MUSIC 3-WAY 2011
Written by Jon Wilde, added to Rock Realms 20th January 2011.
We had a chat with Pete Fry, Alex Barbieri and Andy Kalenowsky last year about the general state of the music in the world. For 2011, we've had the good fortune to catch up with them again, so this time we chatted about their own 2010 - both musically and otherwise - and how they thought 2011 was going to pan out.
Take it away guys...
Hi guys, good to have you back for another Q&A. I hope you are all feeling well?
Pete: All good here my friend, although I could do without this snow.
Alex: Hi Jon. Yes, healthy and doing well, thank you.
Andy: Hello Jon, Its great to be back. Thank you for asking and I'm feeling just great. Hope all is good with you...
How was your festive season?
Pete: Excellent, good times with family and friends, as it should be!
Alex: Very festive! I spent a lot of time with my son in South Florida. There’s no place I’d rather be.
Andy: Christmas was very nice; friends and family. You cant ask for more than that.
What was 2010 like for you on a personal level?
Pete: 2010 was a challenging year. I feel like a lot of things are getting off the ground, and 2010 was the building year for me. This year will determine whether things get off the ground or whether they crash and burn... ;-)
Alex: I think the first few months I was still smarting from the drama that unfolded with my previous band. But as the months went on, I let that go and realized how much less stress was in my life. It opened up space for more positive, supportive people and time for new and interesting projects like Hardrock Haven. http://hardrockhaven.net/
Andy: I have no complaints at all. I got married in October, made some great friends this year. Looking forward to more memories in 2011.
How about on a musical level? How do you think 2010 rates historically for musical quality?
Pete: It's odd actually... it was a really good year I think, some quality stuff coming out, and many from quite a bit of new blood as opposed to the old guard coming back for another album and such. I think if last year hadn't been so freakin' awesome, this year would have stood out more for me, but either way, plenty of great new music.
Alex: I don’t think 2010 was one of the best in history, but it still was a very strong year for hard rock and metal.
Andy: Some great stuff came out in 2010. Id say it was a very positive year for hard rock.
What were your highlights of the year, both in terms of albums and individual songs?
Pete: Revolution Renaissance's final release, Jettblack's "Get Your Hands Dirty", the new Accept absolutely crushes ("Blood of the Nations") as far as albums go. For individual songs I really dug MOJO's "Straitjacket", Revolution Renaissance's "Frozen Winter Heart", and Crashdiet's "Rebel" to name a few, and yeah I could totally go on, there was a lot of good stuff that rocked my world as I mentioned in the previous answer!
Alex: What instantly comes to mind is Accept’s Blood of the Nations. Accept not only returned to metal in 2010 … they ripped the genre a new a**hole.
Andy: For albums this year was a triumphant return by the almighty Accept with new vocalist Mark Tornillo (TT Quick ). The new disc "Blood Of The Nations" peels your ears back with a full in your face metal assault. They`ve NEVER sounded better. Crazy Lixx put out "New Religion" had a real hard time pulling this one out the player. One listen and the songs are stuck in your head, like a heavier Def Leppard meets Motley Crue. After disappearing for 18yrs
Bangalore Choir came out with "Cadence" and made me remember what i always loved about that band, the soulful raspy voice from David Reece and his new band have come up with a monster of a disc from beginning to end. Metal head's favourite rodents Ratt put out "Infestation" and brought Ratt n Roll back with the best disc since "Invasion Of Your Privacy".
Bombay Black put out "Love You To Death"and continued the tradition of putting out solid, catchy, rockin groove inspired anthems. Always one of my favourites ; )
Rocksugar came out with the mash up rock of blending a metal song and a pop song and i thought that was just genius.
Are there any new bands or singers that have appeared this year who really impressed you?
Pete: The aforementioned Jettblack of course, Black Country Communion although not new players is a killer project with everybody involved firing on all cylinders, Distorted Wonderland totally kicks butt, lastly a new band I had not heard of, self produced and released is MOJO, straight up hard rock with some big hooks.
Alex: It’s great to see the triumphant return of Marcie Free and Unruly Child. Worlds Collide was one of my top album picks for the year. Absolutely brilliant melodic rock. And I discovered Japanese guitarist Kyoji Yamamoto, founder of Bow Wow. His new CD The Life Album is amazing and beautiful—a gamut of musical emotions.
Andy: My first listen to Sister Sin "Sound Of The Underground" had me hooked, they have that heavy Motley Crue on steroids sound with a singer who actually can put A LOT of singers today to shame, take a listen and you'll see what i mean. A band out of Copenhagen Denmark called Shotgun Revolution have released "Join The Revolution" and I'm just floored by these guys. Its a mix of very well crafted and catchy rock songs.
Another band that took me by surprise were Loveblast out of Chicago. Before even hearing the disc i went to the CD release party and the only thing i could think of during the set was WHY ARE THESE GUYS NOT SIGNED? They come to the stage ready to give the fans a high energy rock show and they provide it 110%. I see big things happening for these guys in 2011!!!
Are there any bands you’ve always liked who put out a duffer, or vice versa any you used to hate who really changed your mind with a brilliant new release?
Pete: I can't think of anyone I like who really put out a crap album, although the new Ozzy just hasn't grabbed me the way some of the previous releases have. One band that I never hated, and in fact used to love is Ratt... apparently somebody lit a fire under them to come back with "Infestation" after having put out absolutely nothing for over 10 years, and nothing great for longer than that. Kudos to them for a killer new album.
Alex: Again, Accept comes to mind. I was never the biggest fan, but Blood of the Nations just blew me away.
Andy: I lost my lunch when i heard the Bret Michaels disc "Custom Built", as well as Vince Neil "Tattoos & Tequila". Disappointed on both.
What about bands from years ago that finally came back for another bite of the rock ‘n’ roll cherry? Any of those really impress you?
Pete: In the past 5 years or so, we've seen some great stuff from Whitesnake, Ratt, Dokken, Scorpions, and Y&T to name a few.
Alex: Like I mentioned, Unruly Child. Ratt’s Infestation was a strong return to form. Iron Maiden The Final Frontier. And rock’s latest supergroup, Black Country Communion.
Andy: The new Nelson "Lightning Strikes Twice" as well as the new Mr Big "What If.... had me hooked from the beginning. Both artists have put out the finest work to date.
What have been your personal highlights as far as live music is concerned? Are there any gigs or concerts that really stand out?
Pete: Without question, Melodic Rock Fest 2 in Elgin, IL this past April was not only the highlight of the year for me as far as shows are concerned, but possibly the highlight of my music career in general. That was truly a once in a lifetime vibe. To be surrounded by that many fans who truly are there for the music above anything else, as well as a great group of musicians who were not afraid to hang out informally at the venue and the hotel... indescribable really. I know Andrew (McNeice) has said he definitely won't do another, but I truly hope he changes his mind!
Alex: I was pretty burned out on live shows and the rock scene in 2010, but I’m getting the itch to go out again. I’m scheduled to interview George Lynch on Jan. 31 when Lynch Mob plays B.B. Kings in New York City.
Andy: Oh definitely the first big one for me was Melodic Rock Fest 2 that took place in May 2010 in Elgin Il. It was all the best artists from the past and present, a who's who of rock so to speak. It was all about the music for 3 days. Artists like Danger Danger, Y&T, Rocksugar, Eden's Curse, Talon, FarCry, Ted Poley, Bombay Black, Winger, Trixter, Crown Of Thorns, Jimi Jamison, Pride Of Lions, Alias, Terry Brock w/Valentine & 7th Heaven. The shows were awesome by all the performers involved and everyone was hanging out; the artists and the fans. There was a real camaraderie amongst those in attendance, no matter if you were watching or playing. It was one big happy rockin family. A personal highlight for me was having the honour to introduce my favourite band Bombay Black on the final day.
The second was definitely South Dakota Rockfest, July 2010. Another 3 days of rockin in the sunshine in Sioux Falls. Artists included: Hairball, Asphalt Valentine, Modernday Superstar, FarCry, Tango Down, Talon, Bombay Black, Ted Poley, Bret Michaels, Lita Ford, Warrant and a few others. Another event where it was like one big happy rock n roll family. Had the time of our lives at the show at the after party! It was another memorable trip and I got the honour of introducing my friends in Bombay Black again but to a much larger crowd ; ) The summer of 2010 really was the adventure of a lifetime and I look forward to what the future holds.
How do you think piracy and the battle against it has evolved in 2010?
Pete: I think we're in the same place as we've been for a few years now. FarCry is lucky enough to have a solid core of true fans who will support the band's continued recording/gigging by actually buying our CD's, but I know that many people are still downloading our stuff and that of many other bands illegally. I've heard rationalizations of all shapes and colours, but bottom line is if you really want new bands to continue to put out new material, we have to make the money to do that somehow, and NO, gigging and/or merch is not where we make our money... that may work for Bon Jovi and Aerosmith, but little guys like us rely on YOU to help us continue to rock.
Alex: I’m not sure the situation has changed. Personally, I download songs I want off of iTunes and will order the whole CD if I’m into the band or artist enough. People need to understand that CDs still sound way better than MP3s. Plus you get the cool artwork and liner notes. People miss the album experience if they just download a few songs.
Do you see any signs that the record companies are waking up and doing something about it, do you think they already were fighting hard, or is it out of their hands anyway?
Pete: I don't know if I see any of them waking up and doing anything about it, but I think they understand the situation and that's half the battle. More importantly I think the illegal downloaders out there need to start treating music for what it is, a work of art, not a transient blur in a frenzy of Torrents. I known when I pay for music, I feel that much more inclined to take it seriously. I also like to know about the band, and who was on the album, who produced, it, etc., etc., etc. so liner notes are pretty key for me.
Alex: I think it’s a question of individual integrity. If you love music, then support the artists who make it by legally purchasing their work, either via download or buying a CD.
Andy: I think the record companies are finally stepping up and making people accountable for the theft. A perfect example was the Minnesota mom who was made to pay a $1.5M fine for downloading 24 Songs.
Are there any albums or events you are particularly looking forward to in 2011?
Pete: Haha yeah... FarCry's second release "Optimism" is pretty big on my radar... but as you know I am quite biased... ;-) Looking forward to new Trixter, Marcello-Vestry, Blackstone Cherry... no plans for it that I'm aware of but I'd love to see a new Firehouse release hearkening back to the sound/style of the first two releases...
Alex: I’m looking forward to that interview with George Lynch and doing more in-person interviews for Hardrock Haven. It’s a passion project that I’m having a lot of fun with. I call it the “Eddie Trunk” thing. Interviewing artists and writing album reviews. It’s helped me get back in touch with my inner music fan - what I loved about hard rock and metal when I was young. And I’ve met some wonderful human beings in the process. People I now consider friends.
Andy: For discs, new Whitesnake, FarCry, Hurtsmile w/Gary Cherone, Steel Panther, Black Stone Cherry to name a few so far. For events I'm hoping for South Dakota Rockfest 2011 this summer but if not the M3 Fest in Maryland for the summer outdoor rock n roll fix.
Is 2011 going to be a vintage year musically, or is it way too early to tell?
Pete: For me it's too early only because I just don't find out about this stuff until it's formally announced all over the place!
Alex: If two new releases—John Waite Rough & Tumble and ColdSpell Out From the Cold—are any indication, it’s going to be a stellar year for hard rock and metal.
Andy: The two strong releases i mentioned earlier Nelson & Mr Big will see the discs released in the states in the next few months so with that as a start for 2011. I'd says that's a good beginning.
What does the year hold for you privately? Is 2011 going be good, medium, or bad?
Pete: 2011 is going to be great, I've got a new FarCry disc, as well as a couple other projects that will hopefully get in gear for this year. I'm ready, let's rock!
Alex: I’m an optimist and have a great feeling about 2011, musically, personally and professionally. I see my “Eddie Trunk” thing continuing to develop, as well as returning to music and singing again. I’m in no rush and it will happen when the time is right. No details yet, but it will probably be a recording project for iTunes. I’ll keep you guys posted.
Andy: 2011 will ROCK!!!
Anything else you’d like to mention?
Pete: I would just like to say thank you to you Jon for giving me the opportunity to blather on about this and that, and I'd also like to thank anyone who's actually read my meandering all the way down to this last question... ;-) http://www.myspace.com/FarCrytherockband
Alex: Thank you Jon for interviewing us. I consider you all friends and brothers in metal. Happy New Year to all of you and much success and happiness in 2011!
Andy: Anything else you’d like to mention? A personal thank you to Alex Barbieri & Pete Fry for asking me to be a part of this and Jon Wilde for making it a reality. Thanx to my friends at wornstar clothing http://www.wornstar.com/ for making some of the finest clothes. Please check out some of the artists I've mentioned:
http://www.facebook.com/loveblastrock for LOVEBLAST
http://www.reeceworld.com/ for Bangalore Choir
http://www.shotgunrevolution.com/ for Shotgun Revolution
http://www.myspace.com/bombayblack for Bombay Black
http://www.myspace.com/sistersin for Sister Sin
Thanks again to the guys for their time.