Saturday, May 5, 2012

FLYING COLORS: Tour Dates Announced

FLYING COLORS — the spectacular new virtuoso prog/pop/metal rock band formed by drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-DREAM THEATER) and guitarist Steve Morse (DEEP PURPLE) — has scheduled the following dates:

Sep. 04 - Torrance, CA - James Armstrong Theater
Sep. 06 - New York, NY - Best Buy Theater
Sep. 09 - Hamburg, Germany - Markthalle
Sep. 10 - Berlin, Germany - Columbia Club
Sep. 11 - Munich, Germany - Theaterfabrik
Sep. 13 - Milan, Italy - Alcatraz
Sep. 14 - Zurich, Switzerland - Volkhaus
Sep. 15 - Stuttgart, Germany - Longhorn
Sep. 16 - Aschaffenburg, Germany - Colos Saal
Sep. 17 - Cologne, Germany - Gloria
Sep. 19 - Paris, France - La Trionon
Sep. 20 - Tilburg, Holland - 013
Sep. 21 - London, England - Shepherd's Bush Empire

the band: "As there was a very limited window of availability that the
band's collective schedules allowed, these will be the only FLYING COLORS shows in 2012.

"If we're not playing near you, c'mon out and take a road trip to share these very special shows with us!"

The self-titled debut album from FLYING COLORS sold 6,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 81 on The Billboard 200 chart.

In addition to Portnoy and Steve Morse, FLYING COLORS features Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (lead vocals, guitar).

think if most people looked at this band on piece of paper, they would
think that it would be very progressive and instrumentally based music,
but I think once we started playing together, we got taken into all new
directions," Portnoy told Audio Ink Radio. "I think a lot of that had to do with Casey, because Casey comes from a more modern rock and alternative rock background, so I
think that really helped take the entire band in new directions."

He added, "The diversity element is pretty crazy. It ranges from poppy classic rock sounds like THE BEATLES and QUEEN all the way to modern rock and alternative bands like RADIOHEAD, MUSE and COLDPLAY, and everything in-between. There’s some prog stuff like YES thrown in, as well, and then there are moments that are like the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS or FOO FIGHTERS. So, it really runs the gamut from track to track."

The formation of FLYING COLORS began with a simple idea: virtuoso musicians and a pop singer joining
together to make new-fashioned music the old-fashioned way. Refreshing, classic, old and new, the recordings are saturated with the many
styles, tones and hues of the players who in becoming a band have
delivered a unique fusion of vintage craftsmanship and contemporary

In 2008, executive producer Bill Evans brought the idea to the world-renowned musicians and producer Peter Collins. Intrigued by the idea and the prospect of working together, the four
musicians signed on to form a band and record a first album.

Steve Morse and Dave LaRue have developed magical music chemistry over the years that began early in their careers as partners in DIXIE DREGS. In 1995, Morse subsequently became a member of DEEP PURPLE, while LaRue's ongoing musical adventures include Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, Steve Vai, and the aforementioned Portnoy.

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer Neal Morse is one of the leading figures in progressive rock, whose notoriety follows his co-founding of the seminal band, SPOCK'S BEARD in 1995, recordings as a solo artist, and contributions to the super-group TRANSATLANTIC.

Mike Portnoy is one of the most popular and respected drummers in both metal and
rock, and an accomplished writer and producer. He is the recipient of
numerous industry accolades, including 26 Modern Drummer awards, Revolver magazine's Golden God award for "Best Drummer" and Drum magazine's "Drummer Of The Year". He rose to prominence as the leader, drummer, producer, and co-writer for metal/prog juggernaut DREAM THEATER, before moving on in 2010. That same year, he worked on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's #1 album "Nightmare" and their subsequent tour.

It was Portnoy who recommended ALPHA REV's emotive singer Casey McPherson as a contender to join FLYING COLORS. McPherson, whose 2010 Hollywood/Disney album "New Morning" debuted in the Top 5 on two Billboard charts, enjoyed major success at radio with multiple hits. The track "New Morning" spent 17 weeks in the Top 10 on Triple A Radio, and enjoyed a run on VH1's Top 20 Countdown for months. Steve Morse offers, "Casey was a glorious find, because he could make anything sound fantastic, and is a multitalented like the others."

FLYING COLORS convened for just nine days in early 2011, and composed and recorded this album during a short and intense session.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Swedish Guitar Virtuoso Johan Randén Releases Third CD 'Summary' On Reingold Records

4/27/2012 - Lund, Sweden - Much to the anticipation of guitar aficionados around the world, on May 4, 2012, one of Sweden's youngest and most talented guitarists, Johan Randén, releases his third solo-album 'Summary' on Reingold Records, home to prog superstars the Flower Kings. 'Summary' is a musical journey that takes us through guitar picking à la Steve Morse in the country influenced track "Country Maniac", to beautiful bluesy and tasty woodwork à la Jeff Beck in "Floating Around". On this record Johan proves that he´s not only a guitarist but also a great songwriter and producer, with the guitar always in focus. Bengan Andersson, Sven Lindvall, Staffan Astner form the backbone of ”Summary”.

Johan Randén was born to play the guitar. At the age of 12, he played with Freak Kitchen at Sweden Rock Festival and today at 24, Johan Randén already works as a freelance guitar player, composer, producer and musical director. He has also worked and played with bands and people like Bronk (Staffan Astner, Per Lindvall, Sven Lindvall), Janne Schaffer, Simon Andersson (Pain Of Salvation), Andreas Brobjer (Lady Gaga), Jonas Reingold (Flower Kings, Karmakanic) and many more…

His first solo album 'Lead Guitar', released in 2002 when Johan was only 14 years old, was written and produced by Mattias IA Eklundh from Freak Kitchen. It soon led to Johan's second release 'Version 2.0' in 2005, this time with Johan as co-writer together with producer Christian Alsing. 'Lead guitar' was a succes in Asia and Japan and with his second album, he toured in Japan together with Freak Kitchen were he also recorded a guitar DVD for 'Young Guitar', the biggest guitar magazine in Japan. Johan has been endorsed by both Yamaha and Elexir Strings and currently he is endorsed by Fender Guitars.

Oliver Wakeman News

From The Oliver Wakeman Mailing List:

As always seems to happen, when the website shows no activity that usually means that there is plenty going on in the background!

These last two months have been quite exciting and frustrating in equal measures but that's part of the creative process I guess!

Plans are moving forward for the release of Cultural Vandals and possibly some of my back catalogue too which could be very interesting. It would be great to get some of my albums which have been out of print for a while available again. But we will have a better idea over the next few months as to how and when these releases are going to take place.

Gordon Giltrap and I have been working really hard on our new project and a press release about the tour is due at the end of May with tour details for the first leg.

There are to be two legs, the first in late 2012 and the second in 2013 where we will hope to play some European dates too. Nothing is planned for the US at the moment unfortunately, but if the album is well received we would certainly like to play in other countries other than the UK.

The tour will be Gordon and myself performing as a duo but we may well put together a full band show if the album is well received and there is sufficient interest.

The album itself is taking shape really nicely and there is a great balance of songs and instrumentals. It has been really nice to work with a artist who gives me a lot a freedom and free reign to experiment with his ideas and some of the results have really surprised me. We have come up with some really interesting and accessible music which should please people hopefully.

All the music has now been written and we are now at the arrangement stage where we sit and listen to everything in its demo format and decide if there are sections which don't work as well as they should, whether a vocal line needs changing, whether a development of an idea should take place etc. We are also hoping that the line up of the musicians on the album will be decided upon over the next month or two and then we can start looking into the recording portion of the project.

It is a very rewarding point to have arrived at as this album has really taken over our lives for the last few months. I've really enjoyed working with Gordon, he's very easy going, very focused and, like myself, determined to make this an album that stands out as a special moment in our respective careers. I really can't wait for people to hear it but I know I've a lot of work ahead of me to get there, but it's work I love doing and I believe it will be worth the wait.

The proposed release for the album is towards the end of this year or early next year, but it all depends on which company takes the project and where it fits into their release schedule.

I 'tweet' regularly about the process (as you may have seen from the Twitter feed on the home page) and I am grateful for all the responses and suggestions I receive (even if I don't get time to reply to them all for which I apologise!). If you want to follow me directly then please do so with the following twitter name - @OliverWakeman.

The website has been updated with some photos from the CRS awards night (for which I was the guest presenter) and I will also be posting some pictures of Gordon and I when he is next here for a recording session. I have also just received a copy of the magazine Rock Society which features an indepth interview with me about my work with Yes, Strawbs and the forthcoming albums and projects.

I have also recorded a radio interview with Roman from which will be broadcast soon. We'll let you know when it is due to air but my section on the show will be about an hour in length including music from the various albums I've been involved with.

So in between meetings, interviews, awards ceremonies, the occasional session and writing the album with Gordon...I've also been spending a lot of time buying baby stuff for our new daughter who is due in early July, although my wife is insistent that she will be earlier than that!

Told you I've been busy!

All the best, Oliver.


 From the folks at PROGDAY:

"They have mixed Zappa, Etron Fou Leloublan, King Crimson, Adrian Belew,
Gong, Magma, the psychedelic, avant-garde, to concoct a musical machine...
zany and crazy, which has freed itself from many formal conventions...
Everyone is unanimous in recognizing the talent and boundless imagination of
these musicians." - Harmonie Magazine

"...a jewel that is reassuring about the ability of some of today’s
artists to think outside of the box, and offer up music that is both different
and fearless." - Progressia Magazine

The foundations of French band JACK DUPON go back to 2001, but it wasn't
until 2006 that the group surfaced with their first release, L'Africain
Disparu. Already the audacity and spirit that defines JACK DUPON was in place.
Since then they have developed a reputation for exceptional live shows
("Best Band," Brugheas festival, 2007; 4th Prize out of 1800 entrants and "Best
Bassist," Bilborock festival, Spain, 2007) and released eclectic, creative
and acclaimed albums: L'Echelle du Désir in 2008 (Top 50 albums of the
year, ‘Délire Musical,’ CFLX-FM, Quebec), and Démon Hardï in 2011 (#1
Progressive Rock CD, Arlequins). Bascule á Vif is a recent two-disc set capturing
the energy of JACK DUPON live.

After their performance at the 2010 preshow, we received many requests to
host them at Storybook Farm. The audience will be in for a treat when JACK
DUPON takes the main stage at ProgDay 2012.

JACK DUPON will join Accordo Dei Contrari (Italy) and Birdsongs Of The
Mesozoic (US) at ProgDay 2012, the 18th edition of the longest running
progressive rock festival in the world. ProgDay 2012 will take place on Saturday,
September 1st, and Sunday, September 2nd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill,
North Carolina. For more information, and to hear music from this year's
bands, please visit PROGDAY at

May News Bytes

  • Wednesday May 9th sees the start of legendary guitarist Michael Schenker’s “Temple of Rock” UK tour. These shows mark the first time Schenker’s touring band will feature two ex-Scorpions members – Herman Rarebill (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass). Vocalist Doogie White (ex-Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen) and MSG keyboardist, Wayne Findlay complete the line-up. 
  • Steve Hackett is in the process of recording a sequel to Genesis Revisited, his tribute released in 1996, followed by a world tour.

Rick Wakeman Biography 'Caped Crusader, Rick Wakeman In The 1970s' with Foreword by Elton John Now Available!

5/3/2012 - London, UK – Gonzo Media Group has just released 'Caped Crusader, Rick Wakeman In The 1970s' by veteran author, broadcaster and journalist, Dan Wooding, with a foreword by Elton John.

The book, the authorized biography of Rick Wakeman, who is arguably the world's greatest rock keyboardist, is lavishly illustrated with dozens of photos from Wakeman's extraordinary career which includes the time his career took off when he joined the folk group, Strawbs, in 1969, and played on three of their albums.

But the ultimate accolade - the biggest break of Rick's career at that time - came shortly afterwards when a giant picture of Wakeman filled the front page of the Melody Maker in London, England, with the headline, "Tomorrow's Superstar?"

The article said: "This is the man Keith Emerson hired a box at London's Lyceum to hear. Since the twenty-one-year-old keyboard virtuoso joined the group [Strawbs], along with Ford and Hudson, [and] they've evolved into one of the most exciting bands of the folk-rock scene."

Wooding's book also includes fascinating descriptions of his several excursions with the British super group, Yes, and his many themed solo albums, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1973), Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974) and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1975).

Richard Christopher Wakeman (born May 18, 1949), was trained at the Royal College of Music in London, where he also went on to feature on songs by artists including Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, T. Rex, Elton John and Cat Stevens.

Wakeman has produced over 100 solo albums that have sold more than 50 million copies.

Elton John, in his foreword for the book, said, "Rick's mastery of electronic instruments only adds to his abilities, and I think it is fair to say he was one of the reasons I stuck to the piano. I also admire his attitude to stage shows - always willing to take a gamble, but never sacrificing his musical ideals. Just as important, never losing his sense of humour and his sense of the ridiculous. Anyone who can put on an ice show at Wembley must be all right. I must add that Rick loves cars and is a fanatic when it comes to soccer. Therefore, he and I have an unbreakable bond.

"It has become fashionable to knock musicians who have been around a while, and who are still determined to persevere in what they believe in. It is very easy to be misunderstood along the way, but it is vital to ignore trends and get on with what you want to do. Rick will always do this because, quite simply, he's that much better than everyone else."

Wooding, 71, founder of ASSIST and the ASSIST News Service (, and the author of 45 books, was the first journalist to ever write a story about Rick Wakeman. It occurred more than 40 years ago while he was working on a local newspaper in Ealing, West London.

"I was looking for stories for the paper and had just called in on a shop called the Musical Bargain Centre in South Ealing Road, and it was then that I heard someone playing amazing keyboards at the back of the store," said Wooding. "I waited until he had finished and then talked with him. That person was Rick Wakeman and he told me that he was then a student at the Royal College of Music in London and was also doing sessions with different musicians. He told me had had just played piano on and arranged Morning Has Broken for Cat Stevens and also played Mellotron on Space Oddity for David Bowie. Both went on to become number 1 hits both in the UK and the USA.

"Rick told me that he had never been interviewed before, so I wrote up the story for the paper and we became best friends. He invited me to his home in Northolt and I sat there spellbound as he played for me on his home piano. I had never heard anything like it.

"I shared with him a little about my background, explaining to him that I was born of missionary parents in Nigeria, and it was then that Rick told me that he was also a Christian and had been baptized at South Harrow Baptist Church and, at that time, was also a Sunday School teacher there.

"As his career blossomed, I went on to write his authorized biography,  and this latest one, which contains some updates, has been reissued along with Elton John's foreword, and the three of us even had our picture taken together at Brentford F.C. for the back cover of the book."

Wooding, who now lives in Southern California, added, "Rick and I have remained close friends for all these years and he has also performed several concerts for ASSIST in the United States.

"I am delighted that his incredible story, or at least the earlier part of it, can be told again for those in this new generation, who possibly don't know too much about the 'Grumpy Old Man' that they see on British TV, will be able to learn about his incredible talents as a keyboard player, composer and songwriter."

Why the title? Wooding says it comes from the fact that the blond figure of Wakeman would wrap his glittering shimmering cape around his giant frame and head on stage at arenas around the world to start another incredible performance on his battery of electronic keyboards.

And, even today, the "Caped Crusader" continues to push back the limits of music with his extraordinary talents.