The Heavy Thunder Of Uriah Heep Strikes SoCal

URIAH HEEP play The Coach House Apr. 19: press photo

URIAH HEEP play The Coach House Apr. 19: press photo

As one of the founders of the ‘eavy metal sound, Uriah Heep has paved a road filled with experimentation, progressive ideas, and rich sounds that has garnered them love and praise since their inception in 1969.

For those who are not aware, their name comes from a character in the novel “David Copperfield”. And the origin of their formation went a little like this: “How did the band start? It got started by us playing our instruments,” laughs co-founder/lead guitarist, Mick Box.
“How does any band start? You start in a band, and you form, and change members until you find a combination that you like. And we found that in 1970 and improved on that by about 1972. And that was the one that would be termed the band that had the most success at the time. So, we came out with Heep, Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Zeppelin all at the same time.”

That was over forty years ago and is a testament to their staying power to still be going strong today. According to Box, “We still have the same passion and energy for what we do, mate. Music is our life. And we are lucky enough to have had songs that stood the test of time, that people still like hearing in the live arena, which allows us to tour in 61 countries. It’s marvelous, something that is your job to travel around the world like that, it could be no better. We never forget how lucky we are.”

Having such a long and intense history, it could be hard to narrow a single standout moment. Yet for Box, there is one highlight: “I think of the standout moments it would be that we were the first western rock band to play in Russia, in December 1987. We were invited over there by glasnost; and we went over there and played to 180,000 people. Just a marvelous experience considering what you were taught in school about Russians. We had no idea how big we were over there through our music, which they could only get access through the black market.”

Every band typically has songs that they like to play.

“We leave that to the fans, Box said. “I mean, generally fans let you know exactly what their favorites are. They usually range from “Gypsy” to “July Morning” to “Easy Living” to “Lady in Black” and the list goes on. We let the fans do the choosing, cuz you know, we are playing for the fans, not ourselves.”

There is also a long history of fans giving the band some pretty strange things over the years. Box relates one such occurrence.

“We did a five-week tour of Russia, and the first show was in Yekaterinburg. Someone said there was a guy outside who wants to give you a present and of course I said to give me a few minutes and I will go out and meet him. He actually made – you know the beautiful churches that are all over Russia – well he makes the bells. He’s the actual bell maker. And he gave me a bell with my name on it. Which was very, very heavy and huge. And I had to carry it around for five weeks. It was a hard thing to lug about.

“I think mostly we have been pioneers of the entire industry, by being the first, through our success that everyone else could follow. And now, of course, Russia is on every band’s tour and the European market. Being the first to do something like that, and being pioneers is quite something.”

This love of progressivism and constantly moving forwards is a defining feature of Uriah Heep as a band.

“In January, we recorded a new album called Living the Dream with a great producer by the name of Jay Ruston, that’s getting released in September on Frontier Records,” revealed Box. “And of course, we start a world tour again starting then. Then we’ll do great European things and it’ll go on forever again,” states Box.

Touring is well-known as a grueling ordeal, so how does a band like Uriah Heep get through it over and over again?

“What you do is you look out for your health,” Box explained. “It’s as simple as that. Nobody wants to see someone out on stage drunk or drugged up or anything, you know.

“So, we look after our health. You’re only as good as your last show as far as we are concerned. We give it 110% every time we are on that stage. And to do that, you have to look after yourself. Health first is the answer. We can do an eight-hour day before we hit the stage, and to do that you have to be on top of the game.”

Witness the sound and the glory of Uriah Heep when they hit The Coach House on Apr 19!

Black Star Riders Rock The Grove With Saxon

BLACK STAR RIDERS

BLACK STAR RIDERS play Grove of Anaheim Apr. 20 and Microsoft Theater Apr. 22; photo Richard Stow

Black Star Riders are charging in to SoCal with heapings of hard rock, taking a night off from the Judas Priest Firepower tour to perform Apr. 20 at the Grove of Anaheim, with Saxon. Both bands rejoin the tour at Microsoft Theater Apr. 22.

Robbie Crane (bass), proclaims that he and his co-musicians are very excited to play at the venue, claiming that it shall be very special for any hard rock loving concertgoers who attend.

“We’re excited to play that gig,” Crane said. “That’s a show that we’re doing with Saxon, which is very cool, and we will be playing a longer set list as opposed to the 40 min set list that we play with Judas Priest.”

Crane says he is excited for the event as it marks something of a jovial homecoming to the Orange County area.

“That’s my hometown. I was born in Orange County so I have a ton of family there. It’ll be very cool.”

Formed in 2012, Black Star Riders are a spin-off of the iconic hard rock group Thin Lizzy, initially founded by guitarist, Scott Gorman and drummer, Brian Downey. The five-man group has managed to achieve its own unique style and sound to differentiate it from the original band it evolved from.

Crane officially joined the lineup in 2014 replacing the group’s very first bass player Marco Mendoza. Though he has played with six other bands, namely the Vince Neil Band and Ratt, playing with Black Star Riders has been very rewarding for the music veteran.
“I think everything has just been a great experience for me,” Crane said. “Culturally and musically it’s different from anything I’ve ever done before.”

Crane admits that one of the things that isn’t different for him is playing the Thin Lizzy songs, something he grew up doing while a young, aspiring musician.

“I played so many Lizzy songs in a cover band as a kid,” Crane revealed. “Scott would laugh at me ‘cause I knew all these Lizzy songs when I came in to play for them. He actually said to me ‘wow, you really make these songs swing.’ I tried to explain to him that I played these songs a hundred times before, just never with the real guys.”

Crane has quickly found himself in good company, both with the band and with music lovers. Already in his fourth year with the group, Crane’s graced many live concerts hosting the loud, boisterous jams of Black Star Riders to concert attendees. He has even aided in the creation of their second and third records – The Killer Instinct and Heavy Fire.

Though comfortable recording music in a studio, Crane admits that playing live is to him the group’s true reward for each new album they successfully produce.

“We’re musicians at the end of the day and that’s what we like to do,” Crane explained. “That’s what we loved to do as kids, that’s what we aspired to do and we’re doing it on a professional level. Not a lot of people can say that they’ve done as we all have, individually and collectively, under the Black Star Riders brand.”

No matter where the group plays, whether the United States or Europe, Crane says it is always a great experience to play live and introduce people to their solid, high-volume brand of hard rock that has made the group its niche in the music industry.

“It’s just great to share that gift of music,” Crane says. “You touch people and they get excited about it and we’re excited. We’re up there, happy as heck, just to be playing. What better life do we have?”

Black Star Riders are slated to continue playing alongside Saxon and Judas Priest until next month. Once that collaboration is over, Crane says he and his bandmates plan to take it easy and focus on playing at local music festivals.

However, Crane says this is a soft prologue to two much more daunting musical treks that they have planned for the near future.

“Our hope is in the fall that we do another smaller tour of the U.K. and then we’re going to start on our fourth record in January or February.”

Initial writing for the album has already started, Crane reveals. That process shall continue indefinitely even though the group continues playing live with no foreseeable end in sight.

“The whole time we’ll be writing, as we always are,” Crane remarks.” Every day it’s like, ‘I’ve got this idea!’ It’s a good thing. We’re always perpetuating and moving forward, which is great.”

Orange County’s Newest Music Venue Unveils Upcoming Concert Calendar

X; photo Frank Gargani

X; photo Frank Gargani

Reverend Horton Heat, X, The Buttertones, GZA, Wanda Jackson, Pinback, Brenton Wood, The Adicts, WAR, DJ Quik, Allah-Las and more are set to perform at Marty’s Bar and Grill in Tustin located at 14401 Newport Ave.

Under new ownership, the venue will re-launch as Marty’s On Newport with the official grand opening scheduled for May 29th. Co-owner and industry veteran Mike Rouse says, “We’re excited to bring an intimate, entertainment venue to Orange County”. The renovated room is 21+ and open daily for food & drinks.

Tickets for all shows go on sale Friday, April 20 at martysonnewport.com.

CURRENT SHOW CALENDAR (More TBA):
marty's calendar5/26 – INSPECTOR
5/29 – WAR (Grand Opening Show!)
5/30, 5/31 – FORTUNATE YOUTH
6/1, 6/2 – REVEREND HORTON HEAT
6/3 – THE VARUKERS
6/4 – GZA
6/5 – THE ADOLESCENTS
6/6 – CAT SIGNS
6/7 – THE COMO LA FLOR BAND: A TRIBUTE TO SELENA
6/8, 6/9, 6/10 – SWEET AND TENDER HOOLIGANS
6/14 – ALLAH-LAS
6/15, 6/16 – PINBACK
6/19 – TOMORROW’S TULIPS
6/20 THE BASH DOGS
6/21 THE BUTTERTONES
6/22, 6/23 – BRENTON WOOD
6/24 – LA BANDA SKALAVERA
6/25, 6/26 – KATCHAFIRE
6/28 – PASSAFIRE
6/29, 6/30 – BERLIN
7/1 – THA LIKS
7/5, 7/6 – CELSO PINA
7/7, 7/8 – WANDA JACKSON
7/9, 7/10 – AN EVENING WITH CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD
7/11 – JOAN OF ARC
7/12 – LEVITATION ROOM
7/13 – JMSN
7/14 – PHIL SHANE
7/15 – EVIDENCE
7/17, 7/18, 7/19 – THE ADICTS
7/20 – THE EXPANDERS
7/21 – THROUGH THE ROOTS
7/22 – JOSH HENRICHS
7/26, 7/27 – DJ QUIK
7/28 – FUNK FREAKS
8/2 – BUYEPONGO
8/3, 8/4 – JONATHAN RICHMAN
8/9 – MOONSVILLE COLLECTIVE
8/10, 8/11 – NEKROMANTIX
8/17 – LA SONORA DINAMITA
8/18 – JAMES INTVELD
8/21, 8/22 – X
8/23 – TIMBER TIMBRE
8/24 – FLOR DE TOLOACHE
8/28, 8/29 – T.S.O.L.
8/31 – THE HULA GIRLS
9/14 – MAC SABBATH
9/15 – LOS KUNG FU MONKEYS
10/18 – D.R.I.
11/10 – AGENT ORANGE

Alice Bag Steps Up Her Game

ALICE BAG plays The Echo Apr. 7; photo Greg Velasquez

ALICE BAG plays The Echo Apr. 7; photo Greg Velasquez

Alice Bag heads over to The Echo Apr. 7 in support of her latest solo album Blueprint. Based in Los Angeles, Bag is a punk rock singer, musician, author, educator and feminist archivist.

She was lead singer and co-founder of The Bags-who were among the first wave of punk bands to emerge from that city during in the mid-1970’s-and also performed in Castration Squad, Cholita, and Las Tres. In 2016, she released her self-titled debut solo album on Don Giovanni Records.

Recorded at Echo Park’s Station House Studios, Blueprint collects 11 songs that Bag wrote and arranged over the last year. They are performed by members of her current backing band, as well as long-time collaborators like drummers Rikki Watson (The Two Tens) Joe Berardi (Deadbeats), Eva Gardner (Pink, Mars Volta, Cher), Kristian Hoffman (The Mumps) and Danny McGough (Social Distortion).

The album also features an all-star roster of guest vocalists, including Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin), Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile, Sex Stains), Francisca Valenzuela, Teri Gender Bender, and Martin Sorrondeguy (Los Crudos, Limp Wrist).

You can hear them on the record, but also feel their presence in Bag’s vocals. For example, listening to Wolfe and Hanna’s vocal takes for the song “77” inspired the singer to take another, more savage crack at her own performance.

“For me it’s really good to surround myself with singers that I admire,” Bag explains. “It forces me to step up my game and not just sing the song like I’m singing in my living room.”

The title Blueprint is a nod to the process of construction – of a home, a life, the world – and the problems that pop up mid-build.

“I was having work done on my house and I was thinking about all the things that come up when you’re looking at a blueprint,” says Bag. “Maybe they say, ‘We can’t do that because your plumbing is rotting.’

“Things come up as you’re building a structure and force you in different directions, but you still have to make sure that it turns out the way you envisioned – you have to allow for setbacks and obstacles.”

The songs often find their inspiration in real-life moments that caused Bag to take stock and assess her own blueprint- to take a stand or fix a problem- personal, political, or both.

“We’re all constantly building structures of many different kinds,” explains Bag. “So, it’s up to us to keep things on track and moving in the direction we want to see them go. Otherwise, we end up with an idiot in charge.”

Goth Duo MGT Bring Positivity Into The Light

MGT - Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

MGT – Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

MGT adds a little night to the daylight. In a good way. Musically unique, yet familiar in a half-remembered sense, with vocals that add an unexpected comfort.

“I try to be comforting,” singer Ashton Nyte (The Awakening) agreed. “There’s a lot at odds in the world, I think a little bit of comfort goes a long way.”

Having just completed a string of dates in support of their sophomore album, Concert Guide Live caught up with Nyte, who alternated between talking somewhat seriously and sometimes with a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

MGT - Mark Gemini Thwaite; photo James Christopher

MGT – Mark Gemini Thwaite; photo James Christopher

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: You joined MGT as lead vocalist for the latest album, Gemini Nyte, a clever combination of names – yours and guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (The Mission/Peter Murphy). But, the first album had a variety of singers so are you just involved with this album, or could there be further collaborations together?
ASHTON NYTE: Basically, the first album was Mark’s first solo album which is called Volumes. And on Volumes he wrote the music and then he got a range of guest vocalists to write the lyrics and to sing. I was one of those and eventually we just hit it off and kept writing songs.

The original plan was to release the new body of work as “Gemini Nyte”, as a new project, essentially. But what happened is the record label got involved and they encouraged us, to release it as the second “MGT” album rather than a new project. So as things are now, Mark and I wrote this album together. I’m the guy who writes all the words and sings them and Mark generally writes the music and plays it. That’s how this has come to pass.

I’ve never worked in a collaborative sense like that before. It’s been quite liberating and interesting to have somebody else write the music and myself provide the lyrics and the vocals. Then we mix it together and produce it together and you got the album.

MGT - Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

MGT – Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

CGL: What do you like about playing live?
AN: it’s the other half of the whole. I think creating the music is wonderful, you know, it’s like seeing it from a seed to a tree. But performing is the other side of it, it completes the picture and it satisfies something in me. I don’t know if that’s healthy or unhealthy, but I find it very satisfying to see people’s response, to act and to engage. I’m not the kind of performer to just, you know, stand there and be removed from it all. I think it’s important to engage with the audience and we have a good time and hopefully they do, too.

CGL: What do you remember about the first time you ever played live, Were you nervous?
AN: No, I was very excited. I think I’ve always had that “the more the merry” type feeling. I played the first show and I was looking forward to the next one and playing to more people and playing louder.

CGL: Whatever possessed you to go into music in the first place?
AN: Probably some sort of mental disorder. I don’t know. It’s just always been my passion. I can’t really see myself doing anything else. It’s something I need to do. I could do other things, but I would never want to stop doing it, let’s put it that way. I enjoy various artforms but, music is an integral part of my life.

CGL: Do you find yourself listening to music all the time?
AN: No, I probably spend more time creating than listening. I probably spend a fair amount of time listening. It’s healthy to be aware of what’s going on, whether it’s recent or something from the past that continues to inspire and invigorate. But, I like to think that I write more than I listen. Focus more on creating than catching up.

MGT - Richard Vernon; photo James Christopher

MGT – Richard Vernon; photo James Christopher

CGL: Where do you get your ideas and inspiration for your lyrics?
AN: I think there was a kind of dystopian themed undercurrent that runs through this album. I think that’s probably self-explanatory. The place we find ourselves in the world these days leaves a lot to be desired. So, a lot of the songs reflect that but I’m singing from the perspective of hope and positivity, trying to recognize some of the problems but remaining optimistic and making suggestions to move forward rather than complaining and whining things.

CGL: Do you write all the time, or do you just write when you need to come up with a song?
AN: I write all the time. I have referred to myself as a compulsive songwriter, it’s an addiction. I have a band, The Awakening, and we’ve released I believe eight albums and I’ve released another eight… which is 16 albums which is more than most people and I probably have as many albums with the material that’s not released so I think it’s safe to say my songwriting addiction is real, and that the therapy hasn’t worked, yet, but I’m giving it time, I’m working through it.

MGT - Nick Mason; photo James Christopher

MGT – Nick Mason; photo James Christopher

CGL: What about the other musicians, will MGT have a set lineup moving forward?
AN: I mean, it would be lovely if we could keep the same (musicians), from a unit perspective, to keep the same live line up as it is now. The band that’s touring right now isn’t the band that played on the album, for example. If the stars continue to align and everybody is available to do that it would be wonderful for us to keep doing it this way.

CGL: Do you have a home studio, or do you record in different places?
AN: I have a studio in my house. So, does Mark. Which is how we assembled this album. He did his thing and I did my thing and we file-shared pretty much. Wonderful the way we can do it these days.

CGL: What was it like when you first started?
AN: When I first started recording? Back when I was 12? When I was 12 it was difficult understanding things. I think we all improve with age. That’s the point, I think.

Rock-Infused Bluegrass Yonder Style

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND play Saint Rocke Mar. 28, The Coach HOuse Mar. 29 and Belly Up Mar. 30; press photo

The well-tuned strings of the Yonder Mountain String Band are coming back to SoCal as part of their current tour across America. Yonder shall be playing Saint Rocke Mar. 28 and The Coach House Mar. 29.

The group’s return to SoCal marks the first time the group has performed at both San Juan Capistrano and Hermosa Beach and at their respective venues. Adam Aijala, the group’s lead guitarist, promises concertgoers each of those shows won’t be the same.

“We don’t play the same set ever,” Aijala proclaimed. “We make a different setlist every night, so you get three separate shows if you were to come to all three of them.”

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND; press photo

But though their setlists for each venue may differ, Aijala says that each one is guaranteed to be lengthy musical sessions concertgoers of all types can enjoy.

“You can expect roughly two plus hours of music with high energy and stretched out jam sections and some bluegrass and pretty original music,” Aijala promised.

Yonder has played consistently for almost 20 years since being founded in December 1998. The group traces its beginnings to the small town of Nederland in Colorado, where the four-member group quickly earned fans that were in awe of the group’s unique style of bluegrass.

“We found a nice little niche there for about a year as one of the only bands out there plugging in and playing bluegrass without a drummer which is how we carved a little spot in the music world,” says Aijala.

Their quick and early success even spurred the group into opening up their own independent music label just one year later in 1999 that helped provide the means to release their first album Elevation and has since produced most of their other albums.

Aijala says this move was largely due to both a sense of rugged musical individualism and a means to produce and hold onto their hard work.

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND; press photo

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND; press photo

“We just figured we’d do everything in-house because we realized that we weren’t a pop band, our music wasn’t mainstream, and we weren’t really interested giving the rights to our recordings to somebody else. So we said ‘let’s do it ourselves!’”

Aijala admits it was “a smart move” for the group. The music industry at that point had begun to see the rise of digital online streaming services that blossomed fully at the start of the 21st century. These further aided the group become more ingrained into the music industry.

Yonder’s music is what has helped the group ascend to prominence in the music world. The bluegrass music they produce isn’t at all run of the mill but something that’s the very definition of unique.

“There’s a lot of different ways to explain it,” Aijala proclaims. “But the way that I’ve been saying it lately is we have bluegrass instruments but the music we make is more rock-influenced. You could say it’s like progressive bluegrass or rock-infused bluegrass.”

It’s a combination that when accompanied with the joyful folksy vocals provided by all its band members, is still just as fresh as when the group started playing it back in 1998. The fact people enjoy it live and via recordings is the group’s overall goal.

“You want people to have a good time: that’s the ultimate goal for me,” Aijala states proudly.

And you needn’t worry about any underlying agendas or messages. Yonder aims to simply be nothing more than an enjoyable experience any music lover can appreciate.

“We’re not a preachy band,” Aijala states, “We’re more like ‘hey, you came to see us. You can put everything aside for a couple of hours and just enjoy the night and not think about anything else and hopefully we’ll put a smile on your face’.”

Beyond their current tour, Aijala reveals that, given the forthcoming child of their fiddle player Allie Kral, Yonder will help accommodate her by potentially making fewer appearances. But there is a silver lining to look forward to: a brand new album that’ll be coming out in the near future.

Though in the planning stages, Aijala says it is definitely taking shape and in the pipeline.

“We’re going to start working on a new record, but we might put that on hold,” Aijala mused. “We have some recording ideas though, we’re just writing songs.”

But whatever the future holds, Aijala intends to live for the present in continue their current tour and playing music with his bandmates.

“I just feel really fortunate that all these years later we’re still making music and still having fun doing it,” Aijala said. “Especially in a musical climate where there’s so many touring bands that we actually still have a niche to be able to do what we do and still make a living.”

The Ramshackle Delight Of Adult Books Hits Costa Mesa

ADULT BOOKS

ADULT BOOKS play The Wayfarer Mar. 29; photo Fribourg

Adult Books wrap up their tour with Tracy Bryant, stopping at The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa Mar. 29. Nick Winfrey (guitar/vocals) of Adult Books illuminates how this meeting of the minds occurred.

“I’ve been playing in Tracy’s band for like a year now. I play guitar in his band. And Dan (Quintanilla/Adult Books) is going to be playing bass, too. We’re just like good friends, and all of our band members hang out all the time, so it just made sense. Go on tour with your friend, help each other out.”

In fact, the band looks forward to touring, for both the on and off-stage antics which make it so enjoyable. Winfrey describes it like this: “We are getting ready to go on this tour to South By (SXSW). I’ve been thinking of our last national tour when we were at South By. I was actually telling this story – we floated the river between San Antonio and Austin. You rent innertubes and drink beer on the river and get sunburned. And then you get picked up and they take you back to the top of the river. That’s one of my favorite times on a tour. We ended up getting too drunk to play that night, but I like it.”

ADULT BOOKS play The Wayfarer Mar. 29; photo Casandra Marquez

ADULT BOOKS play The Wayfarer Mar. 29; photo Casandra Marquez

Getting their name from the band X, Adult Books has been rocking their unique brand of rock/punk styles all over SoCal for some time now (much like the band they get their namesake from.)

“It was one of my favorite songs; I liked the sound of it,” Winfrey said.

As a matter of fact, Adult Books has near-future plans for fans to look forward to.

“We just finished recording a new record with Jonny Bell (Crystal Antlers) at Jazzcats Studios in Long Beach,” Winfrey revealed. “And we are finalizing our release plans for that, but it will hopefully be out within the year. We are also gonna have a new single out soon, too.”

Playing live shows is a driving force of Adult Books. “It’s really fun to play to a packed room, and just like, feel like all the good energy coming from people,” Winfrey noted. “And like good energy coming from your friends that you’re playing with. That’s probably what it is, being able to share the kind of collective energy together.

“We are all from Orange County, our drummer Sina still lives in Orange County. But the rest of us now live in L.A.” according to Winfrey. “Myself, Dan, and Sina have been playing in different bands together since we were in high school. And we have been doing Adult Books since 2012. And then we have a group of friends that are all similar from different points that live in LA now and will sometimes play in the band, too. Everyone that plays with us we have been friends with forever.”

ADULT BOOKS play The Wayfarer Mar. 29; photo Thomas Kanschat

ADULT BOOKS play The Wayfarer Mar. 29; photo Thomas Kanschat

When it comes to their music, Adult Books is known for their diverse songs and sounds. “Everyone kind of has their own thing,” Winfrey shared. “Our drummer Sina is really into hardcore, and definitely still in the punk world. Me, I listen to a lot of postpunk. And Dan is all over the place. I think we all bring our own influences to the band.

“My favorite song to play from the last record is “Casual Wrecks”. And then um…for a while we were covering The Cleaners from Venus song “Only A Shadow”. I really like doing that cover.”

Adult Books has no pre-show rituals, except for one. “Dan has a habit of getting sick before every show,” claimed Winfrey. “I don’t know if he has that problem anymore, but he used to get really nervous and throw up before shows. But other than that, we don’t have any rituals.”

Celebrate Michael Schenker Music Past And Current

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST plays Grove of Anaheim Mar. 25; press photo

Michael Schenker will be rockin’ the Grove of Anaheim Mar. 25 performing a 2 ½ hour set of his most popular music with original singers, Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, and Robin McAuley (MSG) as well as Doogie White (Temple of Rock). The tour is billed as Michael Schenker Fest and will also feature music from the recently released Resurrection.

“We are going to be here performing with all of these album lineups and with Chris Glen and Ted McKenna who were the rhythm section for Assault Attack when Graham Bonnet was singing,” Schenker explained. “Then we have Steve Mann (guitar) who is connected with the McAuley Schenker era part of the past. He actually wrote “Anytime” with Robin McAuley.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Robin McAuley; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Robin McAuley; press photo

“It’s going to be a well-balanced show with classics and new stuff and instrumentals. And also, it has been 40 years since I recorded Strangers In the Night with UFO so who knows, maybe, Phil Mogg shows up sometimes and sings a couple of UFO songs.”

Getting everyone together and available at the same time could be potentially challenging but, fortunately, as Schenker mused, “It seems to be synchronized with the universe. It’s something that needs to happen and it’s happening.”

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Graham Bonnet; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Graham Bonnet; press photo

He went on to explain his approach, “I wanted to combine all my energies that I have put into different lineups. Some bands have stayed together for 40 years and put all their energies into one lineup, I went all over the place. There were certain circumstances of not being able to put people on retainer so when it was time for me to make a record, sometimes I had to move to new singers, new musicians, etc. etc.

“I’m in celebration mode. The new album is called Resurrection which means we are all back and we are celebrating all together the past and the current. It’s great for the fans to see everything on one stage.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Doogie White; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Doogie White; press photo

“In 1978 when I was 23 years old, by doing Strangers In the Night, I had experienced fame and success to its fullest and I was able to make a decision after I helped the Scorpions with the Lovedrive album to open the doors for America. Did I want to stay up there, or did I want to start the second chapter of my life and start experimenting with music and focus on life, get things out of my system? And that’s what I did and those were the most rewarding years in my life and they made me ready for the third stage of my life, which is now, showing up, eventually with all original singers, is fantastic.”

Resurrection is poised to be another Michael Schenker classic album with songs such as “Night Moods,” “Warrior,” and “The Girl With the Stars In Her Eyes” to name a few.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Gary Barden; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Gary Barden; press photo

“The song “The Girl with the Stars in Her Eyes” is a fantastic riff it’s very suitable for Doogie to sing and it’s one of my favorites, too,” Schenker said. “And “Night Moods” – Michael Voss did an excellent job in writing the lyrics – and the melody for Glen. Graham’s voice on that song, especially the ad libs at the end of that song, it’s remarkable, it’s fantastic.”

Initially, the making of the record was thought to be a two-year project, with label Nuclear Blast advising them to “take their time”. However, Schenker had other ideas with the upcoming tour on the schedule, preferring the album finished and released before they hit the road.

“We decided to start in May and finish in November” Schenker recalled. “Michael Voss (producer) and I immediately started working so I don’t even think we had phoned Graham or anybody that they didn’t have all the time in the world. But Doogie was so fast he started to select five songs, but it was three songs each singer!”

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Michael Schenker; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Michael Schenker; press photo

Preferring to create music without outside influences, Schenker doesn’t listen to or copy other music or guitar, going for pure self-expression.

“I am the architect of the music, I have a vision, I know exactly what I want, and I want it as pure as possible,” Schenker explained. “So, I kind of put all the music down in guides – keyboard guides, the bass – so the people know what I’m trying to achieve and where the journey goes.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Ted McKenna; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Ted McKenna; press photo

“The main thing that comes from the other musicians is their personality. Their personal touch, the way Ted grooves, the way Ted does his drum fill, the solidness and the sound of Chris Glen and the bass and everybody puts their touches in and they make the final thing.

“Then of course the singers, as many as possible, do their own lyrics and their own melodies and of course Michael Voss was the perfect guy for the job as the co-producer because he’s an 80s fan and he understands each member in the band so it’s very, very enjoyable and easy to work with and make it successful.”

Don’t miss this exciting and unique performance of classic Michael Schenker songs, instrumentals, and songs from the new album Resurrection, with the original singers.

Accept It – Dirkschneider Turns The Page

DIRKSCHNEIDER

DIRKSCHNEIDER plays Whisky A Go Go Mar. 22 and Brick By Brick Mar. 23; photo Tim Tronckoe

Dirkschneider’s “Back to the Roots II”, the final tour for playing all Accept songs, stops in SoCal for two nights beginning with the Whisky A Go Go Mar. 22 then on to Brick By Brick Mar. 23. The group will play an almost completely new setlist of only Accept hits, but this time with many different songs compared to previous tours.

“It’s still so much fun to sing these songs live, they are a part of my biography, but nevertheless it’s about time to turn that page,” Udo remarked. “There was so much talking and speculations about me and Accept, so this is kind of a musical statement from my end – which seems to be very interesting for the fans who came to these shows.”

DIRKSCHNEIDER

DIRKSCHNEIDER

In addition to their still ongoing successful tour, Dirkschneider has released LIVE – Back To The Roots – Accepted! featuring many classics from Udo Dirkschneider’s Accept era, as well as a cover version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as bonus track.

“The song “My Way” was not planned but it was normally the outro after a show, so we wanted to put it on the album,” Dirkschneider explained. “But the publishing said, ‘no’ so I said, ‘what can I do’? And then I tried to sing “My Way”. It worked!”

Playing around 200 shows a year, Dirkschneider does not appear to be slowing down noting that if you play “a lot of shows in a short amount of time, you have to be in control of yourself.” He claims not to have a problem with that.

DIRKSCHNEIDER

DIRKSCHNEIDER

“Of course, we have a good time, have a little party, but it’s not like when you were 25 or whatever,” Dirkschneider chuckled. “I mean we’re playing nearly two hours every night and then four or five nights in a row, you have to be careful.”

This tour continues through mid-October, finishing up in Mallorca. But, that doesn’t mean Dirkschneider will have nothing to do.

“Yea, we go until middle of October under Dirkschneider then we start rehearsing for the U.D.O. Tour.”

There is also a new U.D.O. album coming out at the end of the year in Europe which Dirkschneider said “is still a bit of a secret.”

Joining Dirkschneider on the current U.S. and Canada tour will be Australian metal band Elm Street for all dates.

“I want to watch the show and see what kind of music they are doing.”

Playing roughly 20 Accept songs a night, this final tour promises to be memorable.

“They definitely will see a really good show, a really good setlist,” Dirkschneider promised. “I’m looking forward to everything.”

The Frenetic Vibes Of Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

“TBS! TBS! TBS!” When you hear this, you know Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds is about to take the stage and it’s going to be a wild ride. With diverse sets combining elements of reggae, rock, punk, pop, and more, it is no wonder the high energy performances of TBS attracts so much attention.

“Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds actually started as, you know, a graph crew in Torrance, CA,” according to guitarist Matt McEwan. “Writing graph and skating and hanging out with the homies, and that’s how we met, is through mutual friends.

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Singer Moises (or Mo) Juarez elaborates further, “I used to b-boy a lot and breakdance while he (McEwan) was more of a graffiti artist, like skater and surfer, and we grew up in the same neighborhood. Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds was a graffiti crew that was known around the neighborhood; and as we started getting into thinking about band names, we thought about all these names.”

“We thought about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but that was already taken,” jests Juarez. “So, we couldn’t do that you know? And then we thought Metallica, but that was gone. So, then it was like what do we do next? We thought Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds was the next best thing,”

“We started in 2000-2001. But the band didn’t start trying to play shows until 2003. But we were just jamming in the garage, just doing shows in our local neighborhood,” details Juarez about their garage roots. “Our first show, you could say, was at a venue called the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach for $50 and opening for Too Rude.”

McEwan adds to this that, “Me and this guy (Mo) would be doing acoustic gigs all around town before really performing and writing songs. Playing at the Sacred Grounds, the old acoustic lounge spot in San Pedro.”

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Continuing to think about their journey as a band thus far, the topic of influences came up.

“All kinds. Guaranteed Sublime, Bad Brains, Long Beach Dub, Steel Pulse, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder… love Stevie Wonder. Michael Jackson. Bruno Mars recent stuff, Nirvana, grew up on Pennywise too,” both members chimed back and forth.

“Being able to play music, with this guy (Mo), my best friend is a privilege and a blessing,” explains McEwan.

Further illustrating the sentiment, Juarez goes on, “We’re lucky, man. We’ve been doing this a long time, there’s definitely rollercoasters up and down. But, you know, you take it back to why you do it for the love. We have a new song coming out, called “Yesterdays,” it’ll be out when our album drops in April/May, around that time. There’s a line in it that reminds me of how it all started; cuz it all started with our love of the music, wanting to be like Sublime. That’s why I wanted to be in a band, straight up. I wanted to be like Sublime. And I don’t know if it came across in our music, but everyday you look back and get to feel blessed to do what we do.

“The energy we get from the crowd. And that no matter what, our records sound good and have great production. But the energy you get from any band who is doing their thing can’t compare to the energy that is being produced out of your radio.

“I like playing a song called “Vices.” We have a new song called “Frequency”, as well. And I like playing that song now, too. I like playing a lot of our songs, and like playing cover songs too. We do “Master Blaster”, a Stevie Wonder cover.”

TBS has been around for over a decade, and as a result have gotten to work with many legends of the scene, including Ras MG (who helped produce an upcoming track of theirs called “War Letter”).

“We know people through Ras for years,” Juarez clarifies. “Our good friend Chuckie introduced us to all of them. We’ve been in the scene for a minute so Long Beach/Hermosa is very close. I got tattooed by Opie. So, we just hit up Ras like ‘yo man you interested?’ And he said I love you guys and would love to work with you. He’s just a genius and he’s down to work. I like good working people with good ethics, you know?”

Hard working, energetic, and diverse, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds is fired up and ready for the what the future holds. About to head out on the Illuminate Spring Tour, catch them when they next hit SoCal in early June.