Papadosio Interview with Mike Healey

Papadosio is a trend setting progressive voice in the world of Rock. They mix an electronic sound with a dash of the psychedelic from past generations. They have created a ground swell through the musical landscape developing their own festival, Rootwire, based out of Southeastern Ohio, a large gathering celebrating Earth and Life. Amy caught up with drummer Mike Healey and they were able to talk about his Ohio roots and the development of a great project like Rootwire. Papadosio will be having a homecoming of sorts as they storm into Bogarts on Friday night for an evening of high energy and eclectic sounds.

Amy: I wanted to ask you about the Rootwire Festival, how did you guys start being involved with the festival and why did you choose the location in Ohio?

Mike: Well the reason behind the location, some of us went to school in Athens, Ohio and we actually played some festivals there before we started doing Rootwire six or seven years ago. We checked out the property and really liked it and had an idea to do a festival ourselves from travelling a lot and making so many awesome friends across the country we could collaborate with and create an amazing event. We decided to choose that land because we had previously visited it, the Cavernous Woods outside of Athens in Logan. It is absolutely beautiful here, some of the oldest mountains in the world in the Appalachian Foothills. There is a lot of great energy there, it’s beautiful and it just couldn’t be a more perfect place to throw a festival the last four years. That’s how that place came about. The festival, we have just been collaborating with so many amazing friends. We just invite our friend bands and friend artists from all over the country and installation artists from all walks of life. It’s just been an absolutely amazing time for four years.

Amy: I saw the band for the first time this year at All Good. Listening to your music, it feels like there is a little bit of a spiritual element to it that inspires it. Do you guys consider yourself spiritual or religious and how does that inspire your music?

Mike: I would say that none of us are religious. There are definitely all sorts of messages throughout our music of some sort of divine connection to Mother Earth and taking care of the place we live and taking care of others and loving others, all kinds of common things we like to talk about. I guess if you want to call it spiritual you can, we call it a no-brainer. You love your neighbor you take care of each other. You want peace in the world and all these universal values, I feel like people can connect to. There are definitely a lot of those messages in our music. I don’t find any of us to be religious at all. Music is our religion honestly. We are always searching for alternative thinking. We are all into the green movement and really into eco-building and sustainable living and alternative energy. All these things are on our mind a lot and we speak about them in music.

Amy: The band has relocated from Ohio to Asheville, NC. I heard you moved to a cabin somewhere outside of town. You must be together as a band a lot of the time or all the time. Is it hard being around each other all the time?

Mike: We actually don’t live in that cabin anymore. We are spread out around town living with our girlfriends and stuff. We do spend a lot of time together. We are on the road 200 days a year. We are always just hanging out on the tour bus together. Even when we are home we still get together and hang out. We are a big ol’ band of brothers just love spending time together. We really enjoy making music and we are all really great friends. It is totally insane. We are gone all the time and it is hard on our ladies spending so much time away. It is learning how to be grounded and feel like you have a home when you are home is kind of hard because we are all over the place all the time. It’s quite the crazy lifestyle. It is not for everyone. We love it. We try to do the best to make it work.

Amy: What is your favorite part of being on the road?

Mike: Definitely playing music every night. That is what we live for. The whole set up and tear down and all the long hours of waiting around are not so fun but once you get on stage and are able to create and get people dancing and seeing all these smiling faces everywhere, that definitely fuels us. Some of the favorite times too are when we are on the road and have a couple days off that we get to go do beautiful things like go visit beautiful national parks or go on some crazy hikes or go relax at a really nice hotel or someone’s house. Those kind of times we look forward to because it is nice to relax and see friends all around the country.

Amy: What is your favorite song to play live?

Mike: That’s a hard one. We have like 50 songs that we have in rotation. I love all of them. I would say a new favorite, we have some new songs, I really like playing a new one that Anthony wrote called “New Love”, they are really fun new songs we have been playing live a lot in every town. Everybody has been really digging it. It is hard to pick a favorite because I love all the material.

Amy: The band has played a lot of festivals, particularly around Ohio. Do you have a favorite festival moment from the past?

Mike: There are so many. I guess we love playing All Good every year because those have been some of the biggest crowds we have ever got to play in front of. We got to play on the main stage last year in front of 15 or 20,000 people. Previous years we got to play after Flaming Lips one year and right before Primus one year and those crowds were like 30,000 people. It was totally insane. It was so cool. Those are definitely high moments. Obviously Rootwire is a big moment. We have started playing some festivals on the West Coast and all over the country. We are really enjoying trying new ones out. We have played so many in the Midwest and East Coast and it has been so nice to try some new festies out west. This year we are doing some of our first International plays. We are really excited to go down to Central America and play like an All Inclusive Festival in December. There is so much going on. I guess All Good has had some really big highlights in the past and many more to come.

Amy: I know you organically make music together a lot, but can you describe your songwriting process?

Mike: There is kind of several different ways we go about doing it. We will have a like a jam session and we come up with a song on the spot and write it together in the rehearsal room and somebody will have a riff and we will go around adding pieces of the puzzle together as a group. Other times, somebody will have almost a completely finished song idea and bring it to the table. People will learn their parts and put their own flare on it. Sometimes someone will have half a song and come to somebody else to help finish it and someone else will write lyrics. It all depends on what is happening during the creative process. Sometimes we will be on tour sitting on our laptops and all of a sudden a riff will come to our heads and we will start writing the song while sitting on the van or the bus and then bring it back after tour and bring it to the band and go from there. Sometimes we are walking through the woods and we get an idea in our head and sing it into our phone real quick and then we will go back later and hop on the computer and our instruments and figure it out and bring it to the band later. It just comes to you sometimes. It’s crazy how it works. It is part of the creative process, you just never know when you will get an idea that will pop into your head and you have to jot it down somehow.

Amy: I know you are from Athens. I am sure you have spent a little time in Cincinnati. Do you have any fond Cincinnati stories from the past?

Mike: Oh yeah. I grew up in Cincinnati. I lived there until I was 18 and then I went to Athens for school for 7 years and then I moved down to Asheville. I’ve been playing drums since I was three years old and I have been in band non-stop since fourth grade so from fourth grade all the way through senior year I was in so many different projects, I played at Bogarts all the time for the Battle of the Bands in high school and got a lot of exposure back then with my younger bands. Now it’s full circle, and now my band Papadosio is back playing at Bogarts again. We played there last year for the first time since high school. It was great. It has a lot of memories for me when I was younger.

Amy: Where did you go to high school here?

Mike: I went to Clark Montessori in Hyde Park. I played in a steel drum band all through junior high and high school too and played all over the city and also toured the country, lots of music going on. I played in hip-hop bands, and rock n roll bands, metal bands, alternative rock bands, all sorts of bands in Cincy as well as steel drum ensembles and the steel drum band in high school. I was quite the busy musician all throughout my childhood.

Amy: This is basically a hometown show for you so it will be fun to be back.

Mike: It’s great, so many friends and family.


Photo by: Aaron Lingenfelter

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Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights Interview

Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights is an Indie Rock band with a bluesy edge that has been entering into the Rock landscape in recent years. They are workhorses touring anywhere and everywhere since the band was formed in 2007. They have played along legends like ZZ Top and are very popular on the festival scene every summer playing to large crowds all over the country. Although they have not released an album since 2010, there is promise of a lot of new music when Tyler spoke with Amy about their upcoming show in Cincinnati this next week. The band will be performing with Taddy Porter at Bogart’s on Wednesday night. For a different, high energy sound, this will provide a great night of music.

Amy: You are currently on tour with Taddy Porter. How did this tour come about?

Jonathan: We have toured with them a lot in the past. Both of our bands formed around the same time. I think about three or four years ago. We started playing shows together and became friends. When we were looking into a tour this Fall, their name came up and everybody was really excited about it. It just came together naturally.

Amy: You have been touring pretty extensively since 2007. What is the best and the hardest part of being on the road for you?

Jonathan: I love playing music live. There is something really special about it. It is one of my favorite things to do. It is really fun to get in front of a live audience and play songs and to just kind of get that energy going between the crowd and the band. It is fun to see what happens, a lot of unique, special, unexpected things happen sometimes and it makes it more fun. It is always fun to try out new songs on people as well.

Amy: Are you guys working on new music currently?

Jonathan: Oh yeah, pretty regularly, all the time. We will be playing new songs at the Cincinnati show.

Amy: What does the perfect day look like for you?

Jonathan: Well I live in California so I love to go to the beach and I love to surf and I love to eat good food and spend time with my girlfriend. When I am on the road, I love to walk around. We usually travel during the day, early in the morning to the city we are playing in. We will set up our gear and we usually have a few hours off. I try to find a good restaurant in town and try out new places basically. I try to see what the city is all about.

Amy: I know you are in different cities every day so it all merges together sometimes.

Jonathan: Yeah. For some reason we haven’t played Cincinnati very much. I don’t know why. We are looking forward to it.

Amy: At one point weren’t you living in Texas?

Jonathan: Yeah that is where the band was formed. I moved in January to California.

Amy: What music are you currently listening to that is inspiring you?

Jonathan: There is a lot of different stuff. I really like the band Endless Boogie from New York. It is like a ZZ Top style Rock n Roll band. I really like those guys. There’s some Electronic music also that I like which probably doesn’t seem likely because I play Rock music and it may surprise some people. I listen to a lot of different music, really anything that will inspire me. I’m also really into Bruce Springsteen right now. This guy named Wink Ray I recently discovered. He is like this 50’s Rockabilly, kind of like Rock guitar player.

Amy: Some people are saying that Rock is dying. Do you believe that with all the popularity of EDM and other genres of music that is happening right now?

Jonathan: Yeah I do. I think it will come back around. I think everything kind of goes in cycles. I think it is easier right now for musicians to do the electronic thing because it is cheaper. You can just make it with one person really. You don’t need an entire band to make tracks and people are making recordings out of their houses. The whole industry is turned up on its side. It’s interesting for sure, but I think Rock is always going to live on.

Amy: If you could trade places with anyone for a month who would it be?

Jonathan: I have to think about that. I really don’t want to be anyone else. That’s a hard one. I honestly can’t say.

Amy: Do you have any habits you’d like to break?

Jonathan: So many. Smoking cigarettes would probably be the number one thing. I guess I don’t want to break it that badly since I still do it.

Amy: What can the fans look forward to in Cincinnati next week?

Jonathan: They can look forward to some new music. We will probably play a lot of new songs. They can look forward to a high energy Rock n Roll show.

Amy: I have seen you many times over the years. I look forward to it. It is always high energy and great Rock n Roll.

Jonathan: Well thanks I appreciate that. We have a lot of new music. We will probably play half new music and half of the older songs. I think people will be happy to come out and see something different if they have seen us before but maybe hear the songs they love as well.


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Q&A with Graeme Edge- The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues personified the Progressive era of Rock n Roll in England of the 60’s and 70’s bringing a psychedelic sound that rivaled the sounds of The Who and others who shaped the genre. They produced so much music between 1965 and 1974 that provides the band with one of the more extensive catalogs of the era.

Amy was privileged to speak with the drummer Graeme Edge. The two discussed the differences of life on the road and the studio today compared to the glory years of stadium shows, acid trips, and phenomenal music. Moody Blues are still hitting the road and entertaining three generations of audiences worldwide. They will be delighting the audience of the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend on the 27th of September.

Amy: I cover a lot of music festivals all summer long and last night I watched the video from the Isle of Wright Festival in 1970 where you guys played to a massive crowd.

Graeme: Oh those were the days weren’t they?

Amy: Yeah, it looked amazing. What were some of your favorite festival moments in the early years?

Graeme: That one you actually saw when we got to play at Sunset when the sun was actually going to go down. That was pretty impressive. I enjoyed that. I don’t know if it was a festival but the first time we did Red Rocks, it was so beautiful. That is another one that stayed with me. Another one for entirely the wrong reasons was one we did in Germany which was kind of strange because somebody booked the Moody Blues thinking we played Blues. A lot of big tattooed pink and frizzy haired audience members were a little puzzled. That was a favorite because they did come around and some applause toward the end after they figured that maybe we were playing a tune that was somewhat entertaining.

Amy: Did you ever get nervous in front of these huge crowds?

Graeme: It doesn’t matter the size of the crowd, I get nervous before I go on any night.

Amy: Are you working on any new music right now?

Graeme: Not really, no. I really don’t know what we would do about it now that the business around it has changed so much. Back in the old days you used to have record labels and they owned studios and there was some kind of organization. Now you make it in a room on Garage Band so everybody uses the same sound. You have a lot of swear words and belief that you have to use sexual references, a bit of controversy of some kind like having a bra strap caught on something, and that is really not me. I don’t really care to be involved in that. The answer to the question is not really. We would love if somebody appeared and would say, “Here is a studio, go in there for three months and make an album like you used to.” That ain’t going to happen, I don’t think. So we will ride off into the sunset and join our really considerable catalog of music.

Amy: You really do have an extensive catalog of songs. What was the process for putting together set lists every night for this tour?

Graeme: There are six or eight songs we have to do because we wouldn’t get out of the place alive if we didn’t do the favorite ones. We have to do “Nights”. You have to do “Tuesday Afternoon”, “Singer in a Rock n Roll Band”, “I Know You are In There  Somewhere”, “The Other Side of Life” and “Isn’t Life Strange.” So half of the set list writes itself and the others we sort of try to represent most of our albums with at least one song and we try to highlight each show with a particular album by doing two or three songs from that album. Most of the songs on the set list are put together to control the emotional impact.  You play a fast one and then a slow one. You make sure modes flow from one to the other. You can have two songs with fast tempo with a completely different feel. That is the mode of it. For instance, “Tuesday Afternoon” and “The Other Side of Life” are virtually the same tempo but completely different songs. “Tuesday Afternoon” is sort of light and green feeling. “The Other Side of Life” is very dark and yet they are both exactly the same tempo. Of course you have to look at when you when you do a set list is the keys to something. Strangely if you do three songs in the same key, say C, one right after the other, even though they can be very different, somehow it gets boring. I don’t know how that actually happens, but it does. That’s something you have to look out for.

Amy: When you guys were writing the songs originally, how did your religious or spiritual beliefs influence the songs?

Graeme: (Laughing hysterically) That is none of your business.

Amy: That’s fair.

Graeme: Mostly it was the drugs that influenced us. There is an overall theme that we have to love nature. There was two active Christians in the band, one Agnostic, that’s me and I’m starting to change my tune from those days, and one Mystic. So all those things threw into the pot and we came up with what we came up with. But mostly I think it was the acid.

Amy: You have been in the band since 1964 with short breaks here and there. What is the most number of days you have gone without playing music?

Graeme: I started playing music when I was four. I play music every day.

Amy: Do you guys have any favorite Cincinnati memories from the past?

Graeme: I will tell you the truth love, when you are on the road you really don’t know where you are.  After making the announcement at the end saying thank you, he has it written down in big words at his feet because people really get pissed off if you get the name of their town wrong. You just go to the bus, you get off the bus and sometimes you go straight to the gig, sometimes you go to the hotel and get a quick wash and clean up, get down to the gig in time for sound check, have an early dinner, sit down and do what you do for a couple hours until the stage show comes up, take a nap or meditate or whatever it is you do, then you do the gig, then you either end up go back to a hotel and get up and go back to the bus or get on the bus and go to a hotel. You never get a time to have a look at a town or see where you are. I probably don’t know where I am until I see the room we are playing in. I will remember that. I really don’t have any memories.

Amy: Do you ever get asked or give advice to new bands starting out?

Graeme: We used to sometimes but now we don’t because the gap between us and new bands is just way too wide now. The best advice you can give anybody is unless you really love it, don’t get into it because it is going to break your heart. Unless you can’t consider doing anything else with your life, don’t do it because chances are you are going to working away your entire life and get nowhere. If you consider the odds, the thousands of people who start that manage to make a living and then throw in the number of people that get wiped out and ruined emotionally. You only want to be in this business if you care too much like me.

Amy: Do you have any regrets over the years?

Graeme: Oh yea, huge, millions of them. Many personal ones, many career ones, many decisions, but would I change anything, I’m not sure I would because I really like where I am now. There is one or two, some personal ones, things I have done to hurt people, I regret that as I approach my time looking back I wish I had not done that or I should not have done that, so I have a few regrets but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Amy: What is it like playing for three generations of fans now coming to your shows?

Graeme: It’s fun. When you look around and see these people 20 or 25, you look to see if they are still coming with their parents. We still see a few people with their parents, when they are little kids and get them up to the front of the stage at the end of the show, I always give the little kids my drum sticks because they have sat through two hours of boring music with their parents and they should get a little treat. There are some I have watched grow up over the years. It is gratifying and when you see three generations you think you got one or two things right.

Amy: What do you feel is your greatest Rock n Roll moment over the years?

Graeme: For the world or me personally?

Amy: You can tell me both.

Graeme: It may be the same for both. My greatest Rock n Roll moment is when I saw… This is tough. For me personally, there was a club in London where we used to all play. People would fly in from all parts of the country because the bar didn’t close until 4 o’clock but the band stopped playing at 2. We all used to get up there, The Animals, us, the Stones, whoever the popular bands were at the time. We were there one night with Jack Bruce who was on bass guitar, Eric Clapton was on lead, Chaz Chandler from the Animals brought this Black American up on stage and it was Jimi Hendrix and I was playing behind Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix in a club in London before cell phones so nobody got a copy of it. I would have loved to see that. To see those two guitarists, what a wish, and that was when they had a respect for each other, and that is when they won each other’s respect. It was something to behold. That was the greatest moment for me. The greatest moment for Rock n Roll was probably the day Elvis Pressley was born.

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Ohio River Throwdown Preview Q&A with The Rides Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Kenny Wayne Shepherd brings a youthful side to American Blues music. He has seen great success since his first album Ledbetter Heights going platinum and reaching number one on the Blues charts. Now he has developed a new exciting project, forming a band called The Rides with Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg. The Rides will be headlining at the Ohio River Throwdown Saturday at Riverbend  playing alongside other acts like Tedeschi Trucks Band, JJ Grey and the Mofro, and Los Lobos. It should be an awesome night to spend with family and the Blues in the Queen City.

Amy: I saw behind the scenes videos of The Rides recording in the studio together. What was your favorite experience being in the studio with the other two guys?

Kenny: Well the whole thing was a really good experience. Everybody had a really great time doing the record. It’s just very interesting. You look back over the course Steven’s career, and Barry as well, and these guys have made some really tremendous records in their time. They have also been on so many albums and done this for so many years that they have accumulated a vast wealth of knowledge of how to do things in the studio. For me, even though I have had my recording career for 20 years now, I still consider myself to be like a sponge just trying to soak up as much information as I can. I learned a lot from those guys and it was a really good time.

Amy: Where did the name of the band actually originate?

Kenny: We were putting our heads together. It went on for two weeks. One of the hardest things to do is to come up with a band name, at least it can be one of the most challenging things to do. A lot of the reasons why it is so hard to do nowadays is because almost every name has been used. Everything we came up with, we would go back home and I would look it up online and do a Google search and someone would have that name and we would start over again. We spent a lot of the time in the studio between recordings, Steven and I are both big car guys, I mean we love cars. Steven and his wife have some of the most incredible cars you could hope to own. I have a pretty cool collection myself. We spent a good bit of time talking about cars and driving and stuff like that. As we were exploring name options for the band, one day we were at Steven’s house and I had driven my 1964 Dodge to his house and we were walking out to the driveway to leave and he just looked at my car and said, “You know we should be called The Rides.” I was like, “Yeah. That’s cool.” I went home and checked and couldn’t find anybody with that name. So here we are.

Amy: What is your favorite car you have?

Kenny: I don’t know. I would say right now, my 1969 Dodge Charger and I think it is one of the most beautiful, one of the most visually stunning cars that was ever designed. Probably that one is my favorite.

Amy: I have listened to the new album and I really, really love it. What is your favorite song to play on the new album?

Kenny: I go through phases when I do a new record like, “Right now this is my favorite song…” and then a few months from now a different one is my favorite one. Currently my favorite is “Can’t Get Enough,” the title track. That song is a great representation of this band and what we are about. It is one of the songs we wrote together. It has great, heavy guitars. It has got really, good lyrics. Even the vocal is nice and raspy and bluesy. There are lots of dynamics to that song and I think it is just really a great representation of who we are as a group.

Amy: Typically you are touring with your band by yourself. How did you manage or what was it like splitting singing duties with Steven?

Kenny: I split singing duties, to a degree, in my own band. I have Noah Hunt, who is from Cincinnati, he has been my lead vocalist for 17 years. But over the past few years of my career, I have stepped up here and there to the microphone when I wanted to and on the last record we recorded, Noah and I sang a lot of songs together. I have kind of started to integrate that idea into my own band even though I tend to let Noah sing most of the songs because he has such an incredible voice and it enables me more to focus more on my guitar playing. There is certainly in this band more vocal responsibility for me. I really wanted to do it. It is pretty cool. Like being around Steven who is so well known for his singing and vocals, it has been inspiring to me to step up to the microphone and sing more.

Amy: I thought I saw Noah at the Peter Frampton show in Cincinnati.

Kenny: He was there. He went to the show because we had just been on the road with Peter over the past two months we had done some shows with him. Noah wanted to go hang out and see everybody when they came through town so he went.

Amy: What is the favorite guitar you have ever played?

Kenny: The one I am most attached to is my 1961 Stratocaster. It is the first Strat I ever got. When you are a guitar player you hear this story about how there is this one guitar that is your sole mate. There is one guitar out there that was built for you. You know it the minute you pick it up and start playing it. Some guys go their entire lives trying to find it. I found this guitar when I was just 15 years old. The minute I picked it up, it fit me like a glove. I did everything I could to get it, I couldn’t afford it at the time then later on the following year, it was in Los Angeles at the Guitar Center. Then I came back a year later and it was still there. I still didn’t have the money to afford it but I decided I wasn’t leaving the store without it. I told my Dad, he was like “We gotta go.” I’m like, “I’m not leaving without this guitar.” Between him, the guy at my record company, my A&R guy, my music attorney, they decide they would split the cost up on their credit cards as long as I agreed to pay them back. I did. That guitar has been with me ever since. It has toured the world with me and been on every record I have ever done. It is just my baby.

Amy: That is a great story. I have interviewed so many guitar players and nobody has talked to me about their sole mate guitar before.

Kenny: Yeah well, it really is. I don’t know about those guys but there is a bond between me and that instrument. I feel like all guitar players have their go-to instrument and there should be a really solid connection between them and the instrument.

Amy: Social media has become invaluable with marketing music and musicians. When you are on the internet, in general, where do you spend most of your time?

Kenny: I am a creature of habit and repetition when it comes to browsing the web. I have a couple of sites I look at every day. I go online and get my daily dose of the news. I usually go to AOL because half of their stories report the news and the other half are like looking at a tabloid magazine. They have some really weird stuff they put up there. I have a couple car enthusiast websites like there is a website called which is for all Mopart Car enthusiast. I love the Dodge-Chrysler-Plymouth brands so I am a Mopart guy. There are a couple guitar pages that I go onto to see what is going on in the world of guitar. I check in, there is a page called then I go to the Fender Forums and I am also obsessed with the new Tesla Electric cars. I have been browsing their forums a lot educating myself on their technology and stuff. I am kind of a geek when it comes to cars and all things mechanical.

Amy: Can you tell us what the fans can expect from the live show in Cincinnati in September?

Kenny: We just rehearsed, we just had four days to rehearse for this tour and none of us had played any of these songs since we recorded the album back in December. So, I guess with my schedule with my band and Steven and his band, we had a very narrow window of opportunity to prepare for this tour. We are basically going to do the album and throw in a few songs from my catalog and Steven’s catalog and stuff that Barry wrote that other people recorded. The whole goal is to be loose and have a good time and just play music together. They’ll hear a little bit of my stuff, a little bit of Steven’s stuff, a little bit of Barry’s stiff, then they’ll hear the whole record.


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Q&A with Miles Zuniga from Fastball

Time flies and it does not seem like it has been 15 years since Fastball released their biggest hit “The Way,” but their alternative sound transcended the 90’s and is already considered a classic. They have just gotten off the Under the Sun tour with fellow 90’s rockers the Gin Blossoms, and they will quickly begin their own headlining tour coming through Ohio.

Amy spoke with guitar player Miles Zuniga in preparation for their show in Dayton. The two discussed tour life and the changes in their musical hometown of Austin.  The Easthills & 650 North will open the show with Fastball headlining Friday September 13th at McGuffy’s.

Amy: What was the highlight of your Summer Under the Sun tour?

Miles: There were a lot of highlights. I got to play bass in the Gin Blossoms as well as playing with Fastball. That was a perk. Just being around those great musicians and stuff. It was probably playing at Humphreys by the Bay in San Diego. It is an amazing venue. It is right by the ocean and you get a real good view on stage that is pretty great. There was also a sailboat that some guy owned down in Charlotte and he named it “The Way.” Actually it was a yacht, an 85 foot yacht, and I got to go on his yacht. That was pretty nice.

Amy: How has the process changed over the years for you guys to put together songs?

Miles: Probably the biggest way it has changed, when we started, it was a lot harder to flesh out something on your own because I had a little 4-Track. I didn’t have a jump drive or anything. You couldn’t really imagine how the whole piece of music would look. These days, with computers, it is pretty easy. You could do something that could potentially even end up as a recording if you wanted. That is what has changed the most for me. I can construct songs and get them in the ballpark of what I hear in my head. To me that is really good. It eliminates a lot of the misunderstanding. Sometimes it is good to have an open slate and hear what a song is going to do with no pre-conceptions.

Amy: The band is from Austin. Austin has become this major music scene. How has Austin changed since the ‘90’s when you started out?

Miles: It has grown exponentially. It is kind of a drag for people like me because I felt like I used to have it all to myself. It wasn’t as crowded. It is kind of turning into into a big city and all that entails. The restaurant scene is more exciting but at the same time, traffic sucks. I don’t know where live music fits in to the whole bit. I think the live music scene is roughly the same amount of people playing live music. I don’t think the live music scene has grown in terms of how many people are doing it with the population. I think it has remained the same. I don’t know. To be fair, I don’t go out as much as I used to and see bands.

Amy: You have used Kickstarter, it is becoming very popular as well, to raise funds for your musical projects. Can you talk a little bit about that process and why you think it has become so popular for people to do use this as a tool for fundraising?

Miles: It has become invaluable. It is very hard to make money off recording these days with the advent of Pandora and Spotify. People are used to getting music for free or next to nothing. So it is very different from when we had hit songs and people had to go to the record store to buy the record. The problem is, the cost of making a record hasn’t come down accordingly. It has come down but it still costs. If you are going to do a record with artwork and everything and all that, it is going to cost you anywhere from 15 grand to 30 grand, maybe more. It just depends. Everything costs money. It is invaluable with a thing like Kickstarter, finding the fans willing to commit to the project before they have heard the music. That is pretty radical. That means they are real fans. They love what you do and trust that you are going to deliver something they are going to enjoy.

Amy: When you have written songs in the past, did you know when you were writing them that you had a hit?

Miles: No. We had no idea. “The Way” was our biggest song. We had no idea that song was going to do what it did. It was one of the more contentious numbers in terms of how we wanted it to go. Tony and I were at each other’s heads about how it should sound. I think all that creative friction really ended up producing a classic. We didn’t know it at the time in the moment. None of us thought it was going to be a gigantic song. In fact, it takes a full minute before the vocal comes in. I never would have thought that had commercial potential to wait that long before vocal starts. It turns out DJs love that kind of thing because they can talk over it.

“Out of my Head,” when I first heard Tony play that, I thought, this is great and this is a hit, and I was right but everybody kind of thought that song was a hit. It was not anywhere as big of a hit as ‘The Way” though and that is interesting.

Amy: What music is inspiring you right now?

Miles: I like all kinds of stuff. I think that band Foxygen is really good.

Amy: I love them. I love Foxygen. I am a music photographer and you can’t beat shooting them.

Miles: I would note too as far as new music, I don’t usually do this but I decided I would listen to the Top 5 songs or top 10 songs according to Billboard just to hear what people love because I never listen to radio or anything. I ended up liking what I heard and it has been the same top two songs all summer, the Daft Punk song and the “Blurred Lines” song. The more I learned about the “Blurred Lines” song the less I liked it. In the beginning I liked it a lot in terms of just listening to it and hearing it for the first time. What a great summer time jam and smash hit.

Amy: Are there any habits you’d like to break?

Miles: I am actually in the process of breaking them right now. I decided, I just got off this tour and I was drinking a lot on it. I decided that was it. That was the last hurrah. I’m not going to drink like that anymore ever. It is just not fun. It is like an old piece of gum. I have done it enough. I am trying to exercise more than I already do. I am trying to get up early. Boring stuff. It is not exciting stuff but I guess breaking bad habits isn’t exciting.

Amy: Being healthy?

Miles: Being healthy and just being more present, not being worried about tomorrow or yesterday but being more into what is going on right at this second. I think if you can learn how to do that it is an amazing thing. Life definitely improves because there is something really fantastic being in the moment. It is hard to do. People are distracted. I am distracted with all the little modern conveniences with the internet and all that crap. I think it is really a detrimental thing but it is hard to resist too, you know instant gratification.

Amy: What adjectives do you hope people describe you at 75?

Miles: Generous… Charming…  Handsome… Hilarious… A Raconteur

Amy: What does your ideal day look like?’

Miles: Get up around 9 in the morning, have a beautiful cup of coffee, go run or swim, have lunch, and then do some creative work for three or four hours, then go have dinner with a beautiful woman and then maybe go see a movie or something. That would be a pretty damn good day.

Amy: What has been your greatest Rock star moment?

Miles: I don’t think I can narrow it down to one single moment. There have been so many great memories. One night I got to hang out at a bar with David Lee Roth and Dennis Rodman. We played a really great show, an amazing show in Helsinki, Finland, having a number one record, being so far from home and to have these people freaking out about the music you wrote in your bedroom is pretty amazing.

Amy: What can the fans expect when you come to Dayton?

Miles: Loud, poetic Rock n Roll and maybe a couple stories thrown in.





Posted in Fastball Tagged , |

Q&A with Lightnin’ Malcom

Lightnin’ Malcolm drives the genre of underground Blues as a member of the North Mississippi All-Stars and as a solo artist. Alongside counterpart Carl Gentle White aka “Stud” on drums, the dichotomy of their two sounds produces a rough, soulful sound that reminds folks of the days of acts like Lightning Hopkins and other Blues legend Howling Wolf. Audiences should be prepared to dance, party and delight in Malcolm’s real, Mississippi sounds Monday September 9 at the Southgate Revival House opening for and playing alongside the North Mississippi All-Stars.

Amy: I know you have an album coming out on September 10th. Can you tell me a little bit about the album?

Malcolm: Well it is 14 original songs and they have quite a few different styles on them. It is all based on my style, which is based on the hard driving, raw boogey, North Mississippi Hill Country style. It is mostly guitar and drums duo but we add some horns on a few tracks. We have Luther Dickinson playing slide on a few songs. So it is a pretty good mix of stuff.

Amy: I was listening to some of it this week. I love “My Life is a Wreck.” Can you tell me the story behind that song?

Malcolm: Well that is a semi-autobigraphical piece. One of my greatest influences was T Model Ford and he recently passed and that song was based on a style he had on the guitar. His grandson Stud is playing drums with me now. That was the first song we did in the studio. That was his first song recording and I thought it was a great way to feature it. My music depends on a great drummer. Drums are so important to the music and he is one of the best. I have known Stud since he was like one year old. He grew up watching me play drums with his granddad. He knows the style of drums that I like, the raw, four on the floor, predator style, no messing around. Just raw and making people dance. By us knowing each other so long, he is like my little, baby brother. We have this chemistry together that works so well.

Amy: I watched some videos of you two playing together. It is super high energy and looks like a lot of fun.

Malcolm: Yeah, that is the key to it all, we don’t have to hit a note exactly right or guitar solos. We just try to create as much kerosene and as much fun for the people as we can. We just want to see people party and have fun.

Amy: How old were you when you picked up your first guitar?

Malcolm: I was about 10 or 12. Before that, I really wanted to be a drummer. I used to beat on buckets and pots and pans, put the radio on and play along with them. I didn’t have any actual drums and I finally got a hold of a little piece of guitar. I didn’t know how to tune it or nothing but I fell in love with the strings in my hand. It took a while to learn how to tune it because I didn’t have anybody around me to show me at that time. Once I learned how to tune it, I started learning pretty fast. It just became everything to me. I look at the guitar like some people look at the Bible. It is like a vehicle for something later. I leave Earth. I can go on a vacation in my backyard with a guitar. I can escape to a whole other world with it.

Amy: I know you eventually moved to Mississippi after growing up in Missouri. How did you hook up with some of these great guitar and blues players in Mississippi?

Malcolm: I just made friends with them. I met Lightning right off. They saw something special in me I think. I wasn’t trying to blow them off stage. I didn’t ask them many questions like how to do things. They noticed whatever they played I could play back. They hadn’t seen too many white guys, or any guys that could do that. So we just made friends. It was pretty easy. Those were the kind of guys I wanted to be around. They really took me in. They were really nice to me. They never said I wouldn’t be able to do it. There was everybody else saying, “You won’t be able to do it.” They were the guys saying, “You got it. Stick with it.”

Amy: Alive or dead, what one person would you want to collaborate with if you could?

Malcolm: That’s a good question. I think, you know what’s funny, there are a lot of people outside of the Blues I’d like to collaborate with nowadays, of course like John Lee Hooker is one of my all time favorites, Howling Wolf, there are so many Blues guys. Out of living artists, I’ll tell you a guy I love right now, two guys I love, they are more like R&B is an artist named Lyfe Jennings, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him, he’s fucking awesome, he’s so sincere. Another guy is Anthony Hamilton who is a soul singer. To me, even though their style is way different than mine, those are guys I really hear singing where I’m like, wow, they really hit the ceiling. You don’t hear it that much anymore. Everybody is using effects. You really don’t hear that wail in that voice. Otis Redding had that, you heard his voice and you just had to see him. You don’t hear anybody like that anymore. I know people wouldn’t expect that from me but, when I am riding down the highway listening to music, those are two guys I really listen to, that I look up to and would be great to collaborate with.

Amy: That leads me into another question. There has been so much publicity this week around Pop music with Miley Cyrus and the VMAs with all this stuff. To me it shows how much more important it is to keep really authentic Blues music in front of people. What are your thoughts on that?

Malcolm: I agree with that. I’m out here fighting the good fight doing what I can. It’s not always easy. People have to support what is going on. If people start throwing their money at garbage, you’re going to end up with a lot of garbage. I can’t speak for the next person but I can say this, there isn’t enough hours in the day to listen to great music. There is all the great music you can listen to. There is definitely no time for nonsense. I don’t waste time listening to stuff that sounds like garbage. That’s just me.

My drummer Stud, he’s young. He was watching the awards the other night and I was laying on the couch trying to sleep. I didn’t miss much. The hours in the day are precious. I would use them wisely. If I had any advice, use my ears and my time wisely. You don’t have to listen to garbage. That’s about the best I can do. If anybody can make some money doing something, good for you, I don’t mean it the wrong way. If you ask me about serious music, there is great music out there, there is a lot of great music being made. It is just underground. Maybe it is too real for people. They are trying to run from reality or something. I am not the expert on this type of thing, I just know what I like, I listen to what I like. Even when I was a kid in school, I was listening to way different music. I was listening to Lightning Hopkins and John Lee Hooker and tell the other kids, “You have got to hear this. Check it out.” They just said, “Whatever.” I thought maybe when they grew up they would understand.

Amy: What is your craziest tour story you have had on the road?

Malcolm: Maybe this week. I had caught a flu bug in the airport flying home from Canada about a week ago. Then I had to go out on tour. The first four gigs, we had New Orleans, Houston, and Austin, Texas, big shows in some of my favorite towns. I was sick as a dog. I think it was the last set of the New Orleans show that I performed wrapped up in a blanket. I told the people not to look at me and keep dancing. We had a good time and people were dancing. It is something you have to do. It’s a job. 99.9999% of the time and I have more fun than is possibly legal on stage. Everyone is wild at work. Last week I had to work into it. Not real crazy, but it was real crazy for me for a couple of nights. For like three days, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t eat. My body was a freak show. I finally got through it but that was pretty crazy.

Amy: What can the fans expect from you guys here in Cincinnati at the show?

Malcolm: We are coming to rock y’all. We want y’all to come and have fun and dance and boogey. We want you to get in the groove and forget about everything in the outside world for a couple hours and get in the zone. We want to have a party for y’all. Being on stage can be the funnest thing in the world when it is going right. When it is going wrong, you just want to disappear. It is a funny thing. When it is right, it is right as a motherfucker.


Posted in Lighnin Malcolm Tagged , |

Q&A with Volbeat- Rob Caggiano

Volbeat has been headlining the biggest shows in Europe for nearly a decade. Now they are bringing their Metal sound to the states. In the position of up and comer now, they bring their high level of energy to their American tour which has translated into sold out shows across the country. Currently they are touring on their new album Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies. Amy was able to catch up with new band member and former Anthrax lead guitarist Rob Caggiano in preparation for their upcoming show in Cincinnati. The two discussed his transition to his new band and his broad musical influences that has evolved him since childhood. He definitely has brought a strong, veteran presence to a band that was already rising to new heights. Come check out Volbeat headlining the Rock Allegiance Tour at US Bank Arena on August 25th.


Amy: Could you tell me about the moment in the studio working with Volbeat on their new album that you realized you really could be in the band or it would be a good fit?

Rob: They had asked me to be a part of it two weeks into the process of recording. So it was pretty early on into the whole thing. I think it really stemmed from the first meeting we had when they called me initially when I left Anthrax and put the press release out there. A couple days later I flew to Denmark and sat down with Michael and went over the tunes and then ideas for the new record. We ended up collaborating and making music together. It was such a fun vibe and such a great chemistry. I think that was kind of a catalyst for everything else.

Amy: They are great guitar players together already. I saw you guys at Rock on the Range for the first time playing together. It was really amazing. What was your favorite Rock on the Range moment this year?

Rob: We definitely had a really good time during our show. It was a lot of fun. Rock on the Range, to me, is one of the coolest festivals here in the States. It seems like America is catching up finally with what is going on in Europe with these outdoor festivals. Rock on the Range is very well put together, very organized, just very pro and well done. It’s always a good time. I did get a chance to see Lamb of God play, about half their set and that was killer. It was great to see Randy back up on stage.

Amy: Has there been any hazing or initiation since you joined the band?

Rob: Not really, I was doing all the hazing. It has been pretty cool, pretty seamless, the whole transition. The way it went down, it was very organic and felt very comfortable from the beginning. It has been cool. We are having a blast.

Amy: I know it must have been a difficult decision to leave Anthrax which has been your job for the last 12 years. What were the factors for moving on?

Rob: I just had this feeling of being stuck. I just felt like I was on a conveyor belt, doing that for so long. I still love those guys dearly and they are like my family. I just wasn’t happy. It got to the point where I just wasn’t happy and I was questioning myself and what I am doing here. What are we doing? What’s going to happen in the future? I just came to the conclusion I needed a change. I think the main part of the problem was that Anthrax was never a creative outlet for me. By no choice of my own, that was just the way it had been. I think after all those years my heart wasn’t in it anymore and I needed something different. It was definitely an emotional, difficult decision to make but it was something that needed to be done.

Amy: What is your favorite guitar solo to play on the new Volbeat record and touring?

Rob: I have two favorites. I enjoy playing the “Lola Montez” solo and the “Doc Holliday” solo.

Amy: I know you have been producing for several years helping out bands and doing Anthrax and Volbeat records. Do you ever see yourself stepping out of Rock or Metal and producing other genres? There are a lot of collaborations happening right now with different genres of music.

Rob: Absolutely. I never saw myself as a solely a Metal producer. To be honest, when I am at home, I don’t really listen to Metal. It’s probably because it is what I do all the time. My influences are really varied and I listen to so many different albums and genres of music. I just consider myself a musician. I put 100% of my heart into whatever I am working on. With all these different influences, I can definitely do a lot of different things and have done a lot of different things in the past.

Amy: What are you listening to right now? What is influencing you?

Rob: My favorite record right now, if we are talking about new bands and newer records, is this band called The National I think is phenomenal.

Amy: They are actually from Cincinnati.

Rob: Yeah, it seems like they are doing pretty well all over the world. Their new record is phenomenal. I think it is just great, the production is amazing, the songs are great. I have never met the band. I had heard the name but I had never heard the music. We were doing a record signing in Copenhagen and I asked one of the girls at the store what was her favorite record, what should I check out, what came in that is the new hot record. She said to get the new National record. I said “Ok, I’ll give it a shot.” She was right. I dig it. I like Lana Del Rey too.

Amy: Do you ever plan to sit down and write your Rock biography?

Rob: Maybe one day down the road. I don’t know if I’m ready yet.

Amy: I’m sure you have plenty of stories. What is your craziest tour story with Volbeat right now?

Rob: It really isn’t that crazy on the road with these guys. It’s pretty mellow. It is a very focused thing. We do our show, the thing about being on tour, especially with Volbeat, we are headlining a lot of these festivals in Europe so we are going on late. We get there early at these festival sites and have a whole day of nothing. It is kind of boring just waiting to go on stage. Nothing really crazy has happened yet but I will keep you posted.

Amy: I am shocked you haven’t seen crazy things at the European festivals with fans.

Rob: I guess it depends what you call crazy.

Amy: Yeah, your idea of crazy may be different than mine. You may be like, “That’s totally normal.”

Rob: Exactly

Amy: What was the name of your first band?

Rob: My first band ever was when I was 14 years old. We were called “Wild Heart.”

Amy: Do you keep in touch with those guys?

Rob: Kind of. I saw the other guitar player recently in Florida. He has been a friend of mine forever. The rest of the guys I have not spoken to in a long time.

Amy: Do you play any other instruments?

Rob: Yeah, I play drums. I play keys. I do our programming when I need to. I just make noise basically. I can pretty much get anything to sound decent. As a kid, I started out playing drums so that has always been in my heart. I went to the guitar from that in a sense with the rhythmic.

Amy: Your parents were supportive of the drums in the house?

Rob: Well they bought them. Yeah my parents were huge supporters of my music. My Dad is really into the music thing. It was definitely a very healthy atmosphere growing up for creativity and inspiration. There was always music around which was cool.

Amy: I started hearing about Volbeat and listening to Volbeat about two years ago when they were just coming to the U.S. Obviously they are huge in Europe, beyond headlining. What do you think is the biggest difference so far in the U.S. shows and the European shows?

Rob: In the U.S. it is very much on the rise, the shows over here are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. With them we did two legs, two U.S. legs and every show was killer. Back in 2010, that is when I first met these guys with my other band, The Damned Things, they took us on tour. That’s when I first heard the music and met the guys and became friends. Even that tour was sold out every night. It was an awesome tour. Volbeat is definitely on the rise in America. In Europe obviously it is crazy. It is just a really good feeling all around. There is a lot of excitement about this band and the new record, just good vibes.



Posted in Anthrax, Volbeat Tagged , , , , , |

Black Sabbath Preview- Indianapolis Ozzy Q&A

There is no denying the legendary status of Black Sabbath. They are all Rock n Roll superstars, defining what Metal was as a lifestyle. Without Sabbath, we would not see the likes of the Metal acts today like Slipknot and Tool or fellow legends like Motorhead and Megadeth. Front man, Ozzy Osbourne, however, does not see Black Sabbath as a Metal band anymore. At a pre-tour press conference Osbourne elaborated on this, “I’ve never really liked that – using that word heavy metal, because 80s metal was all Poison, Motley Crue, Ozzy, and so on, and the 70s was a different thing you know. And it got different in the 90s. I mean, it’s like it doesn’t have any musical connotations for me.”

And the new album 13 is not a Metal album. It is more like their first albums, not the Paranoid or Iron Man years, but the time they were grinding it out as a Blues band. Now, this is not your typical Blues album, nor should they abandon what made them the stars they have become. What gave the band the inspiration to produce their first #1 album, yes, I repeat, first #1, was one simple concept, one simple word – freedom. Ozzy explains, “There’s a lot of free spirit, which is what he [Rick Rubin] was looking for, I suppose. It must have been. We did very well, his idea of a Black Sabbath album.” Freedom is what was missing from Black Sabbath. It is what the band had forgot when they tried to force albums in the 18 years since the last album was released.

On Sunday night, Black Sabbath rolls into the Klipsch Music Center in Indianapolis. After nearly 45 years of Black Sabbath, a lot of lineup changes have been made. This is not a different lineup. This is the original crew. This is Ozzy, clean, sober, and still with the distinct sound that no one else in the business can touch. It is guitarist, Tony Iommi, a cancer survivor while the new album was being made, truly the “Ironman” of the band, as Osbourne refers to him. It is bassist and band lyricist Geezer Butler. Rumors are already flying that this may be their last tour together so it will be a truly once in a lifetime experience for many. It is amazing that those in the crowd Sunday night will see the same Black Sabbath that rocked arenas 40 years ago when they were revolutionizing music.

Here are a few more snippets from the pre-tour press conferance that will get you fired up. The humbleness and pride really shines through in all of Ozzy’s answers.

Question: Hey, I remember back when Sabbath originally got back together in the late 90s and you guys did a lot of touring then into the next decade. The band had tried back then for a time to get a new record together and then it didn’t materialize. Can you put your finger on what made things different this go around that did enable you to come up with some pretty raw material?

Ozzy Osbourne: You know what? I was doing this television thing with the Osbournes back then, and I had my own career, and I suppose it was a clash of egos, and it just didn’t feel right. We tried to force an album. In fact we did – we recorded a demo, with a bunch of stuff, which is nothing like the way we used to do. We were forcing it out of ourselves. Where upon this album, this–the 13 album was just kind of came out–we just clicked. I mean, you know when you’re in a band and you go into something that is working. You know, we didn’t have to force it. It just came naturally.

Question: When did you realize that?

Ozzy Osbourne: There’s no answer – there’s no formula. There’s no magic–it just happens or it doesn’t–I wasn’t really into it. They weren’t really into it, and you can’t force it. It either comes or it doesn’t, and I said before in the press that the reunion album was going to have to be something special, the most important album of my career.

When it comes out naturally and you get that tickling feeling in your spine and you know you’re on a sort of that spiritual thing you sort of–you know that everything’s working right, you’re not forcing it.

Question: So you know, 13 has already proved to be very successful for the band. It’s the band’s first Number 1 album in the US. How does this feel after 45 years?

Ozzy Osbourne: You know what? You’re asking the wrong guy, because when it went to Number 1 in England, it just went Number 1 in England, America, Germany, New Zealand, and I’m like, “What?” I mean, I’m still kind of pinching myself like I’m going to wake up and it’s all been a dream, because had this happened in 1972 after Paranoid, I’d have gone, “oh, yes, okay.” But now after 45 years up the road, and we get our first Number 1, it’s kind of a hard thing to swallow, you know? You just kind of–it’s great. I’m not saying I don’t want it to be Number 1, but I just don’t understand why now, you know? I mean, we’ve been around for a long time, in one way or another.

Question: Okay, so now you’ve got the album that you wanted. What’s the live show going to be like?

Ozzy Osbourne: You know, all I can say is a month or so ago we were in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, and it was astounding how the reception was. We’re going to do some old and we’re going to do some new and it’s just kind of interesting to be able to do some new stuff because in the past I haven’t been able to do a lot of new stuff because of the fact that my range is too high and I couldn’t do onstage what I did in the studio.

But now on this – on 13 I sang it in a range that I could do most of them on stage so we did new things, “End of the Beginning”, “God is Dead?” and a couple of others, but we couldn’t do most of the cuts off the album if you want to change them around and all. We’re not going to go and just do new stuff with very limited old stuff. We’re going to do “Paranoid,” “Black Sabbath,” a good mix of the old stuff as well as the new stuff.

Question: I wanted to see if you could talk about Tony Iommi, just how inspirational for you it was watching your friend battling cancer while making this album, and his courage.

Ozzy Osbourne: You know, when he came down with cancer, it’s been the way of Sabbath, that is we’d try to get something going again, and the last time, Bill Ward had a heart attack and we couldn’t do it then.  The easiest part of getting back together with Black Sabbath and doing an album is just sitting down and just saying, “yes, you know,” but then all kinds of crap gets flown in the works.

And Tony kept going. He said, “I’ve got this lump” and I said, “You know what? If I were you, I’d go and get myself checked out, because you know in a way, it was what I said to Sharon–my wife Sharon went to get checked out early part of of 2000, and she found she had colon cancer, so she had to go and get it checked out.”  So he came back and he said, they’ve found I’ve got lymphoma, and I go, this is unbelievable. Every time we start to get going – it’s like a curse, you know? And believe me, I know from firsthand with my wife that treatment for cancer is not like doing a line of coke and going to a disco. It knocks the crap out of you, you know? But fair play to Tony, it just came down to the studio.

The only thing we had to do was make it easier for him to get treatment. In other words, we started off at my studio in Calabasas, but we all moved to his studio in England, and we all stayed in a hotel for a while to accommodate him, and he would come down to the studio every day. I’d go, “Tony, you’re sure you’re okay to do this, man, are you ready?” And he goes, “No I’ll do it and he came down, he came up with the goods.”

I thought my God, man, he is “Ironman.” You know, I mean, my hat goes off to him, because I mean, believe me, I don’t know if you have ever known anybody who had chemotherapy before, but that really knocks the life out of you, man.

Question: I’m just curious what the impetus was that – when you called Tony back in 2010 and said you know, let’s get the band back together, I want to make another Sabbath album, what was going through your mind at that time?

Ozzy Osbourne: I can’t really remember who called who. I think it originally it was me and Tony doing an album and then we tried various base lines and we tried the instruments out and we tried a whole bunch of people, and I don’t know who said, what’s Geezer up to and you know, and it just kind of came together by accident and we all started to write stuff and it started to gel, whereas we tried before and we all sat there and it just wouldn’t – it was just wouldn’t work, you know.

But it came together very naturally and it wasn’t too long to where it was like, I like that, that’s pretty cool, and so you can’t force anything, right? You can just – you can try and be Black Sabbath, but we all knew that we didn’t want to put an album out called Black Sabbath just for the sake of us guys getting together and doing stuff together. At one point there was even talk like not calling it a Black Sabbath album, but eventually it rolled into itself.

Question: I wanted to ask about the lyrics on the album. Now I know Geezer has a big hand in that. How does the process work whto create the lyrics?

Ozzy Osbourne: Well, what happens is I get a melody, and I’ll just sing anything, and sometimes it can be like a beginning or a hook line or a couple of words that he gets inspiration from. He’s the main lyricist, although I wrote a couple of the sets of lyrics on the album, but Geezer gives Black Sabbath’s vocal message verbally. I mean, over the years, he’s given me some phenomenal lyrics, you know.

He’s just one of these guys that can do that.  I get an idea like “God is Dead?,” for instance. One day I was in the doctor’s office waiting room, and Time magazine was just sitting on the front with “God is Dead?” and I thought, wow, that’s a good idea, and I started singing that on the track, you know, the “God is Dead?” bit.

And then Geezer just said, you know…I thought, they’ve flown planes into the World Trade Center under the name of religion and God and all this shit, and that is not my idea of what God should be. My idea of what God should be is a good guy, you know. I don’t think there’s any good in killing people in the name of your God. And so Geezer–that was my idea, and Geezer took it to another level.

Question: Did you ever have to have discussions about you know, things that he writes that you might not agree with?

Ozzy Osbourne: No, no.

Question: Is there ever a back and forth?

Ozzy Osbourne: He’s very careful. I mean, if you listen to the lyrics on “God is Dead?” at the end of the song it says, “I don’t believe that God is Dead,” people just look at the face value of the title and I know on this tour we’re going to have Bible thumpers and people picketing us and people telling us that we’re evil and all that, but you see it’s what we, we kind of laugh at it, because people just go the face value that “God is Dead?”, and it’s all about Satan and it’s just quite amusing actually because they don’t really know what they’re complaining about.

Question: This is just a little bit off-topic. In the movie “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne,” I noticed toward the end you were learning to drive. I just wanted to know what was going on with that.

Ozzy Osbourne: See what happened, I got a driving license, bought a Ferrari, I bought an RA Spider, and the people would get out of the bloody road when Ozzy was driving, I’m telling you. I was always getting stopped by the cops or running into somebody else’s car, so one day I said to my wife, “You know what? I’m 64. I don’t really want to be found dead in a Ferrari.” I’ve survived this long of all my trials over my life. I don’t want to drive over a cliff in a car, so I haven’t really been driving since I sold the Ferrari and the RA.


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Carnival of Madness Preview with Shinedown’s Eric Bass

Shinedown just brings it with every new record they bring to their audiences. Their rocking sound throws us newer, bigger energy and different looks that evolves each of their members as musicians. They have been touring on their most recent album Amaryllis for the last two years and have just started their Carnival of Madness tour to complete touring on the record. It is their biggest, brightest, loudest, and most amazing tour they have put together. Amy was able to catch up with bass player Eric Bass to discuss life on tour and the close bond the band has even after all these years. To see a phenomenal night of music, Shinedown will be tearing up the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend on Saturday night at the Carnival of Madness with Papa Roach, In This Moment, and Skillet.

Amy: You guys have really been successful with the last couple albums. You have been on the Billboard charts for over two consecutive years. Did you ever expect that would happen and how do you feel?

Eric: Did I ever expect it? I always hoped it would happen I guess. You work really hard. We have this thing we say, keep your head down, stay humble, and move forward. We are blown away by the success. To be honest with you, if you had told the 17 year old me this was what was going to be happening, he’d be ecstatic. I can’t say that I expected it to happen. We wanted it to happen. We worked really hard for it. We are not surprised I guess you could say because of the hard work. It is a true blessing to be able to do what we do and have the success we have had.

Amy: The band has been touring constantly. How do you make time to write new songs on the road?

Eric: We actually don’t write on the road. We like to separate the two. We go home when we are done with this tour. We will lock ourselves away for a year and write as many songs as we can. Then, when we are done with that, we will go out and tour again and complete the process. We wrote “Diamond Eyes” on tour because it was for a movie soundtrack. That was the first experience we had with that. It worked out and everything went well with it. We work really hard when we are on tour. We are a go-go-go all day long band with interviews, meet and greets and that sort of thing. So there is really not a lot of time to get in and be creative like that. We prefer to separate the two and that creates the situation where each record is pretty different from the others because they are different times and you are not overlapping time periods. You are separating into blocks. It makes the records really interesting.

Amy: I have photographed you on your last couple tours. Your shows have grown larger and larger with more pyro and turned into huge Rock shows. How did you guys prepare for Carnival of Madness?

Eric: Well we started talking about it two or three months ago and we said, “It’s not going to be small.” That was the whole thing. We were going to make it as big as we could possibly make it. We are bringing our whole sound system with us. We are bringing our own lights. We are bringing our own pyro. We basically have carnival performers that are out with us. It is just a conscious, concerted effort to, every time, step your game up. We have sort of become known for that when we do these big headlining runs. We don’t want to disappoint anybody. People paid good money and want to see a great Rock show and that’s what they are going to get.

Amy: You actually have carnival performers on stage with you?

Eric: We actually do, yes. It’s going to be fun. I think everybody is going to really enjoy the show.

Amy: The first show was this weekend. How is it going so far?

Eric: We are one down. We have the second one tonight. The first one was great. Internally, we found a couple things we could do differently, do a little bit better. We are definitely going to do that. The first show was great. The crowd was very receptive. It was awesome. I think tonight is going to be even better. Then the Cincinnati show, by that time, we will be well-oiled machines and veterans.

Amy: Shinedown has a huge social media presence. Why is it important for you guys to stay connected to your fans in that way?

Eric: Because the fans are the reason we get to do what we do. We never forget that. The fans are the boss, the most important thing. The fans buy the tickets, they buy the records. I have to say and it’s going to sound cliché but it’s not meant to be, we have the best fans. Our fans are ridiculously loyal. We like to keep up with them. We actually know, you would be surprised how many fans we know. I’ll see fans at meet and greets that I will know from Twitter. We keep up with them and we know what’s going on. We like to hear what they have to say. They are going to let us know if something is not right. They will let us know if they don’t like something, if they like something. It’s a great tool to utilize as well. You get instant feedback on what you are doing.

Amy: What are your hobbies outside of playing music all the time?

Eric: It’s kind of funny. I say all my hobbies become my jobs. I produce records. I do a lot of songwriting. I engineer, mix records. A lot of my hobbies have become my job. I am a golfer. I enjoy golf a lot. More recently, I have started building model airplanes. I needed a quiet hobby I can sit in my house and do. It is something I have found solace in. It may be a little geeky, a little nerdy but it is fun.

Amy: You actually co-wrote “I’ll Follow You” correct?

Eric: Yep

Amy: I love that song. I know it is the new single and it is out, but what is the story behind the song?

Eric: The story of the song is pretty interesting. The piano part I had for a couple years. I had been playing it in sound checks. We don’t write on the road but if it’s something someone in the band hears, “Hey remember that. Record that.” We are pretty in tune with that sort of stuff. We were out on our acoustic tour that we did on the end of our last record cycle with Will Hoge, a great singer-songwriter from Nashville. Nobody had really said anything about the piano thing I had, so I thought maybe it will be good for Will. So I hit him up and said on the next day off I want to show you this piano piece I have got and we can write a song. He gave me his number and said to give him a call. I gave him a call the day of, I called him like three times, never went to voicemail, never picked up. The next day, I was like, “I called you three times.” He said, “It never came through. I don’t know what happened.” That day at soundcheck, Brent was like, “What’s that thing you are playing?” I was like, “Man, I have been playing it for three years.” He finally woke up to it. We actually had the recording that day at sound check kind of going through the song. Some of the lyrics are actually in there from that first time we ever played it through, he and I. If you fast forward six months when we finally wrote it, finally sat down and wrote the song, it happened seamlessly. We wrote it in like two hours, the whole thing was done. Lyrically, it is about the person in your life who is your best friend, your spouse or your girlfriend, your boyfriend, or someone really close to you, that person you will always be there for and they will always be there for you.

Amy: The band took a different turn on the latest album playing with the full orchestra. How did that concept come about?

Eric: We talked about how Madness had a lot of string sections stuff. We just talked while we were writing the record about how to make this record a little bigger and a little more grand. That was the first thing that came up, we need to do something with horns and full orchestra, rather than just string sections. It was fun. It was a blast to be in there to watch that stuff be recorded, watching your vision come to life was amazing. There is very little that we do that is not a conscious decision. We kind of see what we want to do next. We were talking about our next record the other day on the bus. We will probably start working on that next year. We already kind of got an idea for it of what we want it to be. It is pretty phenomenal to have this type and level of instruments on something you have worked on. You pinch yourself every once in a while because it’s so cool.

Amy: You guys have been together for some time. Are you all still friends? Do you still hang out?

Eric: It’s pretty funny we love each other so much. We all still ride the same bus even though we don’t have to. We all four of us camp out in the same place. We work out together every day. We eat together every day. We really are brothers. We have our moments of getting agitated with each other and angry with each other. There is something different that I don’t see in a lot of bands we travel with. There are some but they are few and far between. You get a group of people that genuinely like each other and genuinely get along. I can count on one hand the times I have been up in someone’s face in my band, that I have been that angry with someone. We just don’t get like that. We talk things out. If there is a problem, we sit down and we are very honest with each other. We don’t harbor any animosity toward each other for anything. “I’ll Follow You” is out right now and is a song Brent and I wrote. Everybody in the band is happy as hell about that because it is doing well. “Bully” is a song Brent and Zach wrote, and I was happy as hell that was doing well. A lot of people get caught up in the unimportant stuff like who makes more money or what’s going on with this or who’s more popular in the band. We don’t care about that stuff. It’s about the band, the entire group. We all really care about each other. We hang out when we aren’t on tour. It is really a blessing.

Amy: It is amazing you guys spend so much time together and it is still like that. There aren’t many people I could spend 24 hours a day with?

Eric: We see each other more than we see our wives and girlfriends and our families. We are married. We have to get along. There is no way around it. You can tell on stage. We smile at each other on stage. We joke around. We throw picks at each other. It’s genuine. It’s not an act. You can tell bands on stage that don’t like each other, and you can definitely tell bands on stage that do and we are one of those bands that really like each other.

Posted in Shinedown Tagged , , , |

Q&A with George Thorogood

George Thorogood is a Rock and guitar legend. He has done just about everything a musician can over his thirty years on the road. He has done it all through a focused nature that lets him become a better musician with each performance. Along with his vintage 125, the only guitar he has ever played, cared to play, or even knows how to play, he has delighted audiences with a catalog like “Bad to the Bone” and “Move It On Over” he can play every night that provides a familiar comfortable performance any audience can love. Amy spoke with Thorogood about the “wild” ride through Rock n Roll and his connection with his guitar. To see Thorogood and his prized guitar, he will be playing at Riverbend PNC Pavilion on Friday night with fellow legend Buddy Guy.

Amy: Do you ever get tired of playing your hits like “Bad to the Bone”?

George: I get tired yes, but I don’t get tired of playing them. You see, we created those songs to play live. That was the whole purpose of them. I get asked that question a lot. I don’t understand it. Do artists make songs up and not want to play them a lot?

Amy: I think it is over so many years. Most of the time they say they love to play them and most bands wish they had songs like that.

George: It has always made me feel strange because I thought if you worked really hard and made an automobile like a BMW or something, would you get tired of selling BMWs? That is the whole purpose of making them isn’t it?

Amy: Yeah to share them.

George: I don’t get tired of playing them. What I would get freaked out about is if people didn’t want to hear the songs.

Amy: You have been touring a lot this year. What is the biggest difference in touring now versus the 1980’s when you started?

George: Better cars, better seatbelts, better buses, better hotels, better accommodations, better food, better everything. That was 30 years ago. The world has changed.

Amy: It seemed more fun then though.

George: Why would you think that?

Amy: I think artists now are so freaked out with social media and people seeing everything and having access to people and things can get out very quickly. I think people are less likely to have fun sometimes.

George: That part of it yeah, but that part isn’t going away if you are famous. You can lose your money but you can’t lose your fame. That is going to be happening anyway. News just gets to people quicker now than it did 30 years ago. It’s the yin and the yang of the whole thing when you become famous. You have to take what comes along with it. That part is not a lot of fun. But if you quit and you stop, it’s still going to exist whether you play or not. If Harrison Ford retires tomorrow, people are going to be talking about it in some form or shape. The other part of it is a lot easier. We have better hotels. There is air conditioning. We have buses. The venues are better, better for the fans, better for the bands. It’s a business now. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. They have put so much time and capital into the business to make it up on that level. In that way, I have survived that and I am part of it. That is something to be very proud of. Let’s face it, the club owners and promoters and everybody are not going to be interested in you unless you are going to make a profit. We are a consideration and not an afterthought when it comes to that.

Amy: Are you working on any new music while you are out on the road?

George: Not really. We are working on putting together a record that has a combination of all the originals we have done over the years and adding one or two new ones to it. It’s a project on the table at this time.

Amy: I know you are a big baseball fan. I am actually surprised you are touring during baseball season. The Reds aren’t going to be there on Friday. How are you feeling about baseball this summer?

George: That’s a fun question. I have never altered my work schedule. I don’t know how that started. I took one summer off to play in a softball league and it was about 20 games but I was active the whole time. If I took off during baseball season, I’d be broke. I wouldn’t be able to put 15 years together. It’s summertime. I have to go out and perform. There is no getting around it. I don’t know any baseball players saying they are taking off the summer because Thorogood is touring.

Amy: What is your favorite guitar to play live?

George: I only play one guitar, a 125. It’s the only guitar I’ve ever played. It’s the only guitar I know how to play. Actually, I like to prance around on stage singing like Mick Jagger does but I can’t sing as good as him. So the 125 is the only one I use. Please tell people not to steal it. They don’t make them anymore and that is the only kind I can play.

Amy: Have you ever lost any gear or had it stolen?

George: Yeah, it’s been stolen a couple times but we got them back. We finally put up a sign saying, “Stop stealing George’s guitars. They don’t make them anymore and it’s the only kind he can play.”

Amy: I’ll make a note in the article. You mention Mick Jagger and I saw the Stones live for the first time last month and it was pretty amazing. I know you toured with them and you have had many great tours over the years but what is your craziest tour story?

George: Craziest? Like mental and I need a prescription from a psychiatrist?

Amy: Sure

George: None. What’s your idea of crazy?

Amy: Crazy fans, crazy parties, anything?

George: I’ve never been to any crazy parties. There have never been any crazy fans ever. The Rolling Stones are 100% professional outfit ran by Bill Graham. There is no time for any craziness. There was too much money involved. The Three Stooges do crazy things. The Rolling Stones and Bill Graham do not. Everything is professional. Everything was in ship shape or they wouldn’t still be in business now if they didn’t do that. If they did anything crazy or wild, they did it while I was not around. Sorry but I do not know where all this comes from Rock n Roll and from the Rolling Stones but when I showed up, I am the only guy that can turn an orgy into a boy scout camp. When I show up, it is clean cut and above the board all the way.

Amy: No more fun when you arrive.

George: It was total fun. It was all fun. It depends on what your idea of fun is. My idea of fun is playing on a stage and getting to see The Rolling Stones free every night. In that case, that was wild and crazy. That is as wild and crazy as I want to get.

Amy: They were amazing. I was blown away. I had waited so many years to see them. I am glad I finally got the chance.

George: Yeah. They are better now than ever.

Amy: I have nothing to compare it to other than films.

George: Well I do and you have to go see them now.

Amy: If you could trade places with anybody for a month, who would it be?

George: Trade places with anybody? Probably Michelle Obama.

Amy: Why?

George: I’d like to know what it feels like to be the most powerful person in the world, even if it is only a couple of days.

Amy: What current music do you listen to? I know you have been inspired by many of the greats over the years. Do you listen to any current music?

George: I am a little busy with my own. I haven’t really had a chance to sit and relax and listen to any current music for the last 40 years because I have been busy with my own business.

Amy: What is your favorite guitar solo you have ever recorded?

George: Oh please, come on, the favorite guitar solo I’ve ever recorded. I’ve recorded so many I can’t even remember some of them.

Amy: I know but some people have an experience or something that stands out.

George: Every one of them.

Amy: What is the hardest part about being on the road?

George: Being away from my family.

Amy: What can the fans expect on Friday night?

George: I’m sure they aren’t going to walk out there and say “I hope George is OK tonight.” You go see the Cincinnati Reds you expect them to win don’t you.

Amy: Of course.

George: Well there you go.


Posted in George Thorogood Tagged |