s fantastic – Teal; she’s a great singer from Austin. We just got lucky with it. I played it on acoustic guitar, we sang it and turned it over to a new mixer, Kyle Moorman, who turned it into what you hear, which I think is terrific. It’s a movie almost. It’s got a great story with a good chorus. 

You recently hinted that a live album is in the works. Do you have a sense of when it will be released?

It’s done and ready to go, I just have to pull the trigger whenever I want. But first I wanted “Obsession” to come out so people could see what I wanted it to be in the first place. I’m following no rules here. I’m off to do this radio show now, and I’m going to put out the live album within the next several months. It’s all ready to go. It’s called Hot ‘n Sticky. 

When I saw you live, you did a few cover songs. In addition to music from Carnaby Street, what covers are going to be featured on the live album?

It’s a rocking record. It starts with a medley of “Little Latin Lover,” “My Baby Saved My Ass,” “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “Get It On,” and “Long Tall Sally.” It was so rockin’ and so satisfying. You’re gonna’ love it!

Did you have to spend a lot of time in the studio on the live album, making sure everything sounded just right?

No, I didn’t change a fucking thing on it. I just went in and heard it. I did take out some of my conversation with the audience in between the songs because that had a lot to do with what was happening in the room at the moment. But other than that, I didn’t touch it. 

Many bands – KISS, for example – go into the studio and heavily tinker with live recordings, and sometimes fans are upset by this. Is this something you were trying to avoid?

Most of the time bands will do some audio tuning or one of the musicians missed a chord. But to me, that’s rock and roll! When you do fuck up and the microphone falls over, I like it. When I was a kid and I would listen to a recording and a tambourine would hit the floor it made me feel like I was there. It puts you in that room, it puts you in that club, it makes you part of it. If everything is so perfect, there’s no soul to it. I think that the greatest things that have ever happened to me have been by mistake. I turned a corner, bumped into somebody and my life changed. It’s the same thing with rock and roll. 

When you’re writing music, do you first think of a lyric or does a melody come to you while strumming the guitar?

The way it happens is I get a title and I see how it goes and where it fits. I love up-tempo rock and roll and I love ballads. I don’t know what’s going to happen, really. But I write so much every day that lines pop in and pop out. I’ll sit around and watch the news or hang out with my friends and somebody will say something and I’ll grab it, I’ll just grab it out of the air. I’ll say it and write it down. And the next morning I get up at dawn, drink a gallon of coffee, I go to the gym, I come back, I pick up my Les Paul, I plug in, and I write. 

Musically, you’ve done quite a bit. But as of right now, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment has nothing to do with having any band members in the room or music. The highlight of my life is talking to you right now … because this is all I’ve got right now. Today is what’s important to me. There’s an immediacy to what I do. People sense it. It’s intense and it’s urgent, and it’s what keeps you alive. Enthusiasm is what’s important. I just don’t want to go backwards. I don’t even want to go forwards. I just want to go! (laughs)

Is it true that it only took you 10 days to record the Carnaby Street album?

Yeah, I recorded it in one week, and I mixed it in three days. Everything you’re hearing on that album was done in no more than two takes. And I fixed nothing, vocally. We went in and did some backups here and there and maybe added a tambourine. There were no solos that were put on there, not one. Mixed it. Put it out. And people went crazy for it. I played it in the clubs – Atlanta, Austin, you name it, LA. Came back, we were red hot, we went in and cut it. Everybody’s laughing and we’re looking at each other. We were all in one room, with the earphones on – just smiling and enjoying each other’s work, if you can call it work. We enjoyed each other’s taste and execution. Took a smoke in between songs and set up the next tune. 

Do you have a favorite song from that album or does it change for you all the time?

I don’t have a favorite. Lyrically, I think “Carnaby Street” because it’s an autobiographical narrative. But “Please Stay,” I think, is the most accomplished song. I just got lucky one day and wrote that thing. And it says everything I mean to say about heartache. You can’t have a blues-based information pool from which to choose and not write these soulful ballads. That would be like no wearing trousers on your first date. (laughs) There’s nothing on that album that I don’t like playing. I love “Route 69,” all of it. 

Were any tracks left off the album?

No, I just went in with the set that we worked on and shuffled around live and recorded the songs that we knew. There’s many more that I wrote and rehearsed. I just wanted a collection of songs that worked as a whole. But I always have 10 or 20 songs completed and ready to go – the others were just not right for what I wanted for that album. And I could only find that out in rehearsal, singing them live. And those were the ones I liked singing the best – the ones that wound up on Carnaby Street.

Do you have any new songs coming out soon?

Yeah, I’m always creating new music. For my radio show for the David Lynch Foundation, I provided them with “Life Is Always Right.” It’s a beautiful acoustic ballad that came out of the slew of songs I wrote during my time in Texas, including “My Baby Saved My Ass” and “From Cloud 9 To Heartache.” While many of these songs weren’t included on Carnaby Street, they will see the light of day.