Friday, October 21, 2016

Interview with Kenny Dubman

Kenny Dubman goes back to his roots on his first solo album Reckless Abandon but it´s hardly the first album he is credited on, Kenny was the lead guitarist and main songwriter together with Scott Metaxas in 80´s pomp AOR band Prophet.
Palace of Rock thought it would be really cool to have Kenny on board and talk about the new album, as well as his former band Prophet and which town that is the capital of ocean rock.

Hello Ken, I must start by asking how many guitars do you own and what guitar is your most precious one?
Kenny-Hmmm..ok....I currently own 7 electrics and one acoustic. The most precious would have to be my 1966 Lake Placid Blue Fender Stratocaster....100% original!

How come it took so long to record your solo debut Reckless Abandon?
Kenny-It actually didn't take long at all, though the sessions had to be spread out over a year due to studio time and financial constraints. If you mean how come it took so long to get around to releasing a solo album after Prophet, that's a loooong story my friends. Let's just say that my passion averted from music for a long while, and that life in general got in the way. It happened when the time was right.

Yeah that´s what I meant.........
You´re not only playing guitar on the album but you are also singing the lead and I must say that you have a perfect voice for southern rock music. How does it feel to take over the lead vocal duties for a change?
Kenny-Southern rock, huh? I don't consider it that, but that's cool. To me, it's earthy, organic hard rock.  It feels great to sing, but I'm only really doing it by default. I wanted to be self-sufficient, so writing for my range let me achieve that.

Who is playing on the album or are you playing most instruments yourself?
Kenny-Eric T. Winnicki, bass
Tony Nardini, piano and Hammond organ
Joe Bellia, drums
Mary Sue Murray, background vocals

I think the music bring thoughts to 70´s rock a la Free meets British hard rock band Thunder. Does these songs on Reckless Abandon reflect your roots?
Kenny-It's totally 70's and it totally reflects my roots! To me, the music that came out in the 70's was the best. I grew up on Stones, Zep, Bad Co., UFO, Priest, Kiss, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Black Oak Arkansas, Allmans, Skynyrd, Outlaws, Blackfoot, Queen, Rush, Mahogany Rush, Mott The Hoople, Sweet, Aerosmith, Frampton, Yes, Genesis, Kansas, Floyd....the list goes on. Anything went back then, you didn't have to fit a mold! I love it that people are keying in on the fact that "Reckless" is a full-blown 70's vibe.

It seems like New Jersey natives eat and breathe rock and roll, some of the hottest artists comes from NJ like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Franke and The Knockouts, Skid Row, The Gaslight Anthem and Prophet. Is NJ the capital of heartland rock?
Kenny-Don't forget Zakk Wylde! Actually, NJ is on the coast, not in the I'd say it's the capital of ocean rock, hahaha! NJ is definitely a hotbed for rock artists, though the volume that comes out of here may be just a numbers game...there's a helluva lotta people packed into this little state! It's an awesome place, though because it's close to NYC, people tend to be a little more jaded. You go west or south of here, and rock n roll seems to be a little more readily embraced by fans.

I read that in the 90´s you joined the Rocket 88 Blues band, are you credited on any albums or did you only play shows with them?
Kenny-Rocket 88 was formed strictly as a cover band to just go out and kick ass. Tony and Eric that played on "Reckless" are in Rocket with me, we still play here and there for kicks. It's ripping live band that melts faces. Mostly at benefits; we just came up with an aka of "The Band That Plays For Free".

Prophet did a reunion show in 2012, wasn´t it weird to perform without the late Joe Zuikowski on keyboards?
Kenny-Prophet has done may shows since Joe's passing. Joe was a monster player and a larger-than-life personality; one of the funniest dudes I've ever known. EVERYONE loved Joe. It was weird at first, but you get used to it. Life goes on. I still miss him, we all do.

Do you still have any contact with former Prophet members Scott Metaxas, Russel Arcara, Jim Callahan and Ted Poley?
Kenny-I do, and happily still call all of them my friends. Arcara, if you read this, you're still a douche!! Ted Poley actually gave me a bunch of tips when I was about to release "Reckless" on how to make a million dollars as an independent artist. "Start with 2 million", he said.

It´s been 25 years since Prophet´s last album Recycled (1991), ever had any plans of making a 4th Prophet record?
Kenny-Highly unlikely but never say never. All of my creative energy goes into writing songs for myself as a solo artist now, but there may came a day when I want a break and would be open to it.

What 3 albums would you bring to a desert island?
Kenny-Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here"
Blackberry Smoke "The Whippoorwill"
Black Sabbath "Sabotage"

Finally, my favorite track on Reckless Abandon is the 2nd track Devil´s brew. What song or songs are you most proud of?
​Kenny-Always tough to pick a favorite out of all your children......but I lean toward "Memphis", "Devil's Brew", "Colt .45", "Wolf", and "Sunset Serenade". I hope I don't hurt the other's feelings!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Album Spotlight : Jasmine Rodgers - Blood Red Sun

Born into an artistic family – her mother a Japanese poet, her father the legendary vocalist Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, Queen) – Jasmine Rodgers knew her way around both keyboard and fretboard before she even enrolled at secondary school. But given her love for art and zoology (in which she has a degree), music was initially a passionate pastime rather than a full-time pursuit. This changed when her older brother Steve, on hearing the ethereal beauty of Jasmine’s voice, asked her to sing with him and they formed the group Boa. Boa went on to record two albums, achieving renown in the Americas, France and Japan, after their single ‘Duvet’ featured in the anime series Serial Experiments Lain. The group disbanded in 2005, but Jasmine continued her association with the anime/manga genre, writing songs for the soundtrack of Armitage: Dual Matrix, which starred Juliette Lewis.
Jasmine continued rehearsing, writing and recording, releasing an EP of self-penned alt-folk nuggets and collaborating with artists including Indian classical musicians Mendi Mohinder Singh and Waqas Choudhary. She found inspiration for new material in the exploits of her travels (live performances led her from the Royal Albert Hall to the Venice Biennale and the Edinburgh Fringe). It was one such journey to the Joshua Tree desert in California that inspired Jasmine to capture the best of her material on a full-length album. She enlisted producer Sean Genockey (Tom McRae, Futureheads), whose experience working at Joshua Tree’s Rancho de la Luna studio made him ideal for bringing forth the material’s widescreen yet rootsy vibe. Blood Red Sun, was recorded at Black Dog Studios in London and is the sound of an exceptional artist drawing deep from global musical experiences to craft a set of inventive, euphonious 21st-century folk.

Jasmine Rodgers’ debut solo album Blood Red Sun channels her gift of narrative storytelling into eleven concise songs that explore the emotional hinterland behind all of our thoughts and deeds. It’s a folk album where, like Joanna Newsom, Rodgers’ assumes a variety of different masks. Whether it’s the bawdy lover amusing herself with lascivious fantasies as she watches her lover sleep, or the mystic bard piping songs about the transformative power of music itself, Rodgers’ natural gift for poesy and her depth of feeling stand front and centre in a beautifully rendered debut LP.

Blood Red Sun is released on October 28th.
Tracklisting : 1.Blood red sun 2.Taken 3.Let it burn 4.Icicles 5.Follow you 6.Between spaces 7.Sense 8.Underwater 9.Milky way 10.Shaping up 11.While you were sleeping

Album Spotlight : Asteroid - III

For well over a decade, Örebro’s Asteroid has served as one of the leading lights in the heavy psych community. With a sound firmly rooted in the hard-hitting field of stoner rock, since their very first demo in 2004 the trio has constantly evolved, taking inspiration from American & British blues and Swedish folk music, while always finding something new to bring to the table.
Made up of guitarist Robin Hirse, bass player Johannes Nilsson and recent addition Jimmi Kohlscheen on drums, Asteroid trade harmonious vibes and melodious riffs with all who listen. Treading the same murky waters found in some of the more menacing moments of Led Zeppelin’s back catalogue, combined with their love for the tripped-out prog of Pink Floyd and raw energy of Howlin’ Wolf, Asteroid leave no rock unturned.

 ”It’s got the murky darkness of the more menacing Zeppelin songs, the spaciness of Floyd’s cosmic tracks, and the bluesiness of Howlin’ Wolf- not to mention the incredible harmonies that tie everything together and keep you coming back for more.”- AMAZON
Having released a split record in 2006, two full-length albums with 2007’s Asteroid and the 2009 follow-up Asteroid II, and a 7” in 2012, after extensive back to back tours which saw the band average over a hundred shows a year they decided to take a break in 2013. However, at the end of last year the band finally decided that break was over. Performing a number of gigs in early 2016, including a pre-sold out show in Athens in February and appearances at DesertFest London and Berlin in April, the band’s full attention now turns to the release of the highly anticipated III. The third instalment in Asteroid’s spectacular ascendancy.

III is released on November 11th.

Tracklisting : 1.Pale moon 2.Last days 3.Til´ dawn 4.Wolf and snake 5.Silver and gold 6.Them calling 7.Mr.Strange

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Interview with Megosh

No, it´s not a troll or a brand of shoes and you will probably never read about a hurricane that is named that way,
They´re the band you never heard of but will be utterly impressed when you finally listen to their dramatic rock tunes.
Megosh is the best kept secret from Maryland, USA and they´re ready to unleash their brand new record Apostasy in December that Palace of Rock loves every minute of!
Frontman Josh Grosscup talks about the origin of their bandname, how they warm up before a gig and why they needed a change of atmosphere to work on the new album.
Fans of this band might think they have everything covered but the owls are not what they seem.

Hello, I read that you went to a Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina for three weeks to write the new album. In what way did it affect your songwriting?

Josh-Plant an Avacado tree in Canada and see what happens. We are city boys and we put ourselves in an environment opposite that which we were used to. We just knew the change of atmosphere would affect us in some way, but we didn't know what to expect. We had no internet or wifi, no phone signal. It was just four walls and music. I will say unlike the avacado plant in Canada, we flourished in that unusual environment. We are extremely happy with what we were able to create up in those mountains.

Is there a theme behind the album´s title Apostasy, would you describe it as a concept album?

Josh-As much as we would love to say this is a concept album, we just can't-- but there is a theme. The album's title relates to our experience up in the mountains of Cherokee. We left behind all we knew. In many ways the album has that feel of change. You hear it in the songs. Sure, there is some flirting sound-wise with our EP, but we definitely experimented and tried new things on this LP. We really couldn't be more happy.

An acoustic version of the song Monsters is featured on your self titled EP from 2013 and it´s also included on the upcoming album Apostasy but in a full-band version. Was it intended from the start to re-record it for the next release?

Josh-The electric version of the song actually is the original. We just didn't have it recorded yet when someone asked Megosh do an acoustic song to be featured on a breast cancer benefit sampler.  We thought, "Monsters might sound good acoustic." Being that most people (unless you've seen us live) only know of the acoustic "Monsters" being the original, we thought it was clever to add the (electric) behind the name since to many it IS the remake.

You have released single songs between the EP and the upcoming full length album like Body Works in 2014, a cover of Zedd´s Clarity in 2015 and the song Winona on the compilation It´s All Acoustic earlier this year.
How come none of these songs are included on Apostasy?

Josh-Because we are always growing. To pick from the past may only limit our future.

The new album contains 14 brand new songs where the song Carrying Fire features guest vocals from Garret Rapp (The Color Morale), it´s absolutely an amazing track but did you have Garret in mind when you wrote the song or how did you end up working together?

Josh-Hahaha, no we didn't actually. We had Dennis from Alesana in mind (for a different part than Garret sang). But he just never got around to helping us out. So we thought, "who's a friend and would actually enjoy being on our stuff?"  Garret came to mind and we were so pumped to have him!

I think of Megosh´s sound as a blend of artrock, prog and alternative rock but a bit theatrical, not far from bands like Fair To Midland, Monty Are I and Fall Out Boy.
What are your influences?

Josh-Hey, that's actually a fairly decent description of our sound!  (We hate answering the question "how would you describe your sound?"  So... thanks for not asking that. Ok, back to the question you actually asked...)  As many bands would probably tell you, we have quite varied influences from each other. But it really is true. Like Finch is always making us listen to Bobby McFerrin. And when Derv does the night drive he'll put on Kelly Clarkson when he thinks everyone's asleep. But there are a few bands that we all agree are strong influences... The Mars Volta, Coheed, Circa Survive, Queen...  Oh, and Michael Jackson-- he probably gets played more than anything in our tour van!

The band was a 4-piece on the EP but is now reduced to a trio, what happened to the 4th guy, Jon John Michaud on drums?

Josh-It was just time for us to part ways. There isn't any interesting drama to report- we have nothing against Jonjohn and wish him the best.

Your hometown Baltimore might not be known to most people outside the U.S and it´s not easy to name famous artists from Baltimore but I googled and found out it´s the hometown for Kix, SR-71, and other cool bands like Red Line Tragedy, Charm City Devils, Diamond Youth and In Dying Arms.
How is the music climate for rock bands to play live in the city?

Josh-The local bands in baltimore are the BEST, hands down!  So talented. We are Baltimore. We are all under dogs in any facet you choose.

Tell me about the band´s name, Megosh sounds like a quote from a blonde in a college film. How did you come up with the name?

Josh-It's based off a character in a movie filmed in the 80's by a well known director who had a great casting agent who strategically cast the actor to play the part of the character who inspired our name based off of said 80's film. What?

How do you prepare for a show? Do you have like the same ritual you´re going through every night?

Josh-The three of us warm up in the van with a youtube clip of Seth Riggs taking Micheal Jackson through a vocal warm-up. We drink water, sometimes hot tea. Finch smokes something.

Finally, what would be working with if you weren´t in a band?

Josh-I would write novels and become the next Cormack McCarthy.  Finch would produce Hip Hop and be the next Dre.  Derv would move to a cabin in Montana with his dog and grow his beard reeeeally long.