Architects’ Sam Carter Made a ‘Studio’ From Pillows to Demo Album

Architects vocalist Sam Carter was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program and was on hand to discuss the group’s forthcoming album, For Those That Wish to Exist. A number of events led to the band globetrotting in an effort to being the demo process for what would ultimately become their ninth studio album.

The frontman also discussed the vitriol that’s pervasive in the world today and instead encouraged people to point the finger at themselves instead of others and question how they can begin to have a positive impact on things.

Read the full chat below.

Recording for the new album was supposed to happen in Australia but started in Bali then concluded in Brighton. How did that change in the environment affect the attitude and tone of the music?

Not too much. We’re pretty good at being a being Architects and and being pretty angry. Originally, we planned to go to Australia and demo together. That was after headlining a festival in Australia and then there was those insane forest fires.

So we had to move somewhere else where we could continue to work and Bali is a place that Dan [Searle] and Ali [Dean] had spent a fair amount of time traveling around and they’ve been on holiday there.

It felt like the right place to go — they knew their way around. It was amazing. We stayed in a great place. We set up microphones in my room and made like a recording studio out of duvets and pillows. We were super happy with how it all came out. Then we went back to England and went into the proper studio and made everything happen.

Epitaph Records

Sam, the last several albums were made through illness then loss. What was most noticeable about making a new album without the shadow of that emotional turmoil?

It was time for us to continue to explore as a band and not stand still. Throughout the whole journey of losing Tom and Tom being ill, we felt a duty to tell his story. Moving into this one, it just felt like it was time for us to really look after ourselves and as artists as well. We want to create something really special and move in a direction that maybe we weren’t brave enough to do on Holy Hell. We worked super hard on this and I think it’s an album that Tom would love and it’s one that we’re all extremely proud of.

From music to merch, there’s an underlying activism to Architects. What’s the biggest challenge about implementing awareness within an audience?

I think the biggest thing is to not make anybody feel stupid. I don’t want to point the finger at anybody and say that anybody’s doing anything wrong or right.

People are so willing to take shots at people, but I think it all starts in yourself. It starts by pointing the finger at yourself and being like, “What can I achieve to do something better? How can I change? If How can I ask people to change if I can’t change myself?”

It’s really just trying and encouraging people, whether it be going vegetarian or cutting out those drives that you don’t need to do or buying your clothes from responsibly sourced places and making sure that hundreds and thousands of gallons of water hasn’t gone into a pair of jeans that you’re going to wear once.

It’s about opening up a conversation rather than just shouting down at somebody and telling them that they’re wrong because we’re all new to this. We’re moving into a into a new and special place now with the world. We all need to pull together and work out how we’re going to keep going.

Architects, “Animals” Music Video

The record focuses on societal indifference and the implicit responsibility of being human. How can music and, specifically this album, affect change?

It really affects us. It’s more of a kind of documentation on pointing the finger at ourselves as humans. We live in a world where everybody’s so ready to point the finger at everybody. It feels so black and white — the left against the right, the greens against the reds and the blues against the reds…

What we need to do is be able to have a conversation instead of everybody trying to profit off of everybody. It feels like the brakes need to be to be pulled and we need to just have a look around and think of what we can do as one world instead of just different countries.

It’s an important time for everybody to pull together and to really make change. We are all brothers and sisters and it feels stupid to be a war with each other.

Recently, Architects staged a livestream show at the Royal Albert Hall. What was the biggest challenge about maintaining the intensity of a live performance without an audience in house?

A lot of alcohol. [laughs] It was really surreal.

The fact that it was such a beautiful venue and such a historic venue not just in the United Kingdom, but in worldwide music. Everybody from Jimi Hendrix to The Rolling Stones to The Beatles to Bob Dylan played that room.

Walking into the room, all you want to do is be able to play. For me, it was really drawing in on that history to get that buzz and that excitement of bringing something special.

Normally those moments are made special by the interactions that you have with your fans. It was about moving into that headspace and and remembering being a kid and hearing these bands for the first time and also hearing about the Royal Albert Hall and wanting to create something that we could always look back on and be very proud of and and know that we gave it everything we possibly could.

Thanks to Sam Carter for the interview. Get your copy of ‘For Those That Wish to Exist’ here (as Amazon affiliates we earn on qualifying purchases) and follow Architects on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.

2021’s Most Anticipated Rock + Metal Albums

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Journey’s Arnel Pineda Not Initially a ‘Don’t Stop Believin” Fan

Big things are happening for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Journey in 2021. As fans may recall, the group underwent a lineup change last year with Narada Michael Walden, Randy Jackson and Jason Derlatka joining the band. That led to work on the band’s first studio  album since 2011.

We had a chance to speak with singer Arnel Pineda, who also has several other things of note happening this year. He’s working on a solo album and there’s a new biopic in the works on his life. Pineda also has a big solo concert on the way (April 18) from a 360-degree video geosphere. Check out the chat in full below.

First off, I wanted to ask about “Don’t Stop Believin’” because it’s being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame this year, and it’s not every song on consequence that gets inducted. You have the unique perspective of hearing it as a music fan first and then eventually joining the band that recorded it. Can you talk about what that song has meant to you?

Honestly, I was not a big fan of the song at first. I got introduced to the band from that song the album Escape, “Open Arms,” and that was the very first song I heard from them. But when I became a professional singer, a cover singer at the age of 16 years old, “Open Arms” was the first song that I sang.

But “Don’t Stop Believin’” was there subconsciously. I was struggling with my life after my mother died and I went on to become this cover band singer in 1985, and I always told myself that I’m never gonna give up. This is the only craft that I’m good at. And I had my mentors in that band that were honing me to be a better singer.

But from the beginning I believed that there was something great that was going to happen to me. I just had no idea what. But in my head and in my heart I was not gonna stop because this is the only thing in the world that I can do really good and it takes me to a place that makes me really happy.

And then finally I met the band in 2007 through Mr. Neal Schon. We had a good talk first and he invited me over to San Francisco and I met them. And that’s when I finally realized, this song has been waiting for me to realize that it was the soundtrack of my life. It really means so much to me now, and now every time that I go for something, it suddenly rings in my head. It’s those three words – don’t stop believin’.

While that might not have been your favorite initially, did you have a favorite Journey song and has that changed at all after you joined the group and started playing this material?

I think my three most favorite songs are “Faithfully,” “Winds of March” and “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever.” Mr. Steve Perry’s voice there is absolutely perfect. It just gets me going. When I’m sad or I’m happy, they just make me think about the good things in life. That’s how I see it and these are the songs that I play with the band every time I go on stage and I love them. I try to deliver to the hardcore fans and the new fans the best I can cause I have so much respect for their legacy.

These guys, just when you thought all the best songs had been made, here they come. Neal Schon, Mr. Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, their partnership was just unbelievable.

To be in this band, because some people still consider me a karaoke singer, blah, blah, blah, whatever, I’m just proud and so grateful. I feel so blessed cause I was given a chance to be part of such an iconic American band known around the world. What more could you ask for?

I think it was around 2005 and I had to resign from my band because I lost my voice, so we were out drinking and I was joking, but I said, “My god, I’ve lost my voice, but my only regret is that I never had a chance to sing side-by-side with one of my heroes.” They were laughing. But who would’ve thought that after two years I would be meeting them and 10 years later at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of Journey I would meet and get to hug Mr. Steve Perry. He was just so gracious and kind and so welcoming. What more could you ask for?

I’ve seen on Twitter fans thanking you for the gift of keeping the spirit of Journey alive but I’ve seen you turn it around on Twitter and say that really it was your gift when Neal Schon came to you with the possibility of joining the band. Can you talk about what that relationship with Neal has been like since you’ve joined?

Since the beginning I think it was really evident that he was really rooting for me. He really wanted me to be in the band even though I had a feeling that some of the members were still like, “Uh, we’ll see.” For Mr. Schon, his conviction about me was absolute. That was the very first thing that I saw in his eyes when we met. But he’s not the only one in the band, so he needs to consider the other members.

He’s a mentor, he’s a friend and he changed my life. His tale and my tale will be told through generations of our family. Everything changed because of him.

One of the things that has changed over the past year is new band members. I wanted to give you a chance to talk about Narada Michael Walden, Randy Jackson and Jason Derlatka and what they’ve brought to the group. I know you’ve worked on new music and wanted to get your feel on working with all them.

I can’t believe they said yes to join the band. On their own, they’re like big names already. My god, they’re like additional magic for the band. I can’t wait to be with them and to tour. It’s a little bit of trial and error recording at a distance. But with Narada, we’ve already finished six songs and it’s been amazing. He’s starting to be one of my biggest mentors. He’s been so patient with me and he’s so good. It’s no wonder he’s a Grammy winner. I’ve been getting his vibe and he’s a good teacher. I really can’t wait to get out on the road with Narada, Randy and Jason to see how that vibe works live.

Journey’s New Lineup Performs “Don’t Stop Believin'” at 2020 Unicef Benefit

You mentioned six songs into the new record. Is there anything in terms of themes popping up or a direction the music is taking you can share?

You had better ask them, as they’re the ones producing this (laughs). They’re just like, “Hey we’re sending you the demo now,” and I just sing it from my heart. I am trying to write a couple to contribute but I don’t know if it’ll pass their taste. You know how good they are as songwriters. But even if I don’t have any contributions, I’m just happy singing it for them.

Is this kind of a virtual session the way you’re recording? Is it different and can you talk about the challenges of recording this way?

Of course. The thing with Zoom and ProLogic and the computer is making that connection. Sometimes I’m having a hard time when they send the demo, cause I’m also working on my solo album and it’s a different genre, different style, so I go from my songs to listening to their demo and sometimes it doesn’t come quickly to me. I need to sit with it a few days to finally get it. It’s just a different environment and trying to get adjusted again. But I have a history there so it’s both hard and easy at the same time.

You mentioned a solo album in there and it being different from what Journey does. Can you share a bit on your progress with that?

I’ve been working with a couple of musicians from the States, and they’re Filipinos. I wasn’t able to find some people here that I could work with because they didn’t get me. I tried several musicians but they didn’t get what I was trying to interpret. But with these two guys, they get me. We really click well and it’s ongoing. I’ve managed to make at least 15 to 20 demos, and we’ll choose from the best of them. I’m just trying to release four or five songs.

It’ll just be an EP because these days if you’ve got 12 songs, people will have two favorites and then the rest is like forgotten. That’s just how it is now.

Is there a timeline for Journey’s record and for your solo EP?

With the Journey album, and especially Neal, he wants it out before we head out [on tour]. So that remains to be discussed as we need to be certain about when we can go out there for a full-on tour. But it will definitely be before the full-on tour will happen.

And with my solo album, I’m waiting because there’s a ban on Americans coming to the Philippines right now. I don’t know when it will be lifted, but when it is maybe they can come and I’m hoping at the end of March.

You’ve got a special concert coming up in a Geodesic Dome?

I will be entering a futuristic structure, a combination of a LED cube and a Geodesic dome form which will look like from the outside a space machine to be placed somewhere in Manila. Inside when I enter, it will be a different realm, with interactive panels, 360 degrees of visual effects, and virtual interaction with fans from all over the world projected on some of the panels. It’s going to be a unique 90 minute streaming concert. Both digital and traditional architects are working on building this venue concept.

Arnel Pineda in the Sanre Geosphere

Sanre Entertainment Group

I also see where there’s a biopic coming about your story. Most people know about your joining Journey, but what from your life are you most excited to share with audiences?

Well this will be really about me – the struggles that I had in my younger years. There were those bullies that used to bully me when I was a kid and there’s my love story with my wife now. It’ll be more of me, and I can’t really say everything because otherwise you’d already imagine it, but it’s definitely my biopic until I met Neal Schon. They might start looking for actors and actresses this year.

While the pandemic has been hard on people, but as a touring musician, you’re getting a chance to do something you don’t get to do a lot and that’s spend more time at home. Have you used the time to pick up new hobbies? What has home life been like?

It’s still the same, but it’s just that I get to do it more. Before the pandemic, we toured every year so it’s about seven months away. And then when I’m home, the local touring industry wants to celebrate my career with Journey so they want to see me. So right now I’m not doing a lot of that extra work.

So I get to spend more time with my kids and talk to them and get to know how they feel about me and I get to tell them how I feel about them and we get to play together. They get to see me writing songs I do some planting and most of all I get to cook for them a lot. I go to the market. I just get to be the normal guy I am from the very beginning. I’m not the guy that since I got Journey I had to upgrade my lifestyle. I’m still the regular guy I am and that’s something I love about me. I just want to be under the radar and spending time with my family. It makes me smile every day.

Any of the kids following in your footsteps musically?

Oh my god, all of them. My first son from my first relationship, Matthew, he’s a guitar player and a singer. He’s 31 now and lives in Hong Kong. My second son, he lives in the south of the Philippines, the island of Mindanao, and he’s a singer and a guitar player, too.

My son with my wife now, Cherry, he plays piano and guitar, which are my frustrations. But he learned it really fast and really quick and he’s so good at it. But he has other interests, too, and wants to get good at online games and computers. And then my youngest daughter, she loves singing and dancing. So it’s in their blood and just passing it on.

But I’m not like these stage parents who pushes them to get good at it. I let them be who they want to be. I don’t want them to experience the hard life of being a musician here in the Philippines. It’s tough. There was a lot of frustration, a lot of discrimination and desperation. The money’s not too good. I went through a lot of hardship and I don’t want them to experience that, so that’s why I tell them, please, please, finish your school. It can be your fall back. You can get serious with your music, but education is still the most important thing. You can maybe start a business of your own and you don’t have to go down the same path that I went through. It was a tough and cruel path until I met Journey.

Our thanks to Journey’s Arnel Pineda for the chat. Keep an eye out for more info regarding Journey’s next studio album and Arnel’s solo EP as the year continues. And be sure to catch Arnel Pineda in concert in a live virtual LED CUBE Geodesic Dome that your eyes simply won’t believe. Taking place on April 18, 2021 at 12.01am (Philippine Standard Time), you can get more ticketing details here.

Top 80 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the ’80s

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How Little Steven Lived His Beatles Fantasy at the Cavern Club

In 2017, Steven Van Zandt wanted to play the Cavern Club, the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed so many pre-fame shows. But he had a condition.

When the Cavern Club reopened in the ’80s, the venue expanded to two main rooms. One tried to replicate, using original bricks, the hallowed ground where the Fab Four jammed so many times; the other had a more modern stage and has become one of the city’s top spots for local bands and touring acts.

“When Paul McCartney played there [in 1999], he played the second, bigger room, and they assumed I wanted to do that also,” Van Zandt tells UCR. “I said, ‘No, no, I’ve got to play the room with the arches. I want to play that room that I grew up looking at.’ So we had to put the horns and girls in the hallway. Because we could barely fit the rhythm section on that stage. It’s only built for four or five people.”

Van Zandt made this Beatles fantasy come true during a stop on his European Soulfire tour. The singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer – and not to mention Bruce Springsteen’s right-hand man in the E Street Band – had plenty of free time when the Boss started his run on Broadway. So he hit the road with a reformed Disciples of Soul. When he booked a Nov. 14 gig at Liverpool’s O2 Academy in 2017, he got the idea of doing a set at the Cavern earlier in the day.

“We were about to play Liverpool, and I remembered how the Beatles would play lunchtime sets,” he says. “That’s how Brian Epstein, their manager, actually saw them for the first time. From, like, 12 to 12:30, local businesses would break for lunch and the secretaries or whomever would bring their lunches into the Cavern Club, and the Beatles would play for half an hour. I thought, just for fun, let’s do a Beatles tribute and do a lunchtime set. … I don’t think anybody has done that since the Beatles.”

Van Zandt remembers distinctly how his life was forever changed when he watched the Beatles play The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. (He cites the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as the twin reasons he picked up a guitar and “made rock ‘n’ roll my religion.”) But just because he’s a longtime devotee doesn’t mean putting together a baker’s dozen of tracks covering every era of his idols’ career was easy. The live performance, plus a duet with Paul McCartney on “I Saw Her Standing There” recorded at the Roundhouse in London, have been collected on Little Steven’s new Macca to Mecca CD/DVD package.

Watch Little Steven and Paul McCartney Sing ‘I Saw Her Standing There’

“I wanted to do covers that they had done at the Cavern … songs from [rock ‘n’ roll pioneer] Larry Williams and [country soul legend] Arthur Alexander and some of those things,” he says. “Because I had the horns, I thought, ‘Let’s do Beatles songs with horns.’ … The horn parts in Magical Mystery Tour are quite sophisticated, and my horn section handled it quite well, but, man … some of the stuff was tricky. ‘All You Need Is Love’ has quite a bit going on. It was a bit of a challenge, but I think we met the challenge.”

For Van Zandt, the Cavern gig was the culmination of an obsession kicked into high gear when he started traveling across the Atlantic for Springsteen tours. In 1975, the Born to Run tour hit the U.K., as documented on the Hammersmith Odeon London ’75 video and live album.

Watch Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Backstreets’ From ‘Hammersmith Odeon London ’75’

“When I first got to England, I ran to Liverpool to see all the famous sites that I had wanted to see growing up,” Van Zandt explains. “But when I got to the Cavern, it was a parking lot. They had paved over it. Then they realized the error of their ways and rebuilt it with a lot of the same bricks … on pretty much the same site.”

Watch a Featurette About Little Steven’s Cavern Club Show

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Interview with Joanna Connor: There is a big concern that the blues is whitewashed in a sense: Video, Photos

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Interview with Chicago-based slide guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter, Joanna Connor – one of the reigning Queens of blue rock guitar.

How has the Blues and Rock culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I’ve lived the life of a musician for almost my entire life. My views of the world were always inclusive, and curious and fascinated with cultures and art and spirituality, so bring an artist fit into that life view. I have seen a lot of sexism in my business and experienced a lot of it when I was younger, it’s a very me dominated field. The younger generations have brought new abs I believe, better and more accepting attitudes and more women and girls are making music abs in the business.

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started and what has remained the same?

I have grown as an artist, as I have grown as a human, what is inside is reflected in my music and creative process. I know myself more, I have untangled parts of myself, so I feel as artist o am more expressive.

How do you describe 4801 South Indiana Ave. songbook on Joe Bonamassa’s new independent blues record label Keeping The Blues Alive on February 26, 2021? What has made you laugh from album’s sessions?

We chose the album title ‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’ because it was the actual street address of the hallowed funky blues sanctuary ‘Theresa’s Lounge.’ We want the listener to open that door, walk in and feel to their core some of the magic that a place like that brought night after night. It was an honor to bring this to you, the listener.. Joe Bonamassa has a dry and quirky sense of humor, which I adore. The songbook is a variety in styles of blues and nit typical covers, it’s a bit deeper in the artists catalogs

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? Are there any memories which you’d like to share?

I was supposed to go backstage abs meet Stevie Ray Vaughan at what turned out to be his last show, and o declined, saying, no I will meet him when we play on a fest somewhere together. And then- he’s gone, so as I was sitting next to Reece Wynans in the studio, where he was absolutely laying it down so beautifully, I stayed to cry. It hit me- I never got to play with Stevie, but here is his keyboard player playing on my album, and he’s set up next to me. When Reece saw me, he said something like Girl, I’m not that good!! I kinda laughed. I didn’t tell him why I was crying,

What would you say characterizes Chicago blues scene in comparison to other US local scenes and circuits?

Chicago is still the Eli center of blues. It’s still dominated by black musicians. And I’m sorry, but they bring the fire, the soul, the sensuality.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Most of the greats are gone, headliners and side people. The level of musicianship is weaker, less inventive. I have no thoughts on the future because of this pandemic. We are living in intense times.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I have learned that you need enough ego or confidence to play and perform, but ultimately you have to get your ego out of the way and let the music flow out of you as a gift to the listeners abs other musicians you are playing with

What is the impact of blues on the racial, political, human rights, feminist, and socio-cultural implications?

There is a big concern that the blues is whitewashed in a sense….

Interview by Michael Limnios

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Keith Wallen Drops Hypnotic Solo Track ‘Dream Away’

Breaking Benjamin guitarist Keith Wallen has built up quite the resume in recent years, writing with a wealth of other acts. But this spring he’ll step out on his own with his first solo set. To whet your appetite for what’s to come, we’re premiering the new song and video “Dream Away” right here at Loudwire.

The track has a soaring and hypnotic quality to it as the lyrics long for a need to escape the everyday woes for a more idyllic world. Wallen co-wrote the track with longtime Red and In Flames drummer Joe Rickard. It’s a beautifully crafted cut that bodes well for Wallen’s upcoming release.

Speaking with Loudwire Nights host Toni Gonzalez, Wallen said of the track, “I think that we’ve all had kind of a tough year with everything happening in the world — Covid and everything. A lot of us were kind of left to our own devices for better for worse in our houses quarantining, so you’re kind of sitting their thinking, ‘Man, how do we get out of this? How do I escape this frame of mind?’ A lot of it was just bad news everyday for a while there and it was tough to take.”

He added, “I guess sometimes you just want to get away, even if it’s just imagining that things can get better. But hope is still alive and it’s something that can be nurtured, so that’s really what the song is about — just not giving up on hope and having positive horizons.” Check out the lyrics for the track below:

“Dream Away” Lyrics

Out on the colder side of the moon
Seeking a way to get back to you
Waking up to never-ending light
I just need to close my eyes
I just need to close my eyes

And dream away
Of a new life
Try to forget my worries for a while
And isolate
In my own mind
Nothing matters but to feel alive

Out on the colder side of the moon
Carry your name it’s all I can do
Dark abyss comes through my line of sight
I just need to close my eyes
I just need to close my eyes

And dream away
And dream away
And dream away
Nothing matters but to feel alive
Dream away

Wallen, who played with Copper and Adelitas Way before joining Breaking Benjamin and has co-written songs for Saint Asonia, Red, Pillar, Fuel and Saving Abel, has been working on his solo material since before the pandemic started.

For the song’s video, he called in director Wombat Fire and the end result is a futuristic video in which Wallen shifts from a darkened DJ performance to embracing a nightly landscape cruising through empty streets against the backdrop of city lights.

If you like “Dream Away,” be sure to pick up the track via Apple Music, Spotify or Deezer. And check out Keith’s full interview with Loudwire Nights in the player below the video.

Keith Wallen “Dream Away” Single Art

Keith Wallen, “Dream Away”

Keith Wallen Speaks With Loudwire Nights

2021’s Most Anticipated Rock + Metal Albums

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TikTok Star Zaria Plays Her Favorite Guitar Riffs

Toward the end of 2020, TikTok star Zaria saw her fame skyrocket after an absolute takedown of online trolls who called her out for wearing a Metallica shirt. Though she’s gotten plenty of attention as a singer online, those questioning her metal cred got a lesson they won’t soon forget, and now, Zaria joins us fpr this edition of Gear Factor.

In this episode, we’re digging a little deeper with this emerging talent to learn a bit of her musical background. Zaria tells us that her first recognition of Metallica came in fifth grade when a teacher showed her a version of “Enter Sandman” put to footage of the Virginia Hokies team. “I just remember hearing the [open] and my little ears just perked up and I thought this is the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” says Zaria.

“Slowly, from eighth grade, I just became more and more interested in it, and I think by ninth grade, literally the whole year, I only listened to Metallica and that is not a joke,” she explains. You can check out her skills below as she rips through “Enter Sandman,” “Creeping Death” and “Master of Puppets.”

Zaria also cites Megadeth as an early favorite as she was learning to play. She calls one “Holy Wars” riff underrated before singling out Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Crazy Train” as the second lead she learned to play.

During the chat, Zaria also served up a vital few tips, showcasing how she eventually got past her early struggles with vibrato.

You can check out Zaria’s own Sully ’71 Starling right here. “I’ve never connected with an instrument faster than I did with my Sully ‘71,” she explains. “The tone is in-your-face and the playability inspires me to explore. I’m excited to represent Sully Guitars as I take my music in a new direction.”

To see more of Zaria’s well-rounded musical stylings and playing, be sure to follow her on TikTok and Instagram. Watch Zaria’s full Gear Factor episode below.

TikTok Star Zaria, Destroyer of Metallica Trolls, Plays Her Favorite Riffs

Every Metallica Song Ranked

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Interview with Erja Lyytinen: The Blues Queen: Video, Photos

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Interview with Finnish blues singer/guitarist Erja Lyytinen: voted #2 on Total Guitar’s “10 World’s Best Guitarists Now” poll.

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

By being able to travel around the world and meeting lot´s of different people from different cultures I´ve learned so many things and seen so many things that I wouldn´t have seen unless if I was a traveling musician. I have learned, there´s blues lovers everywhere where you go and it seems to be a unique group of people who value music that has been actually played by musicians on stage, with sincere, honest lyrics and with huge emotional output. Also, the fact that musician lifestyle is so different compared to an ordinary day life, changes your way of looking at things. Nothing is ever regular, except that everything is always irregular. Plans are always changing, and things moving forward. There´s no dull moment in this business!

Where does your creative drive come from? What was the hardest part of writing “Blues Queen” book?

I have been always very enthusiastic about music and playing, ever since I was a kid. I can still remember the feeling what I felt when I sang on top of my Father´s guitar playing at the age of four (4). Music moved me, it made me happy, and brought out feelings. So later in life I really wanted to become a professional musician so therefore I soke into various different music schools and learned so much I could from music in overall. Nowadays I run my own record company and play normally hundred shows per year around the world, and I enjoy performing live more than ever! But I also enjoy that time, when I can just create music, and dig deeper to songs. Music is my occupation and a hobby, and I feel very privileged that I can do what I do.

When writing “The Blues Queen”, hardest thing was to get into ugliest feelings, to open up and tell people about the hard times. But then again, it´s good to tell that success doesn´t come without sacrifices. I have recorded several albums, written a book, and we recently also put out Erja Lyytinen Songbooks (VOL1 and VOL2) and nowadays I also have my own tea brand. So, I really like being creative in other ways as well and this also keeps my mind fresh.

Are there any memories from ‘Lockdown Live 2020’ (on line event) which you’d like to share with us?

It sure was very exciting to play with my band after two months of a break in May 2020. We were all so full of energy and joy – not knowing how long this corona situation would last. While recording “Lockdown Live”, this was our first proper stream gig with multiple cameras, so everything, the whole production, the situation, was new for all of us. We were simply just happy to be able to do some work at least! We had a meet & greet session with the fans in the end of the live stream, and it was really lovely to answer to people´s questions. I didn´t see my fans, but I could “feel” them.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the interaction between the audience and the band. I love the fact that every gig is different and how audience reacts, really has a huge impact also how you are on stage. Although I always do my best, whether I am performing for 20 people or 20.000 people, and if it´s a private gig, a gig in a jail (yes, done few of these!) or a sitting audience in a concert hall. My hopes are that the vaccine really works for the people and we can get back doing what we really love. My fears are that the music industry will suffer even more if this situation won´t get any better. And the less unfortunate people will suffer even more. We will see the effect of corona after few years in childcare and mental services I am afraid.

I really do hope that we can play and travel freely in 2022. I can´t wait to travel to Australia, where we supposed to play last year. I can only imagine the happiness we all feel, when we can finally meet our fans and friends around the globe, and can hug each other without a fear of getting an ugly virus.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I would improve the compensation regarding digital services and using of music and art freely online. The overall feeling nowadays feels like that music should be free for consumers, although just making a one proper music video for Youtube with multiple cameras requires a lot of resources. I do use Youtube and Spotify myself too and my latest albums and some of the stream gigs are there for free for everyone. But then we also have some music videos on Vimeo for a purchase as well.

What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

Women´s status in the music business has gotten a lot better nowadays. Majority of the new guitar buyers is females, all the social media channels are full of women and girls playing guitar, bass, drums, all of these instruments, that men used to only play. I think it is fantastic! Music shouldn’t be judged by one´s sex, but by the quality of it.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Always be kind, try inspiring others, and don´t be afraid to share. Don´t try pleasing others, but just follow your own instincts. And most of all, be true to yourself, in the end we have to only responsible for yourself, and you are the one you have to live with for the rest of your life, with every decision you make.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect the people?

Music really crosses all the boundaries. Music is a language, that everyone can learn and when you speak the same “language”, you can share emotions. It´s amazing to get to play for example in India, and encouraging young women by saying, that I am a guitarist, and a Mother and entrepreneur and travelling around the world all the time, doing my dream job. That everything in life can be possible.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would travel fifty years ahead. Just to have a look how all is then and what kind of future my kids would have. And what kind of music we would listen. I am pretty sure that people will always listen to Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and other “organic” music, and enjoy music performed live, let´s at least hope so!

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by Hertta Hynninen & Iiro Laitinen

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Interview with Jeremiah Johnson: Southern Heaven Gate: Video, Photos

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Interview with St. Louis-based Jeremiah Johnson: the voice of Mississippi River blues blending with the struggles of everyday life.

How has the Blues, Rock and Roots music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

If there is one thing my music journey has taught me, it’s the fact that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I have seen people who look conservative completely burn up the dance floor and throw it down. I have also seen big strong biker guys break down in tears when they hear a song that touches their heart. In the end of the day, it seems we all have a big heart for music.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

It can be hard to describe my sound, but it starts out with a 70’s southern rock, blues-based foundation. I have a bit of a Kentucky/Southern accent that comes out occasionally, and I always try to do what is best for the song. A good song is where the magic mojo all begins. There are thousands of amazing guitar players, it’s good songwriting that separates the diamonds from the coal.

It seems like I have been dreaming about playing the guitar and writing songs since my life began. Truthfully, I was 6 years old when I first begged my parents to pay for guitar lessons. It’s been a long road and a lot of years with the same dream.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

There have been many moments in my career that I could point to as “important experiences” and it is hard to say that one or the other was more important. I would say I am extremely thankful for the friendship I have had with Mike Zito and Devon Allman. I have known them for decades now and it makes me happy to see both doing so well. They have both been good to me. Zito and Allman have both produced records for me.

The best advice I have is, “Every step forward, no natter how small, is a step in the right direction. It could be a long road ahead, just keep moving forward and you will reach your goals. The true joy of life is in the journey.”

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

In 2019, I was fortunate enough of tour with Mike Zito. We had a 12-hr drive across Germany and Zito asked me if I wanted to take a journey or ride in the van. I said let take a journey! We rode in a taxi, two different trains, two different trains and one short plane ride. We arrived at the hotel doorstep in about 10 hours and I had such a wonderful experience traveling across Germany. I hope to be back in Europe in Fall of 2021.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I can’t say I miss anything nowadays; I just wish blues was popular like it was in the 80’ and 90’s. Bands like The Fabulous Thunderbirds, SRV and Eric Clapton used to be on the big radio stations. If we keep going the way we are headed with streaming services and lack of interest in physical CD’s, smaller blues artists are not going to be able to earn a living.

Why do you think that Ruf Records (Label) continues to generate such a devoted following?

Because Thomas Ruf is a genius! Hell, he signed me didn’t he! Seriously, Ruf Records consistently puts out high quality artists who push the envelopes of the genera. I am proud to be on Ruf Records and have a great relationship with everyone at the label.

What would you say characterizes St. Louis Blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

To me St Louis Blues is somewhere between Texas and Chicago styles of blues. Lot’s of horn players, plenty of piano players and a solid band that can not only shuffle, but they can bring the heat. It’s hard to explain. Why don’t you come visit our city and I can show you how good it feels.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Blues music brings people of all kinds, together and helps one realize that we are more alike than not. I hope my music makes you want to dance, close your eyes and forget what troubles you.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would like to go back to the amazing concerts I went to in my youthful party days and actually pay attention to the damn concert! I went to some great concerts and only seen half of them!

Interview by Michael Limnios

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Interview with Hamilton Loomis: Season Blues Greetings: Video, Photos

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Interview with Texas blues musician Hamilton Loomis: Christmas album “This Season” brings us hope – at a time when it’s needed most.

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I can say growing up in the Blues scene really opened my eyes to the power of music to unite people. I was lucky to be mentored by Blues veterans, and they showed me how music shatters the barriers between race, culture, age, gender, etc., and that’s more important than ever to be a part of in our very divided country and world.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

People have said my “sound” is hard to describe…it’s really a mash-up of all my favorite music I listened to growing up: Soul, Blues, Rock, Funk, and Pop. I try to make my sound as homogenous as possible, so it comes out as Funk rhythms with Blues & Rock guitar, Soul-like vocals, and most written with Pop-type melodies. As far as creative drive, I have learned to find inspiration in everyday life, sometimes from everyday things, and turn them into something uplifting or inspirational. A lot of my recent inspiration has come from my 6-year-old son, who was diagnosed with hyperinsulinism, a rare pancreatic disease that causes dangerously low blood sugar. This has also changed my mission to include raising awareness for hyperinsulinism and hypoglycemia.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, and studio which you’d like to share? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I think my favorite memory was Bo Diddley calling me on stage to jam with him when I was 16…it spawned a friendship with him that lasted until he passed away, and I’m so grateful for it! He gave me a lot of advice and encouragement…the best advice was to find my own sound: “Don’t sound like me, sound like YOU. Innovate, don’t imitate”. That was the beginning of my journey in becoming as artist.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I think I miss the original authenticity, to be honest…the Blues pioneers and Blues masters sang about their lives, and about their truth, which was so pure. I knew early on that even though I had a deep reverence for Blues, and was educated by some notable Blues masters, I didn’t live the life they did, nor could I ever sing about the topics they sang about. I knew I had to find my own truth, and sing about my experiences and from my perspective, while still honoring the music and passing it on to future generations.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I wish that talent + vision + originality = automatic success and millions of records sold. I know so many amazing musicians and artists who never make it, and yet there are many untalented and/or unoriginal artists that top the charts. It doesn’t seem fair.

What touched (emotionally) you from the Christmas’ spirit and songs? How does the Seasons affect your mood and inspiration?

I love that Christmas is all about togetherness, family, giving, etc. I feel like Christmas (in general) gives the world a much-needed jolt of positivity. Regarding the seasons, that’s a tough one, because here in South Texas where I live, we have basically one season: HOT. I mean, it occasionally gets cold in Winter, but not for long…it was 78 degrees last Christmas, and I remember 3 or 4 years ago it was 80 degrees! In fact, this very situation inspired me to write one of my Christmas songs, “Another South Texas Christmas” which is totally tongue-in-cheek, but a really fun song to perform live.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I mentioned this in an earlier question, but music (and especially LIVE music) is truly one of the only things that brings different people together. Over the years, I’ve had many small onstage moments that have made a huge impact in my life: watching black & white people synchronously bobbing their heads at a concert, watching an old guy fist-bump a young guy at a live show, watching poor folks jammin’ out next to rich folks…these may seem like small things, but they showed me the power of music, and made me sure that I was doing something meaningful in the world.

What is the impact of Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

First of all, I think that it’s important that people realize and understand the struggles and hardships Black Americans were going through when this music was first created, and how it literally influenced all American music to follow. Also, it’s important for musicians of my generation to educate the younger generations on this topic, and how important Blues is for our history. Now, even though times have changed, and the music has evolved and changed, I believe that at its core, Blues is about expression, and everybody has something to say or express… and when artists put their music out there into the world, they connect with people who feel the same things.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

That’s a tough one! I think I would love to experience a day at Woodstock 1969… I think that festival was an amazing historical event for music, not just because there were so many amazing artists that performed there, but because of the peaceful gathering. That year produced some of my favorite music of all time. Let’s just pick a day that it didn’t rain!

Interview by Michael Limnios

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Interview with Jack de Keyzer: Tribute to the masters: Video, Photos

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Interview with Canadian guitarist Jack de Keyzer, pays tribute to the great blues masters and heroes

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I grew up in the era of hippies and psychedelia and very liberal views and I haven’t really changed through the years. I’m peace and love guy.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

My sound is very blues oriented with strong elements of British blues rock. I grew up with the Beatles the Rolling Stones and a few later years later, when I’d been playing the guitar for a couple of years I was heavily influenced by Clapton, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and a few years after that Led Zeppelin. A few years after that I became very influenced by the original blues people starting with Robert Johnson, and a lot of the Chess records Chicago Blues masters. I am also very influenced by soul jazz, hard bop and a lot of the Blue Note jazz musicians.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

My first big mentor was a guy from Canada named King Biscuit Boy aka Richard Newell. He had one of the largest blues record collections in Canada and was an internationally acclaimed recording artist singer, songwriter and harmonica player. He turned me onto all the great bluesman, on Chess records, Specialty records, Excello, King, Sun, just to name a few. It was a great education and my first big time pro gig.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I played a series of shows with Bo Diddley in the 90s. We were rehearsing at the El Mocambo night club in Toronto getting ready for our first of two nights. He looked at the drummer and said do you know the Bo Diddley beat? The drummer nodded yeah man of course! Bo looked at him and said, ‘don’t play it.’ Because- Bo Diddley played that beat on his guitar! Nobody else was supposed to play that. We all had to play counterpoint rhythms to what he was playing. I Also played for a week with the incredible Etta James. She called me “the Canadian Keith Richards”, I also got lots of great advice from classic Blues people like Muddy Waters drummer, the late great Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Whenever I got too fancy, too high up the neck, or too fast, he’d look at me and say “Take your time son- play the blues” These guys they only played with feeling -if you can’t play with feeling -you may as well not play at all! And that’s my little bit of advice.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss authenticity, I miss blues with a feeling. There’s way too much importance put on how many guitars you have on stage, and what vintage they are, and how fast you can play and which fancy venue in which country you toured. It’s just faking it- there’s no real feeling there. Rich people playing and buying their way into the blues – I can’t go for that! No can do.

Make an account of the case of the blues in Canada. Which is the most interesting period in local blues scene?

The blues scene in Canada is the strongest it’s ever been right now. There are so many great artists. Classic artists like Colin James. Sue Foley is a very good player and singer, my friends in Monkey Junk, Paul DesLauriers Band, Steve Strongman, Dawn Tyler Watson are all world-class. And also, young up-and-coming guys like Spencer MacKenzie are making great records.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

What I love about music is that the possibilities are limitless. I consider myself a lifelong student of music and love every day that I get to play, practice and compose. Music is a never-ending fountain of inspiration.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Nietzsche said it best, “Life without music would be a mistake”. And here’s my quote “Music is the glue that binds us together.”

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Jimi Hendrix Experience debut at the Bag o’ Nails club in London England November 25, 1966. Every British blues rocker was at that gig, the Rolling Stones, Clapton, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Jimmy Page, John Mayall. That’s one date I would’ve liked to have been in attendance!

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by David McDonald

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Interview with Joseph Mojo Morganfield: I think Blues can be a happy song as well: Video, Photos

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Interview with blues singer Joseph “Mojo” Morganfield – Muddy Waters‘ youngest son is a rising star on the Chicago blues scene.

How has the Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Having Blues at an early age, seeing my father’s trials and tribulations, seeing current events happening in the world…the Blues has made me stronger, with a thick skin, I have learned to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

How do you describe your music philosophy and songbook? What was the hardest part to be Muddy’s son?

My music is definitely influenced by my father, with a more up to date approach. I don’t necessarily like “old fashioned” Blues – I think Blues can be a happy song as well.

The high expectations of being Muddy’s son – people compare me to Muddy. They need to realize there is only one Muddy Waters. I am trying to make a way for Mojo Morganfield.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Bob Margolin – knowing him as a kid and performing with him as an adult – we have an unbreakable bond.
Best advise was from my father – he taught me to be true to myself – to be me – people are going to like you or they’re not but you have to be true to yourself.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the stories and comraderies – when a musician was a musician and didn’t have to be in your band to perform on stage. I miss traveling with my band – now there are bands waiting for you. My dad would have never gone for that. His band went everywhere with him.

That the Blues will continue – we need to reach out to youth, to continue to find and encouraged young talent.

Why do you think that Delmark Records continues to generate such a devoted following?

It is the oldest American Jazz/Blues record label, and its right here in Chicago. With that recognition they can reach a lot of people. That is why I chose Delmark to release my new single “It’s Good to be King”.

What would you say characterizes Chicago blues scene in comparison to other US local scenes and circuits?

Chicago Blues is the capital of Blues – founded in Mississippi, but different in St Louis and Tennessee, made more of an urban sound in Chicago. My dad changed the dynamics – Chicago doesn’t use horns, we use a harp instead. Two guitars, a rhythm and a lead, we added a piano. That’s the Chicago way.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Always have a rehearsal with a new band. Encourage others – especially younger – you never know who is the next Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, or Howling Wolf. Stay humble.

What is the impact of Blues on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

The Blues changed. When my father was a young man the blues was a black audience, but when Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, and Johnny Winters introduced the world to my father the Blues became white overnight. But the Blues is the foundation of music and crosses cultural borders – no boundaries – meaning age or race.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

1941 – Clarksdale MS to the day Alan Lomax recorded a young Muddy Waters for the Library of Congress. I also want to find Robert Johnson to see how great he was.

Interview By Michael Limnios / Photos by Connie Carroll

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Rehearsal 🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵 - Joseph Mojo Morganfield | Facebook

Rehearsal 🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵 - Joseph Mojo Morganfield | Facebook

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Interview with Peter Veteska: Blues Train Running: Video, Photos

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Interview with East Coast guitarist Peter Veteska & Blues Train: steaming full-bore blues, funk, soul and swinging good time music

What do you learn about yourself from the Blues people and culture? What were the reasons that you started the Blues and Jazz researches?

I grew up in a very tough neighborhood in Brooklyn NY for me Blues is about overcoming adversity and meeting life challenges head on. It is through that experience that I relate to the Blues. Blues is a guttural music, It’s about expressing a feeling despair or jubilation through music. There’s a simplicity to Blues which makes it challenging. Jazz however is a different skill set They are both improvisational. So, for me, fusing the two genres works It’s important to push the boundaries with music other you’re just doing what’s already been done.

How do you describe your songbook and sound? Where does your creative drive come from?

Our songbook consists of originals and covers. Each song is inspired by different things for example Alibi is about me growing up on the streets of NY when I was a teenager. The previous album title is a variation of “Shaken but not stirred’ So I changed the last word to deterred. It addresses my attitude when people criticize our musical approach, some feel that we’re not pure blues, in which I respond, if you don’t push the boundaries it’s gonna sound recycled and rehashed. Let’s face it, if you’re coming out of BB or Albert your just not gonna do it as well they did it.
Fresh, vibrant & diverse …infusing elements of Jazz, Funk & soul Although my sound is guitar driven, I like to add sax & B3 to add more layers to our sound I make a conscious effort to avoid musical clichés. So, we usually cover lesser known Blues classics. When we record a classic, such as T-Bone Shuffle I create my own arrangement and the song takes on a new life. I put much emphasis on my vocals as well. East coast urban blues! Creative drive; I’ve listened to many artists and different genres. Jazz R&B Soul/funk. I get inspiration from numerous artists and life events. I like forging ahead and creating a new sound.

How do you describe new album “Grass Ain’t Greener On The Other Side” sound and songbook?

This is my fifth album. The previous albums were pushing the blues envelope a bit. I was injecting some jazz & funk and found I was straying from the pureness of the blues. With this album, my approach was different – most of the songs stay true to the blues genre, and none of the tracks were previously rehearsed. We did them live in the studio with one or two quick rehearsals and on some tracks the rehearsal was the actual take with minimum overdubs. I want the songs to sound live and have energy. I also did away with my pedals to get a more organic and less overdriven sound – except for the title track. As for the song book, I wrote five songs and co-wrote the sixth. There was a huge change that took place in my life, and love and passion played a large part in the songs’ inspiration, lyrically and musically.

Are there any memories from “Grass Ain’t Greener On The Other Side” studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

A few studio sessions stand out. I asked Mikey Junior to join us for two songs. When he arrived, he marveled at the sight of an original 59 Fender Bassman amp. He started playing through it and his energy level just blew through the roof. He used this on the opening track, “Am I Wrong.”

The second was the session with Delaware bluesman Roger Girke who contributed co vocals and guitar on “Heartbreaker.” It was just a fun session – the musical chemistry was great as we worked through different tempos and final arrangements. That session also included some stellar session work from drummer Alex D ‘Agnese, bassist Coo Moe Jhee and B3 legend Jeff Levine who laid down a live killer solo and intro. During much of the session work, our drummer Alex was battling a serious decease and still showed up and gave 100%, in my opinion doing some of his finest drum work.

What touched (emotionally) you from Ahmet Ertegun’s Heartbreaker and Willie Cobb’s You Don’t Love Me?

It’s usually the groove that captivates me. The Ray Charles version of “Heartbreaker” is such a great groove and I loved his vocal approach. That’s what moved me. I think it’s a mistake to try to recreate what a master has laid down, which is why I took it in a different direction. The Allman Brothers version of “You Don’t Love Me” is the version that inspired me as a guitarist in the early to mid-70s. This song for me was huge, especially Duane’s playing and the way they jammed on it. We opened up the song in the extended outro. The energy of the rhythm section picked up a few notches and the back and forth with Jeff’s amazing B3 playing was sublime.

What do you love most and what is the hardest part of writing a song? How do you want it to affect people?

Personally, I don’t find writing to be difficult unless I force the issue. Most of my recorded original songs flow out of me and are initially written in 30 minutes or less. I then work on them for about 2 weeks and fine tune every aspect of the song. My favorite part is once we record the backing track. Once that is complete l go back and do my finished vocal and guitar tracks. At this point it becomes very gratifying. I do however enjoy the whole process. Obviously, each song is different – some songs are strong rhythmically, others melodically. Above all, I want the audience to be moved by the song.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

More emphasis on the music and less about the image.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

We’ve recorded four studio albums and all four have been recorded at Shorefire Recording Studio. Mixed, engineered and co-produced by the owner, Joseph DeMaio. During the recording process you need an independent ear that can guide and advise you in an objective way. Joe has provided that for us and has become an extension of the band. You go into the studio with preconceived ideas, some work and some don’t. I rely on Joe for his musical input because his wealth of experience Is invaluable. He is respectful of the artist and knows when and when not to offer his opinion.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your paths in the music circuits and roads?

To stay humble, be kind to the people you meet. Life is a big circle. Most musicians are very passionate about their music and don’t take criticism well, so don’t offer it.

Do you consider the Blues & Jazz a specific music genre and artistic movement or do you think it’s a state of mind?

Jazz & blues do overlap each other, but they are certainly two separate genres. Obviously, there’s more complexity and skill with Jazz. Jazz players play all the chord changes when soloing. The first- and second-generation blues artist played mostly pentatonic scales while soloing. There’s a simplicity and yet a complexity to that style of playing. Many of today’s blues players play the changes. That’s how I approach it. When your soloing frames out the chords it has much more melodic content. Bending & vibrato is also very important in blues playing. Blues is certainly more feel.

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I met many fine musicians mostly at various blues jams. Two people in particular helped me by giving me guidance & advice. Bob DelRosso who is an incredible blues guitarist helped me with my tone & discussing the importance of dynamics. His feel & pocket is second to none and always plays in the moment. Ernie W also gave me immeasurable advice by telling the importance of being a good rhythm guitarist and slowing down on my solos and landing them correctly less is more, this applies to most creative things music, art, architecture etc.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

As is with country music the blues music today is infusing other genres of music. Rock, jazz, funk country etc. some of it is done quite well but much of it strays off too far from blues. It’s important that we don’t dilute what the first-generation blues greats created. I’m all for pushing the envelope but we must respect the past.

What has made you laugh and what touched (emotionally) you from local NYC blues scene?

NY Blues Hall of Fame the Criteria they used for induction was unexpected. I was inducted after 4 years on the musical scene although I was deeply honored I’m not sure if it was deserved at the time.

How has the Blues and Jazz music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Blues music as I’m discovering is like a big family. Weather on a local level or national there’s tremendous camaraderie and some very interesting Individuals.

What is the impact of Blues music and culture to the racial, political, and socio-cultural implications?

I think it’s fair to say at least from my perspective most blues guys & gals’ politics lean to the left. Blues emanates from black culture who struggled & suffered in America where there was a lot of racial tension. I see many of today’s blues musicians DJ’s & publishers speak out against our establishment in FB posts. I think they have an impact.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Witness live & in person a young BB King live at the Regal in that Legendary Concert. The passion & energy that he played with electrified the audience It was the birth of the electric blues.

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by Patti Martz

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