Slash about to set the 'World on Fire'

New album from ex-GNR guitarist and the Conspirators due out Sept. 16

Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy &
The Conspirators - World on Fire 2014
SLASH and his bandmates Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators will release their new album WORLD ON FIRE on Sept. 16 via SLASH’s own label Dik Hayd International distributed through Caroline.

The group revealed the cover artwork for WORLD ON FIRE designed by American contemporary artist Ron English today. Featuring the blazing title track as the first single – arriving at radio Friday, June 13th   the disc marks SLASH’s third solo album and second one with his band featuring MYLES KENNEDY (vocals), BRENT FITZ (drums) and TODD KERNS (bass). (See a Q&A with SLASH and MYLES KENNEDY below)

For WORLD ON FIRE, SLASH and his band tapped Michael "Elvis" Baskette (Alter Bridge, Falling In Reverse, Incubus) to produce. Among the 17 songs is an instrumental--a powerful new turn for the band. WORLD ON FIRE is the follow-up to 2012’s Apocalyptic Love which debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and earned SLASH two No. 1 U.S. rock radio hits his first-ever solo--with “You’re A Lie” and “Standing In The Sun.” SLASH officially began recording as a solo artist with his self-titled 2010 debut album which employed a different vocalist on each track of his first album including Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie and Myles Kennedy among others.

Following are song titles for WORLD ON FIRE:
“World on Fire”
“Shadow Life”
“Automatic Overdrive”
“Wicked Stone”
“30 Years to Life”
“Bent to Fly”
“Stone Blind”
“Too Far Gone”
“Beneath the Savage Sun”
“Withered Delilah”
“Dirty Girl”
“Iris of the Storm”
“The Dissident”
“Safari Inn”
“The Unholy

SLASH and Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators have announced additional solo dates in between their summer tour with Aerosmith. The group will preview new songs for fans on the trek which kicks off Thursday, July 10 at Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh, NY (see the full itinerary below).  

Special ticket packages include: amazing seats (Level 1 tickets), an exclusive autographed SLASH lithograph, a digital download of the new SLASH album WORLD ON FIRE and a merchandise voucher worth $50, redeemable in the SLASH Exclusive Online Store. For all packages, visit:

Check out the exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary SLASH’s “Real To Reel” The innovative online series documented the entire in-studio recording process from the first day of recording to the last; the multi-segment fly-on-the wall series follows Slash and The Conspirators from pre-production at NRG Studios in Los Angeles to Studio Barbarossa in Florida, as they write, play, create and record WORLD ON FIRE from start to finish.

Slash featuring Myles
Kennedy and the
SLASH and MYLES KENNEDY talk about the album and the forthcoming tour dates in this Q&A:

WORLD ON FIRE marks your second album with your band MYLES KENNEDY (vocals), BRENT FITZ (drums) and TODD KERNS (bass). How do you feel the dynamic between the four of you has evolved?
SLASH:  We had a natural chemistry from the very beginning. The longer we have been together the more it has blossomed. And because of all the touring and the different situations we have been thrown into as a band and as players, we have all subconsciously learned from that. It shows up when we’re writing and when we’re recording. It’s sort of an unsaid thing, but I can sense it. It’s a natural evolution for a bunch of musicians in a band together.
MYLES: Over the last four years we have definitely evolved into a band. Utilizing Todd's vocal prowess and Brent's ability as a multi-instrumentalist definitely highlights what the Conspirators are capable of. I feel like it adds to what Slash and I do as songwriters. Not to mention they are both a big part of the arrangement process. Todd even brought in a cool progression that we used for the verses in “Shadow Life” and he added an great intro to “The Dissident” which is really fun.

What are the biggest differences between the last album Apocalyptic Love and the new album WORLD ON FIRE?
SLASH: The biggest difference is that the band has also has naturally evolved with so much touring and all of these different things. There’s a difference in musicianship that shows on this record and the songwriting skills especially.
The other difference is the fact that we recorded both albums live, but we kept the first one (Apocalyptic Love) just live.  That was it. There was no over-dubs or layering or any kind of studio techniques.  With WORLD ON FIRE I wanted to do guitar harmonies and double up parts and just create sounds. It’s a little more produced record in that sense.
MYLES: We didn't spend as much time fine-tuning arrangements as a unit during the Apocalypticsessions.  I think that’s part of the reason this record sounds as cohesive as it does. Slash spent a lot of time with Todd and Brent working on arrangements while I was on tour with Alter Bridge late last year. When I got off the road, I met up with them in LA so they could get a feel for how the songs felt with vocals. Another difference is that Slash played all the guitars on WORLD ON FIRE. During the Apocalypticsessions I sang and played guitar which was fun, but it definitely cut into the amount of time I had to focus on lyrics, etc. Not playing guitar on WORLD ON FIRE gave me additional time to fine-tune lyrics and melodies which improved the songs in the end. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

For WORLD ON FIRE you teamed up with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette (Alter Bridge, Falling In Reverse, Incubus). What do you feel he brought to the table?
SLASH: Elvis is very conscious about guitar and guitar tones as well as drums, bass and vocals. For me, it is important to work with somebody who is very dialed-into guitar sounds. In this particular day and age it’s a rarity to find someone who really understands guitar sounds.  Elvis is an extremely hard-worker. I consider myself a hard worker as well as Myles. He was somebody that, over the course of making the record, gave me an even more of an extra push in some moments. So he brought out the best in me as well as Myles and the drums and everything. He was a pleasure to work with.
MYLES: Elvis is brilliant. It's the fifth record I have had the pleasure of recording with him. His ability to get the best out of a rock band is pretty special. He always seems to be aware of what the fans want to hear from an artist. He did a great job documenting Slash's tone and sound. I remember the first time I heard the solo for “Battleground”--I was blown away. Elvis captured the sonic hallmarks that made Slash's playing resonate with me 25 years ago. Elvis is hands-on with every element of the recording process. From the arrangements to the final mix, he is relentless at making sure that the record is everything it should be and more.

Did you guys experiment with any new sounds with the production?
SLASH:  Yes and no. The whole record sounds new compared to the last album. Yes we did do a lot of tonal and EQ and guitars. I can’t say we were looking to break ground with new technology, because we did this to tape. But from a tonal and equalization point of view, we definitely broke a lot of new ground.
MYLES: That would be a question for Elvis or Slash. I can definitely hear some new approaches that I haven't heard on the last two records.

What makes “World on Fire” the perfect single choice?
SLASH:  I think there’s a lot of singles on the record, but it’s a good kick-off song. It’s up-tempo, aggressive, it’s a fun song. I love the whole world on fire, larger-than-life kind of vibe that the title and lyrics have.
MYLES: It's got a certain intensity and drive that made it a compelling choice for the lead-off track.

In what ways are we all suffering from a World on Fire?
SLASH: To be literal about it, we have the global warming thing. But that’s not the catalyst for the title. “World on Fire” is more of a tongue-in-cheek, positive, fun thing-- it has a lot of sexual connotations in the actual song itself. It’s a euphemism for going a little bit crazy and pulling out all the stops.
MYLES: “World On Fire” isn't necessarily a profound statement about where we are as a planet. It's about living life to the fullest....carpe diem. Some might perceive the track as carnal in nature, but the idea of seizing the moment and doing what makes you happy is the overall theme. Then again, it's not up to me to dictate what a song will mean to everyone. All I can do is tell you what was going through my head as the lyrics were being written.

What are a couple of other songs that you feel are highlights for you right now?
SLASH:  When doing a record I hate to identify with any one particular song or two particular songs. It’s not like the record is written with one great song and the rest are filler. They all mean as much as the others. There are a few songs that are very different than what we did on the last record. There’s a song called “The Unholy” which was influenced by my work in film. There’s another song called “Thirty Years to Life” which is a little bit of a departure. There’s another song that sticks out in my mind called “The Dissident” that’s a little bit unpredictable compared to stuff that people would expect from us.

You’re touring with Aerosmith this summer for the “Let Rock Rule” tour. It feels like true rock is needed more than ever in a very pop-driven landscape. How do you guys feel about this?
SLASH:  I am a Rock n’ Roll guy. The music business has become a pop-oriented sort of thing and all of the different music genres have become pop. I love the fact that I am doing Rock n’ Roll and have always done the same thing from a very heartfelt place. Aerosmith has represented that to me ever since I was kid. The two of us going out there and doing this big tour and holding that banner and doing it as sincerely as it can be done is something that I can be proud of.

MYLES: Though rock is not the force that it once was in America, it still has a loyal fan base that always seems to continue regardless of what popular culture deems as the "cool thing." It's great because you go to a rock show and you know folks aren't there because they are following trends, they aren't fair weather fans, they’re following their heart and listening to music that they love. People have been saying rock is dead for years but the reality is that it just falls out of favor with pop culture from time to time. The rock fans are still out there and that's why a tour like this is so important.

SLASH featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators tour dates are as follows:


Hampton Beach, NH
Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom

Wantagh, NY
Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre

Ottawa, ON, Canada
Ottawa Bluesfest (non-headlining)

Kitchener, ON, Canada
McLennan Park

Mansfield, MA
Xfinity Center
Northfield, OH
Hard Rock Live

Cincinnati, OH
Riverbend Music Center

Tinley Park, IL
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
N. Kansas City, MO
Harrah's N. Kansas City - Voodoo Lounge

Inglewood, CA
The Forum
Scottsdale, AZ
Talking Stick Resort & Casino - Ballroom

Las Vegas, NV
MGM Grand Garden Arena

Stateline, NV
Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena At Harvey’s

Concord, CA
Sleep Train Pavilion
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Hard Rock Casino - Vancouver

George, WA
The Gorge Amphitheatre

Denver, CO
Pepsi Center

Dallas, TX
American Airlines Center

The Woodlands, TX
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Atlanta, GA
Phillips Arena
Hollywood, FL
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Atlantic City, NJ
Boardwalk Hall

Newark, NJ
Prudential Center

Bristow, VA
Jiffy Lube Live

Clarkston, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre

Sydney, NS, Canada
Open Hearth Park
* Indicates Headlining Shows.

CD Review: California Breed – California Breed

CD Review: California Breed – California Breed
Frontiers Records
All Access Rating: A

California Breed - S/T 2014
Take a good, long drink of California Breed's "Sweet Tea." Savor every drop of its lusty, infectious charm and swing in rhythm to riffs as confident and assertive as a fashion model strutting down a runway. And when finished, sit back, reflect for a moment and wonder why the hell this isn't the hottest thing on radio right now. 

Deliciously lascivious, with hooks like claws, the first single from a new power trio consisting of legendary vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes, brawny drummer Jason Bonham and precocious guitar savant Andrew Watt can stop traffic. It's the sexiest song Hughes has ever recorded, and on California Breed's sensational debut Frontiers Records release, this great hunk of burning, soulful, '70s-style hard rock revived for a new millennium in desperate need of the good stuff, his singing is wild, untamed and utterly captivating. 

Thank producer David Cobb (Rival Sons, Shooter Jennings and others) for capturing Hughes' vocals live and making him sound positively feral at times when he's screaming to high heaven in moments of pure ecstasy and Bonham is banging away on the drums, bashing them with great energy and gusto. And then there's Watt, this throwback to an age where diverse musical chops mattered, when a man's solos could soar, could sting and could also soothe and his muscular riffs were always honest, genuine and completely organic.

The past is the past, though, and although the spirited, transcendent rock 'n' roll of Led Zeppelin and Mountain inform the music of California Breed, as does the Southern soul of the Stax Records roster, this material has a fresh vitality, born of unfettered creativity and a healthy respect for simple songwriting that comes straight from the heart, the gut and the genital region. 

Just as there is a stirring in the loins of "Sweet Tea," raw anger spills from "Spit You Out," another specimen of Watt's tough, down-and-dirty riffage also found stomping through the grounds of "The Way." Immersed in colorful, spinning psychedelia, the chorus of "Chemical Rain" is dazzling, while the thrilling R&B wail of "Midnight Oil" builds to a fever pitch, as Hughes emphatically pleads, "Let it burn," perhaps taking a match and a can of gasoline to past regrets. He's even more convincing on the deeply personal primal scream "The Grey," as well as the vulnerable, but ultimately uplifting, "All Falls Down," these redemption songs growing bolder and more daring by the second.

Hands down, Hughes has wrapped up any vocal performance of the year award that's out there, and in California Breed, he may have found his salvation.
– Peter Lindblad

Ethan Brosh joins 'Drum Wars'

Young guitarist picked to play with Appice brothers

Burgeoning heavy-metal guitar hero Ethan Brosh is about to get in the middle of a spectacular musical battle royal called Drum Wars.

Guitarist Ethan Brosh playing live
Chosen for his extraordinary technical brilliance, Brosh will join legendary sibling drummers Carmine and Vinny Appice on stage for two Drum Wars extravaganzas in New York, including dates in Poughkeepsie on June 20 and two shows the next night at New York City's famed Iridium venue.

All this coming on the heels of a CD release event for Brosh's remarkable new instrumental album "Live the Dream" on May 31 at The Hard Rock Cafe in Boston.

"I am honored to be joining two of the biggest drumming legends for a few shows!" exclaims Brosh. "Carmine and Vinny Appice have been in some of rock's biggest groups. Both have influenced generations of drummers. I've been to one Drum Wars concert and loved the intensity and craziness that goes on throughout the whole show!"

Brosh is thrilled at the prospect of playing alongside a vast assemblage of supremely skilled musicians and tackling material he's loved for years. And there's another reason why these shows are important for him.

"It is all backed up by a never-ending amount of talent on stage," says Brosh. "Lots of my favorite songs by Ozzy, Dio and more are played in a very cool way! I will be joining Carmine and Vinny in New York City and Poughkeepsie, NY, close to where I was born. To me, these shows will be very special. I can't wait to play these songs onstage with two of the greatest drummers in the world! I would urge anyone in the New York area not to miss these awesome shows!"

For his part, Carmine Appice is thrilled to get a chance to play with Brosh.  "Ethan is one of the best young guitar slingers of today," says Carmine. "His style techniques are awesome. Not many can play like him!" Check out Brosh's video for the song "Space Invaders" below:

Here are the Drum Wars dates:
June 20, 2014 - Poughkeepsie, NY - The Chance
June 21, 2014 - New York City - The Iridium (two shows)

Indeed, Brosh is uniquely blessed with astounding musical gifts. Not only is he a uniquely talented performer, but Brosh is also building a reputation as a first-rate songwriter, as evidenced by his newest recording, "Live the Dream." He's chomping at the bit for the world to hear it.

"Finally, on May 31st, the CD release show for 'Live the Dream' will take place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston!" declared Brosh. "I'm very much looking forward to having such a special show in my home town of Boston! It's been five years since my last album. I can't wait to be back on stage with my instrumental band at the Hard Rock and play this new material to some of my fans and friends so close to home! This will be a real fun night to everyone who will show up. My instrumental band is the most powerful band I've ever been in. People can expect a very intense show on the 31st! Bringing HARD ROCK back to the HARD ROCK!!!"

The buzz continues to build for Brosh, and it will undoubtedly only grow stronger with a brand new video filmed for "Space Invaders," one of the many standout tracks on "Live the Dream." Brosh's fiery shredding is on display in the clip below:

As Brosh explains, "A music video is something that has to go hand-in-hand with the music that it's associated with. It is part of the art as a whole. It is the image that will stay in the minds of the listeners for as long as they listen to that particular musical piece. When I have a music video done, I take the process almost as seriously as I take my music. A lot of time, energy and attention to detail gets into play when we shoot or edit a video."

Talking about the video's director, Seth C. Brown, Brosh was effusive in his praise.  "This video was made by Seth C. Brown, who can turn around any rushed, impossible to shoot scene with bad lighting into a beautiful work of art! I'm very proud of the new video for 'Space Invaders' and can't wait to make more videos for this record!" states Brosh.

Mixed by Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth) and featuring the talents of world-class bassist Dave Ellefson, as well as the mastering expertise of Bob Ludwig (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden), "Live the Dream" is Brosh's most exciting and ambitious project to date. And the album cover painting by Joe Petagno (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd) is also sure to turn heads. 

Issued by Carmine Appice's label Rocker Records LLC, "Live the Dream" is available for purchase via these links:



For more information, visit

California Breed strips down, makes musical 'Sweet Tea'

Glenn Hughes on life with his powerful new trio
By Peter Lindblad

California Breed is Jason Bonham,
Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt
Those still mourning the death of Black Country Communion can throw away their black armbands. California Breed has arrived.

Eager to try something different in the aftermath of Black Country Communion's breakup, legendary vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes and drummer Jason Bonham teamed up with precocious hotshot guitarist/singer-songwriter Andrew Watt to form a trio that makes swaggering, rough-and-tumble '70s-style hard rock with earthy soul and a touch of blissful psychedelia.

Tongues have been wagging about California Breed for some time now, and the interest only intensified with the video release for the strutting, Zeppelin-like first single "Sweet Tea," a sexy, riff-heavy number with strong hooks that exudes machismo. More leaked out, as the stormy, R&B-fueled "Midnight Oil" suggested a "Gimme Shelter" for the new millennium. 

California Breed - 2014
Out now on Frontiers Records, California Breed's debut album was produced by David Cobb at his Nashville studio, and Cobb's input was crucial to cultivating a forceful new vibe for these two rock veterans and their young charge, taking those elements that made Black Country Communion such a vital breath of fresh air and packaging them into something even more intoxicating and explosive. Not only that, but he somehow coaxed a wild fervor from Hughes's vocals that's animalistic and primal.

Hanging out with his five dogs in the garden, life is good for Hughes, having come through his period of addiction clean and hungry to explore new frontiers. Hughes talked about California Breed and the making of their sensational new record in this interview, while also touching on the 40th anniversary of Deep Purple's Burn and the biggest concert event for Deep Purple Mark III, 1974's California Jam Festival.

You have to be pretty excited about the new record.
Glenn Hughes: Look, Peter, if you know anything about my career, you’ll know what I’ve done, but if we look at the albums I’ve done, starting all the way from *Cathedral all the way to now, I’ve never repeated myself. Every album has been rock … okay, rock, but slightly different in content. Although Jason and I were in Black Country Communion, we wanted this band to be different in tone and recording. Although it’s rock, it just sounds different. 

In what ways does California Breed build off what you did with Black Country Communion?
GH: Listen, I’m very white. When I was 22, I wasn’t white. I was colorful, but I wasn’t white (laughs). Look man, (Joe) Bonamassa, a gentleman – no anger, no resentment – it would have been ridiculous for Jason and I to have found a guitar player who sounded bluesy like Joe, or ridiculous to have a Hammond organ player in the band, so we stripped it down. Whoever was going to play guitar, whether it was going to be this guy or you – you know, the guys I’m talking about ... we decided, “Hmmm, that would be ridiculous, because we wouldn’t be able to tour.” So I met Julian (Lennon) at – well, I’ve known Julian for 30 years – a party last year before the Grammys. He had a party and at this party was Andrew Watt. Because Julian introduced me to Andrew, and I really liked the way he was talking, I invited him to my home to write. And when he came to my home, we wrote two songs, and Andrew Watt and Joe Bonamassa are two completely different types of guitarists. You can hear that, right?

Right, absolutely.
GH: I wanted him to sound, in a trio … I wanted it to be, for all intents and purposes, Townshend, Richards, Young – right-handed guitar players. Van Halen, Malmsteen … you know, other guys are left-handed, hammer-on dudes who are really great, but I wanted to go back to an earthy playing guitar player. We didn’t know it was going to be this kid. We didn’t know this. We didn’t know he was going to be a 22- or a 60-year-old guy … didn’t know. We just got lucky. Let’s just call it “the hand of fate” that Julian introduced me to Andrew. 

What do you like most about working with him?
GH: So, he’s ambitious, New Yorker, very intelligent, great writer, great player, good singer – very, very strange combination these days to find a guy that could do all three. You know anything about me, you know that I love sharing the mic with other people, whether it’s Coverdale or Bonamassa, or anybody else I’m working with. I always try to tempt them to sing with me, and Andrew doesn’t have a problem with that. He’s a really good singer. And also Jason’s also a really good singer as well. And Jason and I didn’t want to make Black Country Part II; we wanted to make a brand-new bag, wanted to start all over again. Man, I don’t care what age you are. You can do whatever you want in today’s musicality. It’s not like you’re going to sell 10 million albums anymore. An album is a postcard for the tour, you know. It would have been ridiculous, Peter, for us to go get a famous guy to play in the band with us, because that famous guy has got his own band or his own repertoire to do. I just got really lucky the card that Julian dealt me that night – very, very lucky.        

Glenn Hughes says producer David Cobb
captured his vocals live for the
first time since 1969
Talk about your vocal performance on this record and what producer Dave Cobb did to bring it out of you.
GH: We knew Cobb was going to produce us six months before we went to Nashville. We got him in, because Dave is a fan of my band Trapeze. He’s also a Zeppelin fan, as you can imagine. And then I started talking to Dave every couple of weeks on the phone in Nashville, and he’s in L.A. I’d play him stuff over the phone. I wouldn’t send him any stuff on e-mail, I’d just play him stuff organically over the phone, kind of old school. He asked me, “Well, what do you want to do? Do you want to record this on to tape, or do you want to go …” And I said, “Let’s make that decision when we get to Nashville.” 

And we made that decision the morning of the session. We had a decision to go analog, and we all said sort of, “Let’s go analog.” And Dave said to me, “You got the lyrics?” I said, “I do.” He said, “You got the melodies?” I said, “I do. Yeah, yeah, I think I’ve got all the melodies and lyrics.” He said, “Good. How do you feel about Jason and Andrew cutting, and then you overdubbing later on the bass?” I said, “Sure. Where’s the microphone?” And he said, “You’re going to be in a booth, and let’s go record.” 

And basically, Peter, I sang to the tracks, and if anybody knows anything about Glenn Hughes, it’s never more than two takes of vocals for me. There are singers – I won’t name names – who have to sing 60 or 70 times on a song. I’m not that guy. Any more than three times, and it’s like a job, and I don’t want it to be a job. Trying to write songs is a really huge art form for me, and I like the spontaneity of making that first take. So long story short, we recorded the songs, and then I overdubbed the bass, and then I went to bed. And the next morning, I went to the studio and I said to Dave Cobb, “Now, I’m going to sing.” And he said, “Oh no, you’re not. You’ve already sung the album.” Now, he wasn’t tricking me. I knew I was recording, but I never actually questioned to myself whilst I was singing, “I wonder if this is good enough?” I was just singing, just singing, like The Beatles used to do in 1964 on a four-track. To me, when I sing … I mean, I write this shit, and it envelopes inside of me, and it just lives inside of me until I record it. Normally, Peter, the way I’ve been recording for the last 20 years, when I sing it for the first time, it’s normally the way I want it to be, whether it’s something I’m overdubbing later or whether it’s like it’s this instance where it’s done live. Hats off to Dave Cobb, full marks from me, two thumbs up from me – he really captured me completely live, and I want to thank him for that. 

There's a real swagger to this record, especially with "Sweet Tea." From your standpoint, is that what's missing from a lot of rock music today?
GH: Look, look, look … none of this music was written for Black Country. When Black Country disbanded privately behind the scenes in September of 2012, these songs were written … I think I came up with three, and “Sweet Tea” and “The Grey” the first week of March, and then I sent them to Andrew and then he would complete them, and then he would send me something that was obviously his, and then Jason would … and I said, “Guys, a band is a collaborative effort.” Black Country really wasn’t. I was working a lot of it alone. Joe was too busy, you know, and I understood that, but I think really bands, I don’t care what age you are, have got to collaborate. We’ve got to talk. I don’t like to call it rehearsing. Let’s go play, let’s go down to a room and play for a week. Let’s go to L.A. and play for a week. That’s the way we got this band together.   

What song came together the easiest on the record and which one was the hardest and why?
GH: I think “Sweet Tea” was … God, “Sweet Tea” … Look, Peter, I’m going to be honest with you, man. There was nothing technical about this album. When you listen to the songs, (sings a riff), it’s pushing full. We’re not Led Zeppelin, but Led Zeppelin was push and pull. This is life and shape and push and pull, and it’s breathy and it’s aggressive, it’s soulful, it’s harsh, it’s brash, it’s sensitive – it’s everything it started out for me in 1969. 

This album was written in the wind for me to record, with these two guys. It’s not me. This is what they’re saying. This is what you guys are saying. This could be the greatest Glenn Hughes moment in a long time, and that’s from working with these two fellows. It’s a really great moment. How can a guy who’s 62 sound even better than he was at 22? Hey Peter, I don’t know. I have no freakin’ ego. When I’m singing, I’m singing. I’m a singing fool. I’ll see for free and for fun, anywhere at any time. It just so happens that I’ve captured it. 

A lot of the stuff you’re asking is, “How do you sing that?” I was just going for it. Listen bro, we’d probably try to recapture it later, but not all of it, and I’d say, “Hey, can I sing that again?” And he said, “Don’t try it.” And, you know, he was right. The first take of Glenn Hughes is going to be that moment. If you go back and look at Jagger in the late ‘60s, he wasn’t f**king around, prancing around the microphone for hours. He was doing that sh*t live! That’s what Robert did on Led Zeppelin I, and (Steve) Marriott in f**king Humble Pie. I mean, this is my peer group. These are my friends, and what David Cobb did, he’s 43, he f**king captured me for the first time since 1969 completely live. 

I knew Steve Marriott really well. We’d talk as musicians, and we’d talk as friends. When he sang at Fillmore East, the last year he sang at Rockin’ The Fillmore, that to me is the greatest, and when he sang “Black Coffee,” that is like the shit – that’s live f**king singing, and I’m never going to be able to go back to doing it overdubbing again – never going to be able to do it, man. I’m sold on the way Cobb did it. Listen, man … Dave Cobb, two thumbs up, man. Got to be – not just for our record – but what he’s done for Rival Sons, and other people, he’s got to be producer of the year, man. He’s been great.

Take me through the day of your performance at the California Jam Festival. What are some of your strongest memories of that day and looking back, where does it rank as far as your career achievements?
GH: You know, man, we got there the night before and I’m really good friends with, because I come from the same part of England, Tony, Geezer, and Bill and Ozzy. We stayed up all night doing drugs and chicks and stuff the night before, and we went on after them that afternoon. But for the first time in history, that f**king festival … the festival was running early. So, of course, the problem we had with the Marshall stacks, we get up onstage and Ritchie had locked himself in the bloody trailer, and we had to go on, and there was a lot of aggression from Blackmore. 

You could see him looming toward the camera at one point. That camera cost us like $30,000, and that was a lot of f**king money. But there was aggressiveness to that performance, wasn’t there? There was a real brash, aggressiveness to … I mean, when the stage was on fire, and that shit went up, I didn’t actually see it, but it broke in places and glass blew him off the stage. It was really f**king gnarly. It was like … hey, we were pissed off. And lo and behold, it was just captured live on ABC, "Dick Clark Presents" … (laughs). So what are you going to do? And it’s like, some people say, “That’s all Glenn Hughes talks about.” No, I don’t. I don’t really talk about yesterday. You asked me the question. It was a really vital experience from a … we tried to … our contract says, “The band will go on at 11 minutes past 7 p.m. on April 6,” or something like that, and it was f**king six o’clock and it was still light. So it was one of those moments.    

Glenn Hughes in the studio
In 1974 you recorded Burn with the new Deep Purple lineup. What were studio sessions for that album like? 
GH: A weekend at a 600-year-old castle called Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, and it all sounds very King Arthur, doesn’t it? So we were the fucking … we were the first band to ever go to the castle environment and write. If you want to Google it, Clearwell Castle is in Gloucestershire, and it’s a haunted place. And we wrote – because Blackmore is nuts – we wrote in the f**king dungeon. You know, the song “Burn” is about a witch, and it’s like, “Well, how dark do you want to go people?” I’m having séances with Blackmore in my f**king bedroom, and the lights were f**king going off and on. It was f**king gnarly, man. You know, that band, with two new guys, me and Coverdale … that’s what they needed at that time. You know, if he couldn’t stand people after two or three years, he was going to get rid of them. So the plan was new. After Machine Head, they were selling more albums than anybody else, but that album was a crucial moment. You’ve got a guy in Coverdale who’s never actually been onstage before really, right? And then you’ve got me, the new guy who’d been playing with Trapeze like in America for three years, and it was quite interesting, wasn’t it? 

In what ways was it different from albums you'd record later with Purple? 
GH: Listen, Peter, you’ve got to remember what I talked about six minutes ago. Ritchie … it was difficult to work with Ritchie. It wasn’t so much that he was the leader. It was like, by the time we got to Stormbringer, he hadn’t really written much. He’d written “Stormbringer,” the track, and he hadn’t really written any more riffs. So me and David and [keyboardist] Jonathan [Lord] would like write a lot of the record, and I think Ritchie at this point is thinking about forming a band with Ronnie (James Dio). I think he was done. I think that my blues and soul influences, and David’s bluesy camaraderie put him off. I think he was going to the woods with his medieval costumes back then. I think he was into that Bach-influenced music. Of course, me and David are from the north of England, and grew up listening to Otis Redding. And Ritchie knew this. All the gang in Purple knew that David and I were soul fanatics, as Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers are blues fanatics. And they knew this going into it. And, of course, Ritchie really, really, really wanted to make Bach-influenced music, and he really didn’t come prepared for Stormbringer. So, after Stormbringer, he left. 

Had you ever worked with a mobile studio?
GH: That was the first time, and that was the only time.

Did you find it difficult?
GH: It was great, but it was a bit of a pain in the ass, too, to keep walking down flights of stairs from this like warehouse in Montreux, Switzerland. Look, look, Peter. Burn, after Machine Head ... we had to come up with something new and special. And you know, I’m so close to Burn, you know. I mean, I’m part of the album, so people talk about that album like, oohhh, you played and sang on Burn. Yeah, I did. Great, you know. I’m glad people like it. 

How does California Breed fit in the history of Glenn Hughes and what are you looking forward to most in working with this band again?
GH: Here’s what I want to do Peter, and this is what we couldn’t do with Black Country because of Joe and with fellow artists. I formed this band to make records, at least two albums. I look at things in two, I never look at things in one – though, sometimes I look at them in threes. I’m in this to make records, and I want to promote it. Me talking to you, I want to get on holy ground, which is the stage. I am, for all intents and purposes, a live – I’m a studio guy for sure – but I am a live singer. I am a live performer, a performer that lives and breathes the stage. So I found some guys that want to do the same, you know.   

Glenn Hughes says he's an "actor"
in the studio
How did “Midnight Oil” come about?
GH: Listen, you’re asking some really cool questions. “Midnight Oil” was written, and I called it “I Want to be Free,” and we felt, you know … we were going to cut the track, and then Cobb said to me, “There’s something with this track. It needs a little … maybe you should write a new lyric for it?” It’s the only song he said you need to write a new lyric for. I think I wrote a pretty good freedom track, you know, for “Midnight Oil.” Nobody’s asked this question, so it’s kind of an exclusive. I said, “Okay. So what are you thinking?” He said, “Well, what would you think about singing something with ‘burn’ in there?” And I said, “Well, it’s been 40 years since I’ve sung that.” Of course the tracks “Midnight Oil” and “Burn” don’t sound anything like each other. I just went … where it said, “I want to be free,” I sang (sings), “Let it burn, let it burrnnn,” instead of “I want to be free, ffrreee.” And it just made f**king sense. And then the verse where, you know, “I don’t stick aaarrrrouuund.” It was just fucking 1967, wasn’t it? Look, look. I wasn’t trying to be Jim Morrison, but I just put a different code on it. I like to think, when I’m in the studio, I become an actor. I can be this, I can be that. I am afraid. I am fucking fearful of a lot of things offstage. I’m clumsy, I’m a klutz, but when I’m in front of a microphone, you gotta get out of the way, ‘cause I know what I’m doing. It’s like fire, man. I just know. It ignites it. I’m not saying I’m the best or the worst, or whatever, I just know that if I’ve got a microphone, get away from me, get out of the way. And that means anybody, just because I know I’m going to deliver. This is what I’m supposed to do. 

You can hear that on “Spit You Out,” too.
GH: Yeah, it’s … look, Peter, I’ve been doing this for 45 years. I’ve been recording for 45 years and touring for 45 years. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited. I don’t think so. Who would have thought this would happen now. And hopefully, it’ll help other members of my peer group who’ve taken the foot off the gas, whether they want to do this or not. I have an urgency in the sound of this album and the writing, you know. I don’t sing about fairies and goblins and dwarves. I sing about the f**king human condition. I sing about lust, I sing about hate. I sing about distrust. I sing about f**king gluttony, f**king fear, f**king resentment – all of it. You know, life, death, what happens in between. “All Falls Down” … that f**king song, Andrew and Jason said, “Why don’t you talk about that moment you almost died”? I’m going, “Do you really want me to do that?” And I did. And it turned out great. Give me a suggestion, I’ll f**king run with it. So I really love being in a room full of very creative people, and Cobb – call him the “fourth Beatle,” call him “member No. 4” – he was f**king insane! The guy deserves f**king producer of the year. Ask other people he’s worked with. They feel the same about him. I’m all about giving the producer some love.   

Rubicon Cross: There's no turning back

Firehouse front man's new band is ready to shock and awe
By Peter Lindblad

Rubicon Cross, led by Firehouse
singer CJ Snare and guitarist/songwriter
Chris Green, has released its debut LP
Religion played no part in picking the name for CJ Snare’s newest musical endeavor, Rubicon Cross. The Firehouse singer is quick to dispel any notion that it did.

“I have people coming up to me and saying, ‘Is that a religious band? Are you guys Christian or something?’” related Snare. “And I say, ‘Hell no.’”

Emphatic in his denial, Snare offers another explanation, one that has to do more with a significant event in history and the incisive wit of guitarist Chris Green’s father, now deceased.

“Chris’s dad, before he passed away, always used to say [slipping into a British accent], ‘Well, you’ve crossed the Rubicon now, haven’t you mate?’” continued Snare. “’Crossing the Rubicon’ is synonymous with committing an inexorable act or passing the point of no return. You know, there’s no turning back.”

Just as there was no turning back for Julius Caesar, when, as Snare said, he “crossed a small river in Northern Italy called the Rubicon,” Rubicon Cross has come to a crossroads of sorts. “By doing so, he committed an act of war, and he went against Roman law to do that. Now, in doing so, he had to do that, because his intention was to go back and conquer Rome, which he did. He became its first emperor.”

Rubicon Cross logo
With teeth-rattling intensity, sledgehammer riffs and thick, serpentine grooves, Rubicon Cross is making preparations for a battle of sorts, as Snare and Green – acclaimed for his work with world-class metal outfits Pride and Furyon – join forces with Pride/Furyon bassist Simon Farmery, second guitarist Jeff Lerman and Seventh Omen drummer Robert Behnke to shake up the world of melodic metal and hard rock with a devastatingly heavy and startlingly fierce self-titled debut record.

While this album, available May 19 as a deluxe edition exclusively at Best Buy and released by INgrooves Records, represents a departure from the multi-platinum selling glam-metal sound of Snare’s other, more famous band, those who know Snare best wouldn’t be at all surprised that he’d choose to go in this direction.

“Well, those are my roots, because before Firehouse, I was in a cover band called Masked Warrior,” said Snare. “We did a lot of Priest, Scorpions, Maiden, and Bon Scott and AC/DC, and stuff, and that’s all really heavy, edgy stuff, but it’s permeated with melody. And some of that is more integrated in early Firehouse, and then as Firehouse started evolving and changing, I still had that side to me that I felt needed to be expressed. And when I met the guitarist, Chris Green, he was the perfect vehicle to utilize … it was a great team. We put that harder edged side of our artistic expression out there.”

Born in London, the supremely talented Green, who teams with the fast-rising Lerman to form a scintillating dual-guitar attack, is the ideal creative foil to Snare, and the two quickly became friends after their initial meeting. Snare remembered Green leaving a strong first impression.

“I think he was playing in Spain, and I think I was standing in the balcony of a show he was performing at, and I was performing at, too,” recalled Snare. “Actually, he was touring there at the time with a band called Pride, and so was Simon, our bassist. An Irishman I was with kind of nudged me in the ribs and he said, ‘Get a load of this guy.’ And I looked down, and he was doing a solo with Pride on a song called ‘Still Raining,’ and there was just this energy coming from him. And he was just wailing, and it looked so effortless, and I could see the virtuosity of his playing. And I’m like, ‘All right, I’m going to talk to this dude. He’s probably a dick or whatever, but I don’t care. (laughs) I’m going to go down and talk to him.’ And he was one of the easiest guys to know – such a gentleman. He became my bro, man – I mean, fast friends, really fast friends.”

As a matter of fact, Snare was best man at Green’s wedding, and Green would return the favor. The marriages weren't built to last. Their unbreakable friendship has, and Snare is certain it’s had an effect on the music of Rubicon Cross.

“We went through divorces and breakups, births and deaths, and 4,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean in between us … we were always there for each other, in the good times and the bad,” said Snare. “That bond, I think, was part of why this record resonates at the core with a lot of listeners, because it’s about a lot of experiences that we went through, and it almost just had to be written. You’ve got this amazing guitar player, and this other dude who can sing a little bit and write some songs and stuff like that, and when we came together, there was such a chemistry, that we had to get those emotions out and we had to get those feelings out.”

Along with Snare and Green, Rubicon
Cross includes bassist Simon Farmery,
drummer Robert Behnke and
second guitarist Jeff Lerman
Emotionally, Rubicon Cross is a powder keg, broken relationships and grief driving the songwriting for the record, which comes out swinging with three sonic pile drivers in “Locked and Loaded,” “Next Worst Enemy” and “Bleed With Me.”

“I think that’s one of the most important things … it’s the song,” said Snare. “Even today, it’s not just this catchy little thing for dancing or something … that fourth song is a song called ‘Save Me Within,’ and that’s about the passing of Chris’s father, and how he said … in America, we just say, ‘Save me,’ and I fought Chris on this, but because it was his dad, I let up and he said, ‘No, no, no. In England, we would say, “Save me within,” not just ‘save me,’ like not just throw me a life preserver or something, but to keep me in your heart. I said, ‘Okay.’ ‘Save Me Within’ means ‘keep me within, or keep me alive within you.’ So, the chemistry was easy, the songwriting was really, really easy, and that’s how we went.”

Assembling the rest of the band was fairly easy, too, although there was one major stumbling block.

“With Simon it was easy – our bassist, Simon Farmery – because he was already part of the crew,” said Snare. “I met him at the same time … they were playing with Pride, and then they both played in this band called Furyon, and I was always in close contact with them. I’d fly to England, and Chris and I would write a couple songs, and Simon would be around, and he’d go around to the pub and whatever, in Brighton, where they were living at the time. We just kind of hung out. We’d go for curry, which is just the most popular thing to do in England. It’s Indian food in America, but you know, good, good stuff. He met, actually, his future wife, and now his former wife (laughs), his ‘next worst enemy,’ at my wedding to the Wisconsin girl, who is now my ‘next worst enemy.’ There’s a lot of meaning behind all these songs, and they just kind of tie in. So Simon was easy.”

Behnke, as it turns out, wasn’t the first choice as drummer, but, in the end, he was the right choice.

“My neighbor, when I was [living] in Waukesha, Wis., was Mike Wengren, and he’s the drummer for Disturbed,” said Snare. “I had slipped him a copy of [our] EP when he was having his home built six houses down from mine, and finally, one day we were actually going to make this a serious thing and take it out on the road and record songs as a group, with Universal Music Group doing distribution … it was everywhere.”

Wengren was impressed with what he heard, and about six weeks later, Snare worked up the courage to ask him to join the band. It seemed like a done deal … until Disturbed guitarist Don Donegan horned in on the action.

“We were sealing the deal, and apart from like slashing our wrists or cutting our thumbs and signing it in blood, we were like 5 minutes from having the drummer in Disturbed in Rubicon Cross,” said Snare. “I remember drinking some wine with him and talking to him and everything, and Dan was right there, the guitarist for Disturbed. Finally, I’m like, ‘Okay, dude. I’m going to stumble home and get some sleep.’ I walked back to my house, and my ex-wife, who was then my wife, came with me, and he later told me this: ‘Bro, I gotta tell you, I had no idea this was going on.’”

Apparently, Donegan was about to break the news to Wengren that he wanted him for a side project called Fight Or Flight. Wengren had trouble finding the right time to tell Snare.

“Donegan had approached him with it that night right after I left,” said Snare. “He said, ‘Okay. Look bro, we’ve been drinking together for 20 years,’ and it’s like, “Okay, okay. I get it, I get it, I get it. The press would have been great, you dick (laughs).’”

Snare was joking when he said that, but, at the time, it was tough to hear. Luckily, Wengren had someone in mind who could handle the job.

“It would have been awesome,” said Snare. “Then I said, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter. It’s okay. I understand.’ But I said, ‘Well, who do you recommend?’ He said, ‘I’ll tell you a guy out of all them I’ve gone to see in Chicago …’ he says, ‘Robert Behnke. He can knock it out of the park.’ So we held some auditions for a couple of different drummers, and it was true. Robert Behnke came in, and he was just the right fit for the band. He truly, truly, truly was. And then Jeff Lerman came in, and some other guitarists as well, and Jeff just really kind of fit the bill also."

As a player, Lerman is really coming into his own, according to Snare.

"There are not many people who can go toe-to-toe with Chris Green, and I would still say Chris has the upper edge, just because he made tabs, he fills the music out more than Jeff, and [Chris] helped him a lot," said Snare. "He’s a very kind soul like that, but he definitely gave him the upper hand. So Jeff was the final addition, and that’s how the band came to be.”

As for the new record, that was a long time in the making.

Disturbed drummer Mike Wengren
came very close to joining
Rubicon Cross
“I think we started writing our first song ten years ago,” said Snare. “But we have a huge catalog of songs to show for it, too – a huge catalog, but they don’t necessarily fit this moment. We wanted it to fit together. We wanted it to be like a good book, you know what I mean? I don’t even know if anybody reads anymore. Not everybody does, so maybe it’s something else, like a good movie. And you just don’t want to take a pause. Like if you’re reading a good book, you just don’t want to put it down. It’s a page-turner, we call it. You just have to keep going. You’ve got to get to the end, it’s so good."

Snare also likes that there's a little twist at the end of the record. Subverting all expectations, down the very last song, Rubicon Cross decided to close the album with the song “All the Little Things,” an infectious, bouncy pop-punk number. Not everyone was convinced it made sense for this effort.

“Okay, so we’ve got a diverse background, and this was one of the earliest tunes,” said Snare. “And gosh, it had its detractors let’s say. In the production camps and the listening camps, and everything like that. We had written it very, very early in the morning. We felt that it contained a very strong emotional edge, and also, that it was something that was really upbeat, different and quirky. And so, everybody asked me about that one. Our producer, Rick Beato, who by the way gave Shinedown their first platinum album, and he mixed Bullet For My Valentine and Dark New Day, and a lot of bands that are in this new active rock, modern, hard, heavy genre that Rubicon Cross is in, which is really cool for me because I come from a hair-metal band, too. So, this has allowed me to do is jump out of one genre and into another, and that’s really cool. But, yeah, ‘All the Little Things’ just … I don’t know. We wanted to kind of put in something a little bit different, something a little quirky, so that it leaves you at the end kind of like a dog cocking its head (laughs). That was cool. I think it’s a good song. It’s great fun. It’s got some angst in it, too. I can see it going over very, very, very well live, everybody’s bouncing up and down and blah, blah, blah. There were a lot of people who were saying, ‘Take it off. Take it off,’ but I’m like, ‘Wait, no. We have to leave it. It’s a great talking point.’”

Another one is “Bleed With Me,” a slogan which, as a coincidence, was adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps.

“’Bleed with Me’ started first about Rubicon Cross, the band, and that we are a band of brothers,” said Snare. “And it’s about people, and it can be a band, or it could be a couple, it could be just bros, it could be co-workers … whatever, but just standing in the face of adversity and coming out on the other side better for it. That was the basic premise, but I’ve again had to do research for the lyrics. I found out, oh, that’s part of the ‘Braveheart’ movie: You know, [adopts Mel Gibson voice] ‘You’ve bled for worse, now bleed with me!’ Going back even further, it’s part of a William Shakespeare play about King Edward the Fifth. He used the same words: ‘Bleed with me.’”

In a sense, the brothers of Rubicon Cross are going to war together, presenting a united front against everything that is tearing down the music industry. It’s not like it was when Firehouse was scratching and clawing to get exposure and, ultimately, a major label deal that would catapult them to the top of the charts.

“In the old days, you had to get let into the good club, and once you were in the good club, the respect came right now,” remembered Snare. “They would actually work hard developing the artist. In other words, they’d stick with them for three albums, four albums … then, if they didn’t have success by then, they’d move on. That’s not the case anymore. You pretty much have one, two shots with songs off the first record, and if they don’t stick on the wall, you’re gone. That’s one thing. Two, you’re inundated … just like we are with media. I don’t what it was like or how old you are or anything, but when I grew up, there weren’t as many challenges. There weren’t as many bands, there weren’t as many movies, there wasn’t as much on TV. So movie stars were really movie stars, and rock stars were really rock stars, and that was different.”

For all the songwriting ability and instrumental chops they had, Firehouse got lucky, and Snare knows it.

“We got let into the good boys’ club,” said Snare. “We got let into the club, and from that point, the record company pretty much pushes you to the media and puts everything behind it. They have to be the ones that push the button in order to make it happen. And if they can hit the green light, then they’re going to spend an exorbitant amount of money at independent promotion, at radio.”

Still alive and functioning, with Snare still entrenched as lead singer, Firehouse ushered in the ‘90s with ‘80s style pop-metal hits and power ballads that had staying power on the charts. What Rubicon Cross offers is honest, balls-to-the-wall heavy metal with a keen melodic sensibility.

“Back in the days of Firehouse, the music that we were writing was considered Top 40,” said Snare. “I mean, I was on the charts with Mariah Carey … you know, whoever. You just wouldn’t see Rubicon Cross on the charts with Jay-Z or Mariah Carey or Adele or Beyonce, or whatever. I would love that, but I don’t think that’ll happen, especially not as heavy as we are. It’s kind of a niche market … radio is much more of a conglomerate, a corporate type of entity, as well as MTV not playing as many videos as they did when they first came out and now that’s much more controlled. Also, anybody can make music now, so you have to wade through the muck, the mire of maybe less than great music. And there’s just so much more of everything out there. And that includes television. That includes all media. So it’s harder to find, but when you do find it, I think it still has that same ring of truth to it. It still attaches itself to your heart and to your soul, and when you find that, it’s real.”

CD Review: Rubicon Cross – Rubicon Cross

CD Review: Rubicon Cross – Rubicon Cross
INgrooves Records
All Access Rating: A-

Rubicon Cross - S/T 2014
Forget for a moment that CJ Snare was, and still is, the lead singer of early '90s pop-metal kingpins Firehouse. In the here and now, although Firehouse is still very much alive and well, it's the much heavier and more aggressive Rubicon Cross that demands your full and undivided attention.

A shock to a melodic hard-rock system that needed a jolt of electricity, with a surprise ending nobody will see coming and a raft of strong melodies, the metallic debut album from Rubicon Cross was designed by Snare and songwriting partner Chris Green, a shredding assassin of a guitarist who unloads a fusillade of smoking riffage and searing, armor-piercing solos from an instrument he treats as a lethal weapon. And to beef up their sound, they brought in some musical muscle in the form of Pride/Furyon bassist Simon Farmery, second guitarist Jeff Lerman and Seventh Omen drummer Robert Behnke.

Fueled by raw emotions, heated to a boil by marital discord, feelings of betrayal, sadness over the death of a beloved father and a more uplifting sense of tight brotherhood in the face of adversity, the INgrooves Records release opens its mouth and roars, its big, snaking grooves hissing and lashing out with venomous intent in the face of a powerful, three-pronged storm front of "Locked and Loaded," "Next Worst Enemy" and "Bleed With Me." 

Minus the sleaze, Rubicon Cross is like Velvet Revolver on steroids, its modern hard-rock sheen shined up by producer Rick Beato, who strengthened records by the likes of Shinedown and Fozzy. These are big, thick slabs of rock, as "You Will Remember Me" and "Kill or Be Killed" grow increasingly more tumescent and dynamic with every spin, where the affecting acoustic ballad "Shine" and the more tender, yet still fully loaded and surging with power, "Save Me Within" and "Moving On" leave Rubicon Cross beautifully exposed and vulnerable. 

Clear and distinctive, Snare's vocals are all heart, and they rise above this din. And when Rubicon Cross reveals its pop-punk surprise finale, the infectious Green Day/Blink 182-like "All the Little Things," it's evident that all involved aren't entirely bitter or angry about all they've been through, and that this band might just be their salvation. An exclusive deluxe edition of the record will be available May 19 at Best Buy, and it comes with a poster and bonus tracks. It'd be worth the investment just to see what else Rubicon Cross have up their sleeves.
– Peter Lindblad

CD/DVD Review: Dio – Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993

CD/DVD Review: Dio – Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Rating: A-

Dio - Live In London: Hammersmith
Apollo 1993
Four years after the death of Ronnie James Dio left the heavy metal community in a state of profound mourning comes "Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993," the first-ever video release of a professionally shot classic concert from, what was at the time, a newly reconfigured Dio touring the Strange Highways album.

Looked at by some as the start of a downward spiral for Dio and applauded by others as a much-needed change of lyrical scenery, Strange Highways was made with new parts, as the legendary singer and longtime collaborator Vinny Appice, having left Black Sabbath after Dehumanizer, revived Dio with former Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, new guitar slinger Tracy G and Warrant keyboardist Scott Warren in tow.

Gone were the trappings of medieval fantasy that had fired his imagination in the beginning, as Dio started exploring matters of a more contemporary nature. Not everyone was onboard with the shift in emphasis, but at the Hammersmith Apollo on this December 12, 1993 evening, Dio made amends to those who accused him of heresy. Raining down fire and brimstone as only he can with his extraordinary vocal firepower, Dio led the band on a blazing march through his gloriously sinister past and a defiant charge into the band's then-current material, breathing fresh life into the churning title track, the dark and impossibly heavy "Hollywood Black" and a ferocious version of "Jesus, Mary & the Holy Ghost."

Without the distractions of mechanical dragons and castle ruins cluttering up the stage, Dio brawls with favorites from his Sabbath days, attacking "The Mob Rules," "Children of the Sea" and "Heaven and Hell" with vim and vigor. The heightened drama of "The Last in Line" soars, while the powerhouse anthems "We Rock" and "Stand Up and Shout" throws their fists in the air and race recklessly ahead. Mystical and melodic, "Don't Talk to Strangers" is both pretty and poisonous, while the gnarled hooks and animalistic growls of "Holy Diver" and "Rainbow in the Dark" raise the dead.

More than capable as a guitar shredder, Tracy G rips through hot-wired solos and wrenches tough, smoldering riffs from his instrument, as Pilson and Appice pound away rhythmically, their teamwork during Appice's drum solo causing seismic tremors. Edited to capture the breathtaking pace and excitement of a band playing with urgency, passion and energy, the crystal-clear "Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993" boasts stellar camera work, shooting from a wide range of angles and with an innate sense of when to go close on Dio and his talented henchmen and when to pull back and gauge the crowd's reactions. Add a vintage "Hanging with the Band" featurette that provides an enjoyable glimpse into life backstage before and after the performance, and the package becomes even more vital.

Available on DVD, Blu-ray and as a two-CD set from Eagle Rock Entertainment, "Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993" is also impressive sonically, a fitting tribute to an artist whose work will live on well after his passing.
– Peter Lindblad

Rubicon Cross unveil new video for 'Bleed With Me'

Shoot for the new clip was 'jinxed'

Rubicon Cross 2014
Shooting their latest video proved difficult for Rubicon Cross. The results, however, proved it was all worth it.

The majority of hard rock bands that manage to break through to the masses do so with a killer video clip. 

And Rubicon Cross has a worthy one on their hands with "Bleed with Me," off their fast-rising self-titled album, of which a "deluxe edition" will be available for purchase on May 19th exclusively through BestBuy (which comes with a poster and bonus tracks):

Shot in Racine, WI, the band (which is comprised of Firehouse's CJ Snare/vocals, Chris Green/lead guitars, Jeff Lerman/second guitar, Simon Farmery/bass, and Robert Behnke/drums), had this to say about the video shoot:

"I can't believe we did it! The "'Bleed with Me' video seemed jinxed at every turn. We had about five venues cancel on us before a friend [Brett Ihde - director of sales at Magnificent Events] came through with the abandoned warehouse less than two days before we started shooting. What we accomplished in 48 hours made us wonder how bands even use to spend $300,000 on a video. Thanks to friends and colleagues, we came up with a video we're incredibly proud of, and the help we received only reinforced the message of the song, when you have a band of brothers, anything is possible!"

And according to the band, other highlights of the shoot included:

--The amount of red brick dust in the factory coated every bit of our equipment.

--Behnke's drums were shot in a service elevator.

--The lighting was created by volunteers waving lights above the drums.

--Simon the bass player refused to go in a room with spiders so was shot in a hallway.

--The band shot a "Hello Cleveland" tribute to Spinal Tap that day, soon to be released.

--CJ's flight was so held up in traffic that the band had shot the drum AND bass shots already by the time he got there.

--Expecting nothing, Brett Ihde had laid on full catering including, sandwiches, cold meat buffet, chips, candy, large bottle of Jager, vodka, Jack, crate of Guinness and crate of lager (these got consumed during the process of the video).

--Band started drinking at 11am.

To see for yourself what all the buzz is about surrounding the "Bleed for Me" video, visit:

And also be sure to check out the making of the "Bleed with Me" video:

Glenn Hughes: A different 'Breed' of singer

Legendary singer/bassist talks vocals for Calfornia Breed
By Peter Lindblad

Glenn Hughes 2014
Glenn Hughes doesn't labor over a multitude of vocal takes in the studio. It's not a sign of arrogance. He's just convinced the first one is almost always the best.

So, why mess with it? 

"If anybody knows anything about Glenn Hughes, it's never more than two takes of vocals for me," said Hughes. "There are singers – I won't name names – who have to sing 60 or 70 times on a song. I'm not that guy. Any more than three times, and it's like a job, and I don't want it to be a job."

Known for years as the "Voice of Rock," Hughes is one of the greatest singers in rock history, having lent his wildly soulful vocal stylings to classic recordings by Deep Purple, Trapeze and Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, and, in more recent years, the highly acclaimed super group Black Country Communion.  

His latest project, formed in the aftermath of Black Country Communion's dissolution, is the power trio California Breed, featuring drummer Jason Bonham and guitar phenomenon/singer-songwriter Andrew Watt. 

California Breed - S/T 2014
Due out May 20, on Frontiers Records, California Breed's raucous, swaggering self-titled debut of riff-heavy, powerhouse '70s rock takes its cues from Led Zeppelin and Humble Pie, with a little bit of psychedelic soul thrown in for good measure. 

Produced by David Cobb (Rival Sons, Shooter Jennings) at his home studio in Nashville, California Breed's first shot across the bow is a devastating knockout punch, brimming with strong hooks and exuding attitude. 

One of the reasons for the record's immediacy is Cobb's treatment of Hughes's vocals, and the knob-twiddler was rather sneaky about it. Hughes might just be Cobb's biggest fan.

"We knew Cobb was going to produce us six months before we went to Nashville," Hughes related. "We got him in, because Dave is a fan of my band Trapeze. He’s also a Zeppelin fan, as you can imagine. And then I started talking to Dave every couple of weeks on the phone in Nashville, and he’s in L.A. I’d play him stuff over the phone. I wouldn’t send him any stuff on e-mail, I’d just play him stuff organically over the phone, kind of old school. He asked me, 'Well, what do you want to do? Do you want to record this on to tape, or do you want to go …' And I said, 'Let’s make that decision when we get to Nashville.' And we made that decision the morning of the session. We had a decision to go analog, and we all said sort of, 'Let’s go analog.' And Dave said to me, 'You got the lyrics?' I said, 'I do.' He said, 'You got the melodies?' I said, 'I do. Yeah, yeah, I think I’ve got all the melodies and lyrics.' He said, 'Good. How do you feel about Jason and Andrew cutting, and then you overdubbing later on the bass?' I said, 'Sure. Where’s the microphone?' And he said, 'You’re going to be in a booth, and let’s go record.' And basically, I sang to the tracks."

Hughes figured he'd have more work to do the next day. Cobb was rather coy about it.

"So long story short, we recorded the songs, and then I overdubbed the bass, and then I went to bed," said Hughes. "And the next morning, I went to the studio and I said to Dave Cobb, 'Now, I’m going to sing.' And he said, 'Oh no, you’re not. You’ve already sung the album.' Now, he wasn’t tricking me. I know I was recording, but I never actually questioned to myself whilst I was singing, 'I wonder if this is good enough?' I was just singing, just singing, like The Beatles used to do in 1964 on a four-track. To me, when I sing … I mean, I write this shit, and it envelopes inside of me, and it just lives inside of me until I record it. Normally, the way I’ve been recording for the last 20 years, when I sing it for the first time, it’s normally the way I want it to be, whether it’s something I’m overdubbing later or whether it’s like it’s this instance where it’s done live. Hats off to Dave Cobb, full marks from me, two thumbs up from me – he really captured me completely live, and I want to thank him for that. 

Of Cobb, Hughes added, "He f**king captured me for the first time since 1969 completely live."

Hughes is understandably excited about the new album, feeling its some of the best work of his legendary career.

"I’m going to be honest with you, man," said Hughes. "There was nothing technical about this album. When you listen to the songs, (sings a riff), it’s pushing full. We’re not Led Zeppelin, but Led Zeppelin was push and pull. This is life and shape and push and pull, and it’s breathy and it’s aggressive, it’s soulful, it’s harsh, it’s brash, it’s sensitive – it’s everything it started out for me in 1969. This album was written in the wind for me to record, with these two guys."

We'll have more of our interview with Glenn Hughes in due time.