Monday, December 31, 2012

STEVE VAI Talks About New Album 'The Story Of Light'

Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On his latest album, "The Story Of Light":

Steve: "I was looking to do a concept record, but maybe something a little
unorthodox and contrary to typical concept records. I had this story
which is very kind of esoteric and in-depth. I thought, 'Why don't I
express the story over a series of records, like three records?' In
doing so, I decided to make the songs indicative of personalities,
characters, and elements in the story. I didn't want to give the story
away though, so the songs are not in a particular order through the
unfolding of the story.

"In order to figure out elements of the
story, you need to read the liner notes and listen to some of the
lyrics. It's the kind of thing though where I'm not clobbering people
over the head with the esoteric story when really all they wanna do is
hear the music. After I release three records that are more or less
installments of these songs for this story, I thought maybe perhaps at
some point I would do a package of four records. I would take the three
records that I would've previously released, and put the songs in the
proper order. I'd maybe put some lyrics on the melodic songs, and
release it with another record's worth of narrative and maybe some
additional songs. This way you can kind of listen to the story from the
beginning to the end in a very linear fashion, and it would be
completely different than the kind of instrumental records I usually

On the track "No More Amsterdam", featuring guest vocalist Aimee Mann:

Steve: "I was going to Berklee College Of Music, and so was Aimee — we
actually went to school at the same time. We even lived in the same
apartment building, just a couple of doors away from each other. My
girlfriend (Pia Maiocco) at the time — who's now my wife — was Aimee's best friend, so through the years I always had Aimee's music in the house. Whenever she released something, I really liked it. I had this song called 'Innerness', and it was this beautiful kind of acoustic track. I wanted it to depict in the story as being sung by two people, a man and a woman. What it is is one guy looking at the reflecting pond, and he sees this guardian
angel so to speak, the voice of better judgement. He has a conversation
with them. I wrote the first line, and I just got this writer's block.
That told me I needed to do something else. I told my wife Pia about it, and she said 'Why don't you call Aimee?' At first I thought 'Steve Vai and Aimee Mann? That's pretty contrasting music.' I love what she does though. She's
like a poet, and her voice is always so powerfully confident. The song
was sweet enough that I thought maybe she would take an interest, so I
reached out to her and she really liked it. It was such a beautiful
experience to work with her; I very, very rarely collaborate, but that
was a beautiful collaboration. She came over, and we talked about it.
She wrote all of the lyrics, and she named it 'No More Amsterdam'. It all resonates very well with the story, because I explained to her
what the story was about. She decided she would sing it, and it was
really sweet. It turned out really nice."

On the third installment of the concept album series:

Steve: "I have music written and I have certain storylines structured, but I
don't think it's gonna be my next studio record. There are some other
projects I wanna do, and I wanna evolve my own awareness of things that
I'm interested in in life before I really tackle it. If it's in my cards to live long enough, I hope to get to it. [laughs] The final project is actually a quadrilogy."

On performing live:

Steve: "When I put a show together, I really see myself as trying to be the
best entertainer I can be. People spend their money and time to come to
see a show, and I want to give them something as fulfilling as I can
muster. As a result, the show has a flow to it that I think has a lot of different dynamics. There are really intense, dense, complex pieces,
and very simple, stripped down pieces. At times it's very heavy, and at
times it's very, very intimate and delicate. We do an acoustic set that
has a nice feel to it. I don't like to take myself too seriously, so
there's some comic relief here and there. Ultimately, though, I also
want people to feel that they sense great musicianship, so everybody in
the band is very competent. My goal is to put on the best show that I
can so that when people leave, they feel really good."

Ray Collins, Original Mothers Of Invention Singer Passes

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Ray Collins, who invited guitarist Frank Zappa to join the band that eventually became the Mothers of Invention, has died at age 75.
Collins brought Zappa to R&B cover band the Soul Giants in 1964. By 1966, they had become the Mothers of Invention, releasing their first album, "Freak Out," on Verve Records.
Collins sang on three albums, then left the Mothers, saying their comedic approach to music didn't suit him.
He pursued little music afterward and spent his last years living in a van, but was a well-known character and conversationalist on the streets of Claremont, a college town east of Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

IRON BUTTERFLY Bassist Dead At 70

According to, IRON BUTTERFLY bassist Lee Dorman was found dead at his home in Laguna Nigel, a coastal city in Southern
California, earlier today (Friday, December 21). He was 70 years old.

Orange County sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Krause said that police arrived at Dorman's home at approximately 10 a.m. and found the musician sitting in his
car. The bassist, who reportedly had a history of heart trouble, was
unresponsive. Authorities don’t believe there is anything suspicious
about his death.

Dorman joined IRON BUTTERFLY before the release of 1968's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" album, which sold more than 30 million copies, according to the band's
web site. He rejoined the group in 1977 and has been performing with
them ever since.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


The new project featuring Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB), Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG) and Richie Kotzen (MR. BIG, POISON) has completed work on its debut album for a 2013 release. Sheehan says: "I'm really pleased with it. Richie sang his ass off and played amazingly unique stuff, and, of course Mike annihilated on drums. [It's a] really cool, unique record."
Late last year, Portnoy and Sheehan tapped Kotzen to be the guitarist/vocalist of their new project following the departure of John Sykes (WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER, THIN LIZZY).

Although Portnoy and Sykes demoed a dozen or so songs at a Los Angeles studio last year, their
vastly different work ethics and conflicting schedules were solely to
blame for the dissolution of their collaboration.

During an interview that aired on the July 13 edition of Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM, Portnoy said, "I love John personally, and we get along great — he's a sweetheart of a guy — but I need to keep moving. I can't sit still and kind of wait to make an
album over the next three years, I need to put things on the calendar
and move forward and get them done, and John's kind of just a 'wait, wait, wait' guy. Sadly, it kind of just stopped in its tracks, and Billy and I said, 'Look, let's do something.' And you [Eddie] were the one, actually, that suggested Richie Kotzen and I thought it was a brilliant suggestion, because he's an
unbelievably underrated talent, not only [as] a guitar player but a
phemonal singer, and just an amazing songwriter and artist. I think
people just kind of lump him, or write him off as the guy that was with POISON and MR. BIG. I think they have no idea what he's really capable of."

He continued, "Me and Billy have already done two writing sessions with Richie, with the three of us, and we have about eight songs done and written
and we've got another handful that are ready to go, so we're gonna start the album next month."

When asked to describe the musical direction of the project, Portnoy said, "It's a classic-rock kind of power-trio sound. If you picture the classic-rock bands of… the classic ones — [LED] ZEPPELIN, CREAM, [JIMI] HENDRIX, GRAND FUNK [RAILROAD] — if you take that classic-rock power-trio sound of the early '70s, and then you sprinkle it on top with some of the modern kind of sounds of SOUNDGARDEN and ALICE IN CHAINS or BLACK CROWES or LENNY KRAVITZ… It's in that vein; it's kind of a [mixture] of all of those bands. But
on top of it all you've got the phenomenal playing that Richie and Billy do, and I could play a couple of things on the drums as well [chuckles], so... And all three of us are singing — Richie is the lead vocalist, obviously, but me and Billy are also singing."

Former EDWIN DARE Drummer Killed By Deputy In Florida

Tommy Kollman — former drummer for the progressive hard rock band EDWIN DARE and brother of EDWIN DARE founder, acclaimed guitarist Jeff Kollman (COSMOSQUAD, CHAD SMITH'S BOMBASTIC MEATBATS, GLENN HUGHES) — was shot and killed by by a deputy in Fort Myers Beach, Florida this past weekend.

According to NBC2, the 48-year-old musician, who was described by a longtime friend as "a
gentle giant," was killed after his vehicle was pulled over by a deputy
around 3:30 Saturday morning (December 15).

The sheriff's office says Kollman was armed, but has not offered any more information about the incident.

Kollman, who used to work at the Mermaid on Fort Myers Beach and was about to start working at the Beached Whale, was arrested last month for loitering and possession of drug equipment.

Tommy's friend Ron Little told NBC2 that he wanted to know why Kollman was pulled over in the first place.

was a musician he worked late hours. His friends stayed up late. He was
heading in the direction of home on McGregor. Does that make him
suspicious?" asked Little.

EDWIN DARE released three albums in the 1990s and had moderate success in U.S. and Japan from 1992 to 1995. Jeff Kollman dismantled the group in 1995 and relocated to Arizona for two years before moving permanently to Los Angeles.

SYMPHONY X Frontman To Produce New SHAMAN Album

Powerhouse American vocalist Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X, ADRENALINE MOB) will produce the as-yet-untitled new studio album from the Brazilian progressive/power metal band SHAMAN.

The relationship between Allen and SHAMAN began with his participation in the new SHAMAN video, "Nocturnal Human Side". Some of the footage for the clip was filmed in New York City, with Allen making an appearance in the video.

the positive experience that was this video filming, it became clear
for we all that we had to do more things together," says SHAMAN vocalist Thiago Bianchi. "The idea to have Russell as our producer came naturally. Since then, we have been fun. Russell is an extremely spontaneous guy and his contribution have been a lesson of profissionalism and musicality."

A teaser for the "Nocturnal Human Side" clip, which which also features an appearance by the international model and actress Renata Diffley, can be seen below. The video was directed by Alex Batistawill, who has previously worked with SHAMAN on the "Ego" and "Finally Home" clips.


Ricardo Confessori - Drums
Leo Mancini - Guitar
Fernando Quesada - Bass
Thiago Bianchi - Vocals
Juninho Carelli - Keyboards

SHAMAN's fourth album, "Origins", was released in 2010.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DEEP PURPLE: New Album Release Date Confirmed, Dedicated Web Site Launched

British hard rock legends DEEP PURPLE will release their 19th studio album on April 26, 2013 via earMUSIC, the Hamburg, Germany-based international rock label which is part of Edel Group.

After various songwriting sessions in Europe, the band recorded and mixed the album in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Bob Ezrin (KISS, PINK FLOYD, PETER GABRIEL, ALICE COOPER, KANSAS). The CD is expected to contain 13 tracks, including "Out Of Hand", "Hell To Pay", "Weirdistan", "Uncommon Man" and "Above And Beyond". The latter song references the band's late keyboard player, Jon Lord, in the lyric "Souls having touched are forever entwined."

According to earMUSIC, the CD is "rumored to be the perfect match from the original spirit of '70s PURPLE, and a fresh and modern production."

Regarding the album title, Gillan offered the following cryptic comment to Classic Rock: "There's a big question mark over the name at the moment. And possibly
an exclamation mark as well. You can read what you like into what I've
just said. All will become clear — as mud — later on. That's all I'm
allowed to say. The question mark and the exclamation mark might get you intrigued."

earMUSIC will reveal details about the new DEEP PURPLE album in real time as soon as they will become available on a dedicated web site where all band members will also be able to post and interact
with the fans:

DEEP PURPLE's 18th studio album, "Rapture of the Deep", was released in November 2005. It was the fourth studio CD from DEEP PURPLE since guitarist Steve Morse joined the band in 1994. It was also the second album to feature veteran keyboardist Don Airey.

"Rapture of the Deep" was produced by Mike Bradford, who also worked on the band's previous release, 2003's "Bananas".