Sing-Along With The Dead Daisies

THE DEAD DAISIES

THE DEAD DAISIES; press photo

The Dead Daisies, a virtual cornucopia of musicians from 70s and 80s rock bands, are finally peddling their songs with headlining shows around the U.S. stopping at El Rey Theatre Aug. 25 and House of Blues/San Diego Aug. 26.

Founded by songwriter / guitarist David Lowy in 2012, the musical collective currently includes vocalist John Corabi (Mötley Crüe / Union), bassist Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy / Whitesnake), drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake / Billy Idol) and lead guitarist Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake / Dio).

Although the inspiration for the band name may seem a bit morbid, (it came about when the original lead singer discovered he had heart issues and a doctor said, “you got to start taking care of yourself or you’re gonna be pushing up daisies”), the music and live show are all about having fun.

“The thing is, when you listen to a studio record you check out the songs and it’s all about the songs,” Aldrich reasoned. “But, when you hear a live record you really get to know the personality of the band behind the songs.

“We have a lot of fun and that’s what our show is all about, having fun together with the audience, the people involved in the show, singing with us. We definitely have a lot of interaction with the crowd. It’s fun.”

THE DEAD DAISIES

THE DEAD DAISIES; press photo

As the newest member of the group, joining a year ago, Aldrich hit the ground running contributing to both a studio album and a live album, while also playing over 100 shows around the world.

“We jumped right into writing the last studio record and then we toured a lot last year,” Aldrich said.

“While we were on tour it got to the point where we were just really kind of firing on all cylinders and decided to record and then ultimately release the live stuff. So, it’s been a whirlwind but it’s good.”

The band co-wrote Make Some Noise together, something Aldrich discovered he really enjoys. As a member of Whitesnake, he and David Coverdale wrote over 30 songs together, spending weeks coming up with stuff and making decisions before giving it to the rest of the band.

“But it’s actually easier when you have five people together plus a producer,” Aldrich admits. “Everyone has a vested interest in the musical ideas so everyone puts their best forth and then the producer basically says, ‘I like this, this, this and this…’

“When there’s more people involved and everyone is interested in it and everyone is part of the band it makes for a good product.”

The live setlist primarily features songs that were penned once Aldrich joined the group but, there are a couple of songs from Revolucion and a song from the self-titled debut album which originally featured Slash, as well as a few rock-n-roll covers.

One of Aldrich’s favorite songs to play live is “The Last Time I Saw the Sun”.

“It’s a song that I do a slide tuning for and it’s just got a good groove to it,” Aldrich noted. “It’s got a nice kind of rock-n-roll sing-along chorus. But I also like “Make Some Noise”, too, because it’s really simple and people definitely respond to it.

“But we basically are supporting the live record. We want people to go away and when they hear the record they go, ‘oh that’s how the night went for me, too. It was a fun, sing-along. I remember the set’.”

The guys in the band were all friends before they started working together and get along great. They hang out together on the road, eat together, joke around a lot, and give each other space when needed.

“Everybody has different things they’re into, for example, Brian Tichy has to find a Starbucks coffee or else it could ruin his day,” Aldrich chuckled. “Fortunately, Starbucks is pretty much everywhere.

“We were in Argentina and for some reason the map on the phone would say there was a Starbucks and we would walk up to it but there wouldn’t be one, it would be some other coffee place. We didn’t want other coffee, we wanted Starbucks.

“So, we kept walking. We walked for miles and miles for probably an hour and a half. I don’t know how many miles, but we walked. We kept getting directions, ‘it’s just around the corner’. Finally, we found it and we took a picture. It was raining and we took a picture of us looking triumphant when we found the Starbucks.”

Be sure to get your tickets and come out to support The Dead Daisies on one of their first headlining shows in the U.S.!

The Alarm Summer In America

THE ALARM

THE ALARM play The Casbah Aug 15, The Coach House Aug 16, The Canyon Aug 17; press photo

The Alarm have been crazy busy in America this summer with a ton of live shows including dates on Vans Warped Tour as well as their own headlining gigs not to mention a new documentary.

“It’s great, we love being on tour and playing our music,” founding member, Mike Peters said. “We’re lucky to be alive and playing music in 2017.”

With a multitude of dates in SoCal such as The Casbah Aug. 15 and The Canyon Aug. 17, it’s The Coach House on Aug 16 that Peters has a great affinity with in Orange County.

“It’s a special place in some ways ‘cause it’s where the last Alarm gig with the original lineup took place,” Peters recalled. “The audiences have come with all the changes that have gone on and rallied round and supported me as a solo artist and have been there for me. It’s a bit of a home away from home.”

This time The Alarm is performing as a full band with Peters’ sons helping the crew with the show and setting up equipment.

“They’re on the summer holidays and they’re both musicians,” Peters mentioned. “They’re having an amazing time. They’re loving it.”

Vans Warped Tour has a certain reputation of bands and genres that at first glance seemed at odds with a group such as The Alarm. However, the audiences have been very receptive and they’ve increased their social media followers.

“It’s been a challenge, of course, but we’re still a modern band and can mix it up,” Peters explained. “It’s breathed a lot of life blood into the group.

THE ALARM

THE ALARM

“Seeing how young bands play and react in modern times has been good for us. It’s never good to re-tread old ground. It’s always great to take up challenges. And I’m sure the Vans Warped Tour will really inform the future of the group and keep us relevant. It keeps us in the modern context which is what we always strive for.”

For a band that first toured America in 1983, creating a 25-minute set out of their huge wealth of music required great discipline.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us to get together and think about how we put our music across and I think we came up with a great set,” Peters said. “We get 11 or 12 songs in, a really good representation of where we came from. It comes over great as far as I’m concerned.”

Peters often refers to a 1976 Sex Pistols concert and hearing “Anarchy in The U.K.” as inspiration for wanting to learn how to make music himself.

“I got a guitar from a guy that my sister was going out with and he showed me how to play a couple of chords and I never looked back,” Peters recalled. “I just played along to records in my bedroom and tried to go see bands when I could.

“I grew up on glam rock – David Bowie, Marc Bolan and TREX, Slade, Sweet, those kind of bands in Britain. And when it became Punk rock it was The Clash, The Pistols, Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Buzzcocks. The purest song would be a three-minute punk rock single, that was what I loved the best.”

Today, the songwriting is inspired by his life and what he’s been through. Both Peters and his wife are Cancer survivors and he has been living with leukemia for 21 years.

“Music has kept me strong, kept me one step ahead of the disease and allowed me to become a father and a musician. I have a charity called Love, Hope, Strength, we give a lot back through that to society and like I said, I’m very lucky to be alive and play music in 2017.”

When it comes to the actual songwriting, it’s usually the music that comes before the lyrics. But it’s all jumpstarted by a phrase.

“Somebody says something to you or you read something or hear something and that triggers something in your imagination that makes you want to say something and that becomes the title and then the lyrics flow from there.

“I think after you have a phrase then the music instantly follows. You can hear it all in your imagination straight away just because you’ve given birth to it.”

Following the exposure Peters has enjoyed being around a lot of modern bands and seeing a little bit of what’s going on with the next generation, Concert Guide Live was curious what sort of advice he had for bands starting out today.

“Stay off the internet. Go underground. Do it with posters and aim at your own audience. Don’t try to be global before you become local.
“If you’re gonna make it, you’re gonna make it. Don’t be on the internet a lot. You’re better off staying off the grid. Be punk rock, go underground, you go dark, people will find you.”

Colin Hay And His Band Of Immigrants Embark On SoCal Driving Tour

Colin Hay

COLIN HAY plays Belly Up Jul 19 & 20, The Coach House Jul 21, Wiens Family Cellars Jul 28, Microsoft Theater Jul 29; photo Sebastian Smith

With a string of soon to be sold out shows in and around SoCal, Colin Hay is at the top of his game as a solo artist. Once the lead singer for 80s group Men At Work, well-known for their inescapable song “Down Under”, Hay has continued to sing and write while touring the world.

Check out his witty, tongue-in-cheek replies to questions about social media, his first live performance ever, the poet Robert Burns and more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: You have a string of dates coming up, hitting the nooks and crannies of SoCal, what do you like about playing here?
COLIN HAY: Well I love living in California, and have been here for almost 30 years, so it’s nice to play at home. And, this is a driving tour. You can drive right to the gig, and wheel your gear in, on the day of the show, instead of having to drive to the airport, and take your shoes off and lift your arms above your head, you know the drill. And, I get to play with my fabulous band of immigrants.

CGL: Was there a specific moment when you realized you wanted to do music and perform it in front of people?
CH: When I was 14 and singing in a band at a local social event, a girl came down the front, and watched me sing. She gave me a curious look of interest. Need I say more?

CGL: What can you recall about your first live performance – and where/when was it?
CH: On the Fairstar ship, on the way from the UK to Australia in June 1967. There was a talent contest, I didn’t win.

CGL: What sort of a setlist will you be playing for the fans?
CH: Old songs, new songs, and those in between.

Colin Hay

Colin Hay; photo Sebastian Smith

CGL: What do you like to do right before you go onstage?
CH: Well, unlike boxers, I like if possible, to have some kind of erotic experience before I go onstage. It rarely happens, but whenever it has, I’ve always had a good show. Failing that, I do some vocal warm ups.

CGL: What are your thoughts on social media and the 21st century in general, regarding the music industry?
CH: Social media is part of everyone’s lives it would seem, and it’s important to have some some kind of relationship with it. I drop in and out, I seem to not have too much time to devote to it personally. I like to daydream a lot, and look at the clouds, the white fluffy ones, as opposed to the one that holds all my digital information.

As far as the music industry is concerned, there are many factions vying for, and trying to figure out how to carve up the somewhat diminished revenues from album sales, digital streaming etc. It remains to be seen, and is still in process. It can be strongly argued that artists and the creators of music are not receiving their fair due, but then again, this could always be argued, right from the beginning of the commercialization of art. We shall see.

CGL: Since you have been a writer for numerous years, I imagine you could come up with an interesting reply to “If you could be anyone other than yourself, living or deceased, who would it be and why?”
CH: Perhaps Robert Burns from Ayrshire, the Scottish poet, who lived at the end of the 1700s, and wrote a vast amount of brilliant poems and songs. He was also loved by a number of women in his full yet short life. Dead at 37.

He was ahead of his time, and to quote a verse from his poem “To a Mouse”
“I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!”

More true today than it ever was.

CGL: As a final question, what other interests do you have outside of music?
CH: Staying alive for as long as possible, certainly for as long as I can remember how to get home.

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
CH: Not a thing, I think I’ve said enough.

If you don’t already have a ticket get one now for any one of these local shows: Belly Up Jul 19 and Jul 20, The Coach House Jul 21, The Cave Jul 22, Wiens Family Cellars Jul 28, and the Microsoft Theater Jul 29.

Portugal. The Man Rebels For Kicks

PORTUGAL. THE MAN

PORTUGAL. THE MAN play HOB/Anaheim Jul 27, Palladium Jul 29 & 30; photo Maclay Heriot

In a perfect world, Portugal. The Man’s catchy single, “Feel It Still”, would be the song of the summer, blasting out of car radios, iPads, retail playlists, etc. It’s short, sweet, and makes you want to hit “repeat”, kick up your heels and shake your booty.

With six previous albums to draw from as well as music from their latest release Woodstock, you don’t want to miss one of their upcoming SoCal shows – Jul 27 HOB/Anaheim or Jul 30 Hollywood Palladium (Jul 29 at the Palladium is already sold out!)

Woodstock is their long anticipated followup to 2013’s Evil Friends which featured the songs “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” (with Haim on backing vocals) and the title track “Evil Friends” which was prominently used in a Taco Bell commercial.

During this gap between albums, the band wrote tons of songs and tried to make an album called Gloomin + Doomin but they just couldn’t quite put it together. So how did they remedy this situation? They threw it all out and started over!

This time it worked naturally, with John Hill (In the Mountain in the Cloud), Danger Mouse (Evil Friends), Mike D (Everything Cool) and long time collaborator Casey Bates involved. Apparently, the title is a nod to an original 1969 Woodstock ticket stub owned by vocalist John Gourley’s father.

So, pick up the new album, grab a ticket to one of the upcoming shows, and put your dancing shoes on. The Summer 2017 Tour is here!

Just Give In And Check Out Hazel English

hazel english

HAZEL ENGLISH plays Bootleg Theater Jul 19; photo Andy Ortega

Hazel English will stop by Bootleg Theater for one night Jul 17 with a new EP Just Give In / Never Going Home under her wing.

Concert Guide Live reached out to Hazel English prior to her string of SoCal dates in February of this year to find out more about her songwriting, performing and her live band.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: When did you realize you wanted to be a performer and play in front of people?
HAZEL ENGLISH: I think I’ve always wanted to be a performer. I used to be a gymnast and a dancer from a young age so I think there’s always been a part of me that enjoyed performing for people. But it wasn’t until I was about 16 that I actually started to play music for people.

CGL: I believe you were born in Australia, what effect, if any, do you think it had on your music?
HZ: I’m not sure growing up in Australia has really had a strong effect on my music because I’ve always listened to music from other places, mainly British music actually. In Australia there is still a huge influence from the US and the UK when it comes to the music industry.

CGL: Much of your lyrical content is questioning, searching, and full of uncertainty yet the music is dreamy and somewhat relaxing, almost meditative. Is this contradiction a conscious effort or just the way your songwriting works out?
HZ:I don’t really analyze my own songwriting process, I feel like I’m already neurotic enough as it is. Though I do think that in having a dreamier, more mellow vibe, it’s easier to say difficult things without creating a really sad sounding song. I also just prefer to listen to dreamy types of music and I tend to write about what troubles me, so I guess you could say it’s just those two things coming together.

hazel english

Hazel English; photo Andy Ortega

CGL: Do you write both the lyrics and music? Which comes first?
HZ: It’s not a strict rule but I generally come up with a melody and/or chord progression first and then I will find lyrics to fit. Though sometimes it all happens at once and that can feel really magical.

CGL: Who is in your live band, and what do they play?
HZ: David Vieira plays guitar and keys, Eric Sugatan plays bass/synth & Liam O’Neill plays drums. We’re all really close friends, which makes it even more special to me. I feel lucky to have such a great band for the live show.

CGL: Tell me about one of your favorite songs from your EP.
HZ: I would say my favourite song is “Never Going Home”. It was the first song I wrote and recorded for the EP. I had no expectations or pre-meditations so it felt kind of pure in a sense. I wrote it in the studio and we recorded it really fast, so there was no time to second-guess myself.

CGL: What’s next on the horizon for 2017?
HZ: Getting ready to go on my first U.S. headline tour, which I’m really excited about. Also working on some new material which is always fun! I expect it’s going to be a busy year.

CGL: What do you like to do when you’re not playing?
HZ: I love reading sci-fi novels. I just finished reading “Fahrenheit 451” which I’ve heard is a book most people read in high school but I didn’t. I also really enjoy biking if it’s a nice day out.

Pinky Pinky Jump Start The Night

pinky pinky

Anastasia Sanchez of Pinky Pinky; photo James Christopher

Local teens, Pinky Pinky, had fun while remaining serious about playing their music at The Constellation Room. First of two bands on the bill for The Strokes’ Nick Valensi’s current band CRX, Pinky Pinky played to what began as a low-keyed audience of early arrivers. But, as their set progressed, some “whoops” and hollers erupted from the crowd.

It was hard not to admire this young female trio. Bassist Eva Chambers had some low-down, almost bluesy chops that complemented the deep, sultry voice of drummer/vocalist Anastasia Sanchez. Pony-tail flipping back and forth as she beat out the rhythms, her big eyes and captivating smile made it difficult to look away.

pinky pinky

Isabelle Fields of Pinky Pinky; photo James Christopher

But, when guitarist Isabelle Fields would go into one of her many solos, I had to watch and admire the natural skill and her ability not to rush. It made me wonder what records her parents listened to and if it had a subtle influence on her tone and style. A throw-back to early 70s rock guitar, her riffs and rhythms led me to toe-tapping and made the young men near me start dancing to the music.

Looking comfy but natural, two of the band members dressed in retro gas station attendant/car repair mechanic attire. Sanchez work pink jeans with her white short-sleeve shirt that read “California Towing” on the back while Fields wore a blue jumpsuit that had her ready to crawl under a car to begin repairs.

pinky pinky

Eva Chambers of Pinky Pinky; photo James Christopher

When the last song of the short but strong set was announced, the audience responded with a resounding “No!”, followed by genuine thunderous applause.

In fact, the audience managed to stop them from picking up their gear and leaving the stage, insisting they play one more. Looking slightly embarrassed and unsure, they obliged with one more song.

Keep an eye out for Pinky Pinky and watch their musicianship continue to develop and grow. You won’t be disappointed.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Play Around SoCal

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY play The Coach House Jul 8; photo James Christopher

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy bring their full ensemble to perform their throwback swing music at The Coach House Jul 7 and The Cave Jul 8. The Coach House has been fortunate to have Big Bad Voodoo Daddy perform on a somewhat regular basis.

“It’s just a fun, old concert venue. It’s been there for a long time. Everybody has played there,” Marhevka said. “The reason we’re able to perform there more often is because we’re a Southern California based band so I think it’s a little easier for us to schedule that in around our touring schedule. You’ll see a lot of great artists play there all the time. It’s one of those fun, classic, American music halls.”

Scotty Morris, guitar/vocals, and Kurt Sodergren, drums formed the nine-piece band in 1993. The rest of the members joined soon after bringing a mix of woodwind instruments, a double bass, and piano to the mix. In the 1990’s they became one of the prominent bands of the swing revival with their combination of jazz, swing and Dixieland music.

Back when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy first started to play live, they were often greeted by stages too small to fit the whole band.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; photo James Christopher

“Up in San Francisco we used to play Club Deluxe which we couldn’t even fit on at all. So half of the band had to stand on the floor,” Marhevka recalled. “We’ve been so tight on stage it’s been difficult but we always make it happen!”

One of their most notorious singles, “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”, was featured in the soundtrack for the film “Swingers”, as well as “I Wan’na Be Like You” and “Go Daddy-O”.

This success led to three albums on Capitol Records, the platinum selling, “Americana Deluxe,” and the follow up albums, “This Beautiful Life,” and “Save My Soul.”

The group recently released a new album Louie, Louie, Louie, their first since 2013’s Christmas album It Feels Like Christmas which features both traditional and original Christmas songs.

“We’ll be doing stuff from all of our albums,” said Marhevka. “We’ll kind of do an eclectic mix of everything.”

Featured Video – TIMMY’S ORGANISM “Back In the Dungeon”

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King Crimson Brings Musical Circus Act To SoCal

KING CRIMSON

KING CRIMSON plays Humphrey’s By the Bay Jun 19 and Greek Theater Jun 21; press photo

King Crimson is in the midst of their 2017 U.S. tour intriguingly called the “Radical Action Tour” perhaps as a nod to the three-part song of the same name. They’ll be stopping at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles which is somewhat of a homecoming.

“I know King Crimson used to play there way back when I joined the band in the 80s,” bassist Tony Levin recalled. “That was our L.A. venue.

“It’s a sophisticated audience and we have a lot of fans there.”

Concert Guide Live spoke with Levin about the fascination of watching three drummers perform, cell phone taboo, David Bowie and a whole lot more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: So, was last night the first night of the U.S. tour?
TONY LEVIN: Yes and no. Really the first concert is tonight. But last night, as we usually like to do with King Crimson, we like to do a full-dress run-through concert. We call it a friends and family show. In essence, it’s a real show but it’s not public. So here in Seattle we had more than a few friends and family, I think there were 600 people. It was a full show in every sense but it wasn’t the beginning of the tour.

Like everything with King Crimson the answer is not the normal.

CGL: It sounds like it went well, did you get enough sleep?
TL: I did get enough sleep, thank you, and it did go very well. It went a little long, it was over three hours. I’m guessing that we’re going to shorten the show a little bit from tonight on but we’ll see. Actually, Robert Fripp, our leader, makes up the set list each morning and presents it to us in the afternoon because we have a wealth of material that we can do. We like to do a lot of it but we can’t do all of it each night so I won’t know what tonight’s set will be like until this afternoon when I arrive at soundcheck.

CGL: I was going to ask if you were going to play pretty much the same set each night, but I guess not!
TL: No! For sure not. This tour we’re doing a lot of one-nighters. I think even with one-nighters we’ll change it from night to night. I don’t mean the set will be completely different. As I said, we have a lot of material to consider presenting.

CGL: Does the band take a break during the set or play on through?
TL: I can’t say what the show in Los Angeles will be like but here where we have time to do the full three hours that we want to do, there is an intermission in the middle.

CGL: In regard to the current live lineup, is it an eight piece and are there 3 drummers?
TL: Yes, it is an eight-piece and yes there are three drummers. In a way, there are four drummers [laughs]. We have four drummers in the band but this tour we’re only having three of them play. Bill Rieflin, a drummer who also plays very good keyboards, is playing keyboards on this tour.

For one reason is we have to figure out a way to get four drum kits on the stage. And for another reason, all of the drum parts over the last few years have been very elaborately devised to be divided among three drummers. So, it’s going to be a major re-write to have four drummers but we might do that in the future.

But right now, there are three drummers and they are presented in the front row of the stage so when the audience looks up they see drums across the entire stage. And on a riser behind them are the other five of us. If it sounds like a circus act it is a musical circus act.

I know I can’t help but watch the drummers. It’s a fascinating thing to see the way they’ve divided up the parts. They really don’t pound out the same part ever. They have a number of strategies. Even within one song, they have a number of very interesting strategies and the audience can easily follow along even if they’re not paying attention to the rest of the music which is also pretty special, I think.

We have a lot going on and what I really value about the Crimson show is all these things are very different than other bands. It’s not easy even if you’re a progressive band, quote/unquote, it’s not easy to do things that haven’t been done before, that a lot of bands aren’t doing. King Crimson really is involved in trying very hard to do that in all ways with our music.

Even if King Crimson is presenting a lot of classic King Crimson material from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and 2000s, and also some new material and also some improv, even though we’re doing that we’re doing that in a way of not just playing it the way it was. We’re trying to re-interpret it and do everything as if it’s new music being played by a band that really is progressive and forward-thinking.

CGL: I noticed you’re playing the Greek Theatre and Humphrey’s in San Diego which are both outdoor places, will there be a light show or stage show, as well, or is it just music?
TL: How shall I put this? [laughs] It’s unusual. There isn’t a big light show in fact there’s a noticeable lack of light show but there is a lighting change. One. So, yes and no. Yes, there is a light show but in a way there isn’t a light show.

I think the nature of this band is there’s a lot to listen to and there’s a lot to watch in the interaction among the players and of course the drummers in the front row. But we’re not trying to distract the audience with production.

I think also in a way it’s kind of unusual that we do what bands would like to do, but don’t often do – we insist that the audience not take pictures with cell phones and videos and not lessen the experience of the other people in the audience by distracting them with their cell phones. We have a pretty well-enforced rule – no taking pictures and no videos – until the very end when I pick up my camera, because I love to take pictures of the show of the audience.

I can tell from looking at my pictures every night of the audience many of them are waiting and very happy to take out their cameras at the end and take pictures of us. That’s what I see in my pictures – a whole lot of people taking pictures of me.

It hasn’t been an easy road trying to insist that the audience do that but it’s been very worthwhile. We try to do our best to have our music at the highest level we can and it’s a good feeling to know it’s not being utterly messed up by somebody holding their camera in front of somebody else.

CGL: King Crimson recently covered Bowie’s “Heroes”, just curious what that song means to you personally?
TL: For me, of course it was a rough year losing David Bowie and I had played on a couple of his albums most recently The Next Day. So, like all fans that was a big emotional thing last year.

Last year Robert decided to add “Heroes” as a surprise encore to our German shows. And for those who don’t know that song “Heroes”, the original recording had a very distinct guitar solo by Robert Fripp. It’s the only piece we do that wasn’t written by King Crimson. Musically it’s quite a big surprise because it’s so simple compared to the very complex King Crimson pieces that we do.

It was a nice counterpoint and wonderful to hear live and in person Robert doing that sound and that wonderful distinctive thing that he had done on that record so long ago.

CGL: Speaking of Bowie, you worked with him as well as Lou Reed, what was it like working with them? How did they differ?
TL: Very different. I only worked with Lou Reed when I played on the Berlin album in one of those typical studio situations that’s not the most gratifying. I didn’t even meet him, he wasn’t there when I played bass on a track or two. A producer brought me in. I’m pleased to have been on that record but it wasn’t a musical interaction of any kind.

Later I met him when I was part of a movie, a Paul Simon movie that Lou Reed was in. I met him and interacted with him and that was great.

With David Bowie however, like I said, I played on a couple of albums and I was just so impressed with what a good musician he is. In addition, of course, to being a great performer, a great artist, a great writer. You wouldn’t know it, necessarily, seeing him on stage because he’s focused on his singing. But a really excellent pianist and he can really run the band.

The way he brought in that material to that album The Next Day he just laid it down for us. He played it perfectly each time and sang it perfectly. And as a side man or a musician collaborating on a record that’s what you want. You don’t want to be searching for the tempo and the feel. When it’s all given to you and all you have to do is find your part, everything moves along smoothly and well. That happened very much and it’s a testament to his talent that he could do that in addition to all the other things.

CGL: Considering your longevity in the music industry, what advice do you have for bands that are starting out today?
TL: That’s a challenging question. I’m more inclined to get advice from people who are doing well [laughs]. I treasure the playing and the directions of people who do things different than me. I’m not a band who started out and succeeded as that. You are correct, I do have longevity in the music industry but I’m very much a bass player.

I know as a musician there are many ways to do it. But what I have in common with a lot of the musicians that I work with is that we always, only, wanted to play music. That was the only option for us. And I think some other people who have other options, have in their journey gone off to the other options.

Even though music is very satisfying and gratifying, there are a lot of challenges and there’s a lot of disillusionment on the road to becoming successful as a musician.

And what I’ve experienced is it’s a wonderful career, a wonderful thing to do just to go around and share your music with people as a living and being able to do that your whole life. I consider myself a very lucky person to have been able to do that.

Sons Of Texas To Raise Hell In SoCal

SONS OF TEXAS

SONS OF TEXAS plays The Parish at House of Blues Jun 16, Whisky Jun 17, Observatory North Park Jun 18; photo Chris Phelps

Sons of Texas will headline The Parish at House of Blues Anaheim on Jun 16 then open for Hellyeah at the Whisky A Go Go Jun 17 and again at the Observatory North Park Jun 18. They are currently in the midst of a U.S. tour, part of which was with Fozzy and Kyng.

“The guys in Fozzy were real good to us and Kyng are fun to hang out with,” guitarist Jes De Hoyos commented.

Hailing from McAllen, Texas, De Hoyos notes “that’s about as deep south as you can go in the United States.”

They were naturally brought up with a variety of cultures that all played a part in the music they create, which centers around hard rock and a little bit of metal.

“We’ve got some groove in our music, we’ve got some of the blues and some rock,” De Hoyos said. “I think when you tie it all together it creates the sound that we have.”

As a next generation of bands from Texas, Sons of Texas is a fitting name as their music is often referenced to other bands from the state.

Sons of Texas

Sons of Texas

“Before we were called Texas but that name was already taken so we had to come up with something,” De Hoyos recalled. “We would play shows locally and we kept getting referenced that we sound like this or we sound like that and a lot of the bands that would be referenced would be Texas bands. So, we just started to call ourselves like a NexGen kind of thing.”

Their debut album, Baptized In The Rio Grande”, was released in 2015 on Razor & Tie and a new one is completed and ready to be released later this year, also produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, All That Remains, Hatebreed).

“It’s been great working with him so far,” De Hoyos said. “You know the first album was awesome. It kind of doesn’t even feel like work sometimes. It feels like dudes hanging out. [laughs] It makes for a good workflow and I think we get things done like that.”

Everyone contributes to the songwriting – De Hoyos, Jon Olivares (guitar), Mike Villareal (drums), Nick Villareal (bass) – while most of the lyrics are penned by vocalist, Mark Morales.

“Typically, I’d say nine times out of ten it starts with a riff,” De Hoyos explained. “Jon or myself will come up with an idea and we’ll try to build on that and if everything flows naturally then we keep going until we’re finished. We just feed whatever feels good, pretty much.”