Saturday, April 23, 2011

April News Bytes

  • JUDAS PRIEST, WHITESNAKE, SAXON, SLADE and MIKE & THE MECHANICS have been confirmed for the Sofia Rocks festival, set to take place Friday, July 8 at the National Hippodrome Bankya in Bankya (Sofia), Bulgaria. More acts will be announced soon.

  • New York project IZZ has re-recorded the classic Peter Gabriel track Red Rain and is available at their website at

  • West coast classic fusion project which features Scott Kinsey and Scott Henderson called Tribal Tech is in the midst of recording a new album.

  • Seminal jazz-rock band Return to Forever has a new lineup. The quintet now features Chick Corea (keyboards), Stanley Clarke (bass) and Lenny White (drums) with guitar legend Frank Gambale and former Mahavishnu Orchestra member Jean-Luc Ponty (violin).

QUEENSRŸCHE Joins Synergia Northwest Benefit to Aid Northwest Youth Music Education

Seattle's progressive stronghold QUEENSRŸCHE will join the stellar 2011 Synergia Northwest lineup on Friday, May 6 at the Moore Theatre in Seattle to support youth music education. "They are a perfect fit," said musician and show producer Michael McMorrow. "Their music has resonated for a couple generations of music fans here in the northwest and world-wide; and of course lends itself to symphonic components beautifully, and most importantly, they get it. They totally understand the tremendous need to support youth music education programs. They know where they come from."

The concert event raises funds to provide extended learning, enrichment and performance opportunities to music students who would not have the necessary financial resources. A first of its kind event, Synergia Northwest 2010 launched in Tacoma's Landmark Convention Center last year, and blended classical, contemporary, professional and student musicians into one concert, unifying musicians across cultures, ages and musical genres all in the name of Washington State Youth Music Education. This year Music Aid Northwest's "Music Matters" Washington State License Plate Initiative campaign fund will be an emphasized beneficiary. This initiative allows the Washington State Department of Licensing to collect fees to create special ‘Music Matters' license plates. These plates will help fund music programs in our Washington schools.

Other highlights of the evening will include performances of the Synergia Northwest Orchestra with Pacific Northwest rock recording artists including Grammy award-winning drummer Alan White (YES, JOHN LENNON) and his band WHITE in a reprise of their performance at Synergia 2010, Shawn Smith of BRAD, tennis pro, Heart by Heart with Heart founder Steve Fossen and Somar Macek, Brendan Hill of BLUES TRAVELER, Geoffrey Castle, Scotty Olsen, Michael McMorrow, special performances by the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS BLUE THUNDER DRUM CORP and Seattle's Kokon Taiko. The Kokon Taiko performance continues Synergia Northwest's acknowledgement of the area's unique and diverse cultural heritage. The Synergia Orchestra will also perform the brilliant and moving Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia composition "China Doll" from Georgia-based composer and educator Lee Johnson's "Dead Symphony #6: An Orchestral Tribute to the Music of the Grateful Dead".

The concert will conducted by internationally recognized Dr. Nikolas Caoile, Director of Orchestras at Central Washington University and the conductor of the Wenatchee Symphony Orchestra. Acclaimed violinist William Boyd is the concertmaster. The Synergia Northwest Orchestra is comprised of some of the area's finest professional classical musicians and selected players from Washington State All-State groups and regional youth and public school orchestras.

The event will have special emphasis on "Music Matters", a self-perpetuating fundraising initiative Senate-House Bill 1329 to help support school music programs through sales of a distinctive new Washington State license plate, available through the Washington State Department of Licensing. Monies raised through Synergia Northwest 2011 will help the campaign fund school music programs statewide in Washington as well as collect signatures needed to continue its development in the state legislative process.

Synergia Northwest 2011 is sponsored by Washington Music Educators Association, Central Washington University, NAF Productions, Drifting Homeward Music, STG, Stenide Ilumination. Synergia Northwest 2011 has again enlisted Music Aid Northwest, a Washington State 501 (c)(3) organization, to direct the funds to Young Musicians Excelling award funding grant program through Washington Music Educators Association to Musicworks Northwest and Music Matters. Other non-profit agencies benefiting from Synergia Northwest 2011 will be announced.

Tickets are on sale at, in person at the Paramount Theatre box offices (Monday-Friday 10am-6pm), 24-hour kiosks located outside The Paramount & Moore Theatres, charge by phone at 877-784-4849 or online at

(Golden Circle seats are a reserved seat in the first 3 rows with access to a pre-show meet and greet with musicians, a poster for autographs and a photo opportunity.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lana Lane, The Bob Moog Foundation and The Wall of Doom To Join Erik Norlander at RoSFest 2011

Lana Lane, The Bob Moog Foundation and The Wall of Doom To Join Erik Norlander at RoSFest 2011
Limited number of tickets still available for prestigious prog-rock fest

April 20, 2011

The Galactic Collective, an innovative re-imagining of the best of Erik Norlander's vast instrumental catalog, is scheduled to perform at the prestigious progressive rock festival RoSFest on Saturday, May 21st from 5-7PM with a very special guest appearance by symphonic rock icon Lana Lane. Norlander's band of stellar musicians includes guitarist Freddy DeMarco, bassist Mark Matthews, and drummer Nick LePar, all from the Akron, Ohio area. Also joining this performance will be Asheville, North Carolina vocalist Debrissa McKinney who worked with Norlander on the Moogus Operandi concert last year. An additional highlight of the concert will be Norlander's Wall of Doom, a massive Moog modular analog synthesizer whose core dates back to 1967. Michelle Moog-Koussa, Executive Director of The Bob Moog Foundation, will be introducing the band on stage and hosting a table for the Foundation throughout the festival.

The Rites of Spring Festival 2011 (RoSFest) will be hosted by the Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg, PA May 20th - May 22nd. A limited amount of tickets are still available and can be purchased at

"RoSFest is a special event for me," affirms Norlander. "And we have put together some very special plans for the show. In addition to bringing out the Wall of Doom, my 24-oscillator 1967 modular Moog synthesizer, we will play the entire Galactic Collective album along with some songs from my solo catalog that have never been performed live before. Lana and Debrissa will bring a vocal element to The Galactic Collective, both in a choral fashion like we did on the album and also to deliver some vocal songs from my composed catalog. We will play a 2-hour set. I'm also honored to have Michelle Moog-Koussa join us at the festival, both to introduce the band and to promote her vital work with The Bob Moog Foundation."

About The Galactic Collective:
Erik Norlander's "The Galactic Collective" CD was released by Chian Productions on March 27, 2010. "The Galactic Collective” is a fresh and innovative take on the best of Norlander’s vast instrumental catalog written for Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane, and his own solo albums over the years. The versatile keyboardist recorded the CD with an astounding array of classic analog synthesizers, Hammond organ, and a Steinway grand piano at Cleveland’s Magnetic North Studio with engineer Chris Keffer (Syzygy) and executive producer Dena Henry. Musicians included bassist Mark Matthews, drummer Nick LePar, and a cadre of stellar guest guitarists including John Payne (Asia Featuring John Payne), Mitch Perry (Asia Featuring John Payne, Michael Schenker Group) and Mark McCrite (Rocket Scientists) along with leading Ohio artists Freddy DeMarco and Ron Redfield.

DELAIN Announces New Guitarist

Dutch female-fronted symphonic metallers DELAIN have announced the addition of guitarist Timo Somers to the group's ranks. The band states, "Timo's been rehearsing with us for quite some time and we're very confident that we've found the best possible new DELAIN team member in him; this guy's got music in his blood.

"You'll be getting to know more about Timo in the upcoming weeks through our updated member profiles [on our official web site] and through the shows of our upcoming European tour, where he'll make his debut.

"We're looking forward to our first shows with Timo on tour."

DELAIN will release its third album later in the year via Roadrunner Records.

The band last year announced the addition of bassist Otto "The Baron" Schimmelpenninck van der Oije (DETONATION) to the group's ranks.

DELAIN's second album, "April Rain", was released in North America on June 30, 2009 via Sensory Records (with U.S. distribution through Ryko and Canadian distribution through Sonic Unyon). The North American version of the album features a bonus track — "Come Closer" — which was previously only available on the limited-edition digipack version of the LP.

"April Rain" benefitted from the return of NIGHTWISH bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala who provided male vocals on two tracks, as well as world-renowned cellist Maria Ahn.

MY DYING BRIDE, PESTILENCE and STRATOVARIUS are among the first confirmed bands for next year's edition of the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise, which will set sail from Miami, Florida to Cayman Islands on January 23, 2012 and return four days later. A total of 40 acts will perform on the cruise.

The festival billing is shaping up as follows:


"Metal Zone" host Nikki Blakk of the San Francisco, California radio station 107.7 The Bone has posted a 10-minute video report on this year's edition of the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise — which set sail from Miami, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico on January 24, 2011 and returned four days later. You can now watch the footage below.

According to, 70000 Tons Of Metal featured 42 metal bands and 2,000 fans sailing around the Caribbean for the better part of a week. Each band performed two sets over the journey, with many acts committing to putting on special cruise-only performances (NWOBHM legends SAXON played their 1980 albums "Wheels Of Steel" and "Strong Arm Of The Law" in their entirety; while TESTAMENT did the same with their first two records, "The Legacy" and "The New Order"). There were three different stages on the ship: an outdoor poolside stage, a mid-sized club stage and a full indoor theatre that could hold almost all 2,000 fans onboard.

DREAM THEATER To Offer Exclusive Look Into Search For Band's New Drummer

A little more than a month after original drummer Mike Portnoy's sudden departure from DREAM THEATER, the band held three days of auditions in New York City. Over an amazing and productive three-day period, the band played, jammed and spoke candidly with seven of the world's greatest drummers, learning about them musically, personally and professionally, and assessing the fit of each drummer's incredible chops with the band's trademark prog-rock sound.

DREAM THEATER have been extremely sensitive to the fact that this is not only a monumental decision in their own lives, but also a critical moment in the lives of their fans around the world. "The departure of our lifelong bandmate and friend was an unexpected and truly heartbreaking blow," says guitarist John Petrucci. "The fact that as a result of that event we'd be introduced to seven infinitely capable and uniquely talented drummers was heartening."

DREAM THEATER would like to share with its fans some of the intense process, along with the musical joy, that went into choosing a new drummer.

So who is the best fit behind the kit?

Go to DREAM THEATER's Facebook page on Thursday, April 21 at 11 a.m. to sign up for the mailing list and to receive more details about an exclusive and intimate look at the auditions, and to find out exactly when and how the momentous announcement about the band's new lineup will be made. Fans will be able to find out information about the band's upcoming 2011 world tour via Facebook as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

RUSH Frontman Says New Songs Have 'Quite A Lot Of Diversity'

Bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee of Canadian rock legends RUSH spoke to The Plain Dealer about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's upcoming 20th studio album, "Clockwork Angels", for which a release date has not yet been set.

"We've got about seven songs written," Lee said. He added, "When you hear the first two songs ['BU2B' and 'Caravan'], which we're playing live now, they definitely have a heavier sound. It's the heavier side of RUSH in the early going. But when I think of all the songs that we've written already, there's quite a lot of diversity there. I think — I hope — RUSH fans will like it. We're certainly going to work hard to make it a great record, as we always try."

As a tribute to the U.S. city that first played the band's music, RUSH has confirmed that the Cleveland performance of its "Time Machine" show on April 15 at the Quicken Loans Arena will be filmed for a full-length release.

Cleveland is remarkable for being one of the very first U.S. cities where RUSH performed, in addition to being the first city to provide American airplay.

This will be a must-see event for RUSH fans in Cleveland — and for everyone able to make the road trip as it is will also mark the first live full-length filming on U.S. soil.

The "Time Machine" tour is an evening with RUSH, where they will perform their classics, give a taste of the future and will — for the first time ever in the U.K. — feature the "Moving Pictures" album live in its entirety.

"'Moving Pictures' is our most popular album and it's the one that seems to have passed the test of time most gracefully," observes singer/bassist Geddy Lee. "We're playing better than ever, and I'm not sure we're quite ready to put that tour away," he adds.