SRR- I’d like to begin with your most recent song, Six Feet Under. The song has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s refreshing to hear a classic style with a modern take today. What inspired the song?
JA– Inspiration for the song came from a Dream I had about being buried alive! I woke up in a cold sweat and started writing the Lyrics, I had already written the guitar Riff, the lyrics fit Perfect!
SRR- What’s the band’s songwriting process like?
JA- It begins with me writing the music/Lyrics, Or I coordinate with my singer Jeff VandenBerghe who will write lyrics to my music, Jeff sometimes will have a Melody in his head he will hum to me, ”Psycho Ride” on our new upcoming CD is an example of one written by Jeff, about a girl he knew, he hummed the riff, I took it from there and we wrote it in about 15 minutes, it’s a KILLER! Me and Jeff have been writing together a long time, there’s good Chemistry between us!
SRR- Are you in the studio now, can we expect a new album?
JA- YES! We are mid-way thru the recording process of our forthcoming CD called “Edge of the World” We are recording with Greg Gill at “Endeavor Studio’s” in Arcadia Valley Missouri, Greg engineered “Up the Annie” our first CD, he moved from Houston to Missouri, We wanted to continue to work with Gregg despite the miles, he’s a great friend and a Killer engineer! He is co-producing with us! We are expecting a release this summer 2017!
SRR- Because there isn’t much of a record industry, or at the very least, not like it was, do you find it better controlling your own destiny through social media and live shows, or would you feel better having a label and its resources behind you?
JA- I would prefer a Label handling us, it would free up more time spent for writing music, and the financial backing for promotion, but these day’s you gotta do what you need to, can’t count on anyone to control your future so you have to have a hand in it, so label or not you still utilize all your resources! All the real heavy metal bands, they’ve been doing the same thing for years and years on the same level, and they keeping putting out music and doing what they do. I like that. The quality of commercial music is in the toilet, but the people who do it for real and mean it are still fantastic. They just don’t have the outlets they used to have with the Labels!
SRR- When I was researching the band, I noticed you open for a lot of great acts. You must be pretty big in Houston, Texas to get these gigs. Can you tell me about some of your favorite shows and maybe share a story or two about them?
JA- My longtime friend/promoter John E. with Jetspeed Entertainment handles us and has set us up for live concerts, there have been some great ones! Meeting Michael Schenker , MSG, may have been the highlight of them, he inspired to pick up the guitar and play when I was 13, we also played with UFO, my favorite, Phil Mogg was awesome! When we played with “Black Star Riders” met Scott Gorham, had a nice talk about Thin Lizzy back in the day, was really cool! Loudness, Akira Takasaki, another favorite was cool! Michael Wilton of Queensryche asked to play my ’76 Gibson Custom Black Beauty Les Paul, I obliged of course, Lol!
SRR- Based on your songs, I imagine your live shows are very high energy. Tell me about how you come up with a set list and a bit about your show?
JA- It’s very Raw, we just get after it! We pick our set list by starting out with “In your Face” songs, plain out with some of the more melodic ones, then back to in your face to close LOL!
SRR- I assume you all have full-time jobs outside of the band. That being said, so you think being in a band is a viable way to make a living today?
JA- If you toured full time maybe, there’s not a lot of money in it for unsigned Bands, I do it for the Love of it! It’s my fountain of youth LOL! Like a great white shark who has to keep swimming to breath, if he stops he dies! I will never stop what I love to do!
SRR- I’m sure you have heard that “Rock is Dead”, according to Gene Simmons. Since he has said that, it comes up more often than not. I am interested in your thoughts on that topic.
JA- I don’t think it is – I think it’s in incredible shape right now. Never been stronger. We’re surrounded constantly by new talent, and the enthusiasm keeps rock alive and strong. I think it’ll always be that way. Rock as we know it from back in the day is Dead, as in the age of becoming successful in a superstar band! Rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well and thriving on social media, in the streets, and in clubs and concert halls all over the world. And the bands playing it are more genuine and heartfelt than ever because they are in it for one reason: the love of rock ‘n’ roll. But as far as I’m concerned, Gene Simmons is completely overlooking the fact that music and its relationship with the masses is and always has been in constant evolution, and today’s trends are nothing but the next steps towards the future. This is the golden age of Do-It-Yourself, and I theorize that to be a successful musician in this age, one must be at least as much entrepreneur as an artist. Big industry support is becoming a thing of the past, but the barriers to entry have never been lower. A decent enough recording can be made on any laptop with a moderately priced microphone and open source recording software. With the advent of social media and internet music distribution platforms, the artist no longer requires the intermediary of a label to get themselves out there.
SRR- It seems that the music scene in the rest of the world, such as Europe, South America, Japan and Australia, have a better support system for rock acts. Here in North America artists seem to struggle. For instance, band’s like Kiss, have to tour with Def Leppard to sell out arena’s, but in other countries, they sell out stadiums on their own. Alter Bridge has to play clubs in the States but does play Wembley Arena in Europe. Why do you think that is?
JA- There is really a small underground that is very Loyal to the music we love, the youth hasn’t embraced some of the music we grew up with, tho bands like Iron Maiden still thrive here and Internationally, people in other countries Love and embrace metal/Hard Rock, our generation supported these bands, many don’t support them anymore live, for various reasons, lazy, our youth supports whatever is popular at the time, I wish they would embrace this Music!
SRR- Do you think streaming services like Spotify and Pandora are good for bands or more the enemy?
JA- They work to our advantage!
SRR- Anything you want to say to the fans about your music and band that they should know.
Below is a clip of them playing live for your enjoyment!