Chris Iorio of Adelitas Way
Las Vegas based rockers Adelitas Way will unleash their debut self-titled release on Tuesday July 14th. The first single “Invincible” is an anthemic rocker that’s already been picked up by WWE as a theme song and can be heard on rock radio nationwide.
Lead vocalist Rick DeJesus gave up college baseball to pursue a career in music. After a brief stint on a VH1 reality show DeJesus found himself in Vegas where he soon teamed up with guitarist Chris Iorio. The two started writing songs together and were soon joined by drummer Trevor Stafford. The final pieces of the band, Derek Johnston on bass and Keith Wallen on guitar joined the band after the album was complete. With diverse roots in everything from 70s rock to indie, to hardcore and the influences can be heard throughout.
Working with Grammy-nominated rock producer Johnny K the band wanted to make a well rounded record that gave listeners a little bit of all that they had to offer, and their debut album does just that.
The band is currently out on the road with Saliva and will soon join up with Sick Puppies. Lead guitarist Chris Iorio took some time to talk to us about the new album, the writing process, and a possible cover of Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time?”
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | July 2009
So the band sort of all came together in Las Vegas. When you think of big music cities, Las Vegas isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, how is the music scene out there? Did it present any challenges to you?
I gotta say it actually did. The good thing we have going for us is that LA is only a few hours away but as far as Vegas goes it has its challenges. People will come to shows in Vegas but there’s so much competition with the Strip having so many clubs and so many places to party that it was a challenge. Venues would close down, bands would get discouraged and break up, the scene is dwindling. On the other hand, it does have its advantages as well. There are always new people visiting Vegas, people in the music industry come here to hang out so it’s a good place to start up. It has its ups and downs.
The one part about the bands history that’s a little fuzzy to me is that I know there were some lineup changes along the way; can you just give us the basic timeline on things as far as when the current lineup fell into place and was the material on the album all written by the new lineup?
The timeline started when Rick started the band about four years ago. He started the band with a few of his cousins and he jammed and wrote some songs with them. And then as time went on I was playing in a local band around town. Rick ended up losing his guitar player and he lived right down the street from me so we started jamming and writing songs together and we instantly clicked. We both felt like we had something good going so we started looking for the rest of the band members. We went through some drummers, we just wanted to find dedicated musicians that were willing to go through tough times with us and stay on the road. Rick and I continued to write songs and demo them and it started to get people’s attention. We went to LA and we were playing a lot of shows there and that’s where we met our drummer Trevor. Along the way we found everybody else. Derek and Keith joined the band while we were in the studio a couple of months ago.
So all of the songs on the album started with you and Rick?
Yes, for the most part. There are one or two songs that he had written before we joined up but we revamped those.
“Invincible”, the first single, has been described as “the attitude of the band”; can you tell us what you mean by that?
“Invincible” is just a high impact song that’s really energetic. Rick came from a harder life in Philadelphia, he lived in a bad neighborhood and there were a lot of bad people around him and that’s where he got a lot of the lyrical content from, his experiences there through tough times. I wanted to write a harder, more energetic song musically. We wanted to come out and make an energetic song that could show people that even when times are tough, everyone has inner strength that they can use to overcome those challenges. I think it’s a good attitude for the band. We’re just dedicated, we want to get out there and play in front of every person possible.
The band had a lot of freedom with the recording of this album and members have said many times that nobody at the label or management pushed you in any direction you were able to be as creative as you wanted to, given that, is the final outcome exactly what you wanted?
I think it is. Of course a label is going to critique and give their input but they let us be ourselves which is really good. We worked with Johnny K; he’s an awesome producer and we’re glad with the way the album came out. We made an Adelitas Way record, the one that we wanted to make. I still listen to our record every day, it’s always great to sit back and listen to it. We’re really happy with it.
The album’s official release date is July 14th which is quickly approaching, is the band planning on doing anything special on that day?
We’re actually having a CD release party in Vegas at The Palms. We’re going to invite our fans and our friends and family – everybody that had a part in the label. This is going to be a moment of achievement for the band. We’ve been waiting for this record to come out for a long time. We have a song on the album called “So What If You Go” and it feels like we wrote that so long ago, so to see that song and “All Falls Down”, our songs that have been around for awhile, to see them make the record is pretty special.
So what you’re telling me is that you have July 14th marked on your calendar..
It’s been on there for a lonnnng time! I’m not anxious anymore though, I’m just ready for it to come out. A few months ago I was counting the days down to the release and for it to be fourteen days away I’m excited.
The songs on the album really cover an array of styles from the over the top “Invincible” to the more ballady type songs like “Brother” was there an effort to keep the album well rounded to give people a taste of all of your different styles?
That’s exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to make an album that everyone could relate to. We want everyone to be able to find a song on the album that speaks to them and that they like musically. We have songs like Invincible and Scream which are high action rock songs and then there’s “Dirty Little Thing” and “Just a little Bit” which show the dirtier, grittier side of rock and then after that we have some heartfelt songs like “Brother” and “Closer to You.”
So let’s talk a little bit about you personally, you’re pretty young aren’t you?
Yes, I’m 18.
You got your first guitar at age 7 so just curious as to how you became a musician and how you decided to follow that path from such a young age?
My first exposure to music was probably when I was around 5 with my Mom and Dad cranking Van Halen and Ted Nugent and Guns n Roses. At the time I was probably too busy playing with my toys but when I was seven I saw my Dad playing his old acoustic guitar and I asked him to teach me how to play. He sat me down and started teaching me the bases. The guitar was bigger than me when I first started, and eventually I started taking lessons. I played in school and started my own band when I was 13. It was a cover band and we played everything you could possibly think of like Led Zeppelin, Boston, and every classic rock tune possible. We were playing around town and the venues that cover bands usually play are casinos so I was 14 and playing in casinos. So I went from a cover band to my own hard rock/metal band and after I did that for awhile I got the call from Rick saying he was looking for a guitar player. We met up that night and since then we’ve been together.
So did age ever become a factor for you because I’m sure there’s certain clubs that won’t even let you in to play because of your age?
Yes, that’s a problem I use to run into a lot. Now that I’m a little older it’s been a little easier. I played the Viper Room in LA when I was 16 and after the show we’d have to leave because of our age. But I understand why they had to do that.
So we have to talk about “Invincible” being used on WWE programming, rumor has it that you’re still a big wrestling fan? When you were growing up who were your favorite wrestlers?
My favorite wrestler growing up would have to be Shawn Michaels. He was probably my favorite of all time, there were others that came along the way like Jeff Hardy, who I just met a few days ago at a WWE event! For our song to be used is awesome because I remember watching wrestling and walking out to the entrance theme pretending I was a wrestler. To go from that to having our song be their theme is pretty amazing. When we were writing the song we wanted to write a song that had that super-hero, overcome anything vibe and I had a feeling they might like it.
Let’s talk about the album cover a little bit, for people who don’t know, the name of the band comes from a prostitute that Rick met at a brothel in Mexico. Is the album cover a literal interpretation of that experience?
Yeah it actually is. The band started with that whole concept. Rick met the girl and she poured her heart out to him and it really touched him. People’s lives can be so tough – we’re in a recession, North Korea is talking about going to war with us, Mexico just had the swine flu and the album cover is an interpretation of times in our lives when things might look bad but knowing that you can always overcome your biggest obstacles.
Every interview I’ve read from the band there seems to be some mention of Eddie Murphy…is that an inside joke of some sort or are you really just big Eddie fans..and any plans of covering “Party All the Time” in the future?
Well there’s always a possibility of that! Where the joke came out first is we were watching music videos in the studio and you know how on YouTube it gives you the option of similar video options, well we ended up watching Eddie Murphy’s video for that song. It’s the funniest thing because he’s taking it so seriously. Ever since then we’ve kind of used that as our inside joke, especially Rick, he’s a bit obsessed with the joke. Every time he checks the mic at a show you’ll hear him say “Party all the Time.”
Well then I expect to hear a cover of the song soon..
There’s talk of that, I’m sure we’ll pull it out at some point. I still don’t know we’re going to do it.
One of my favorite songs on the album is the ballad Brother…it’s very emotionally driven not to mention has a pretty sweet guitar solo in it, can you tell me the story behind that song? Is it about someone in particular?
Rick wrote the words about his brother who was addicted to heroin. It’s a sad song if you listen to it, he’s pretty much saying that he’s given up hope. That’s one of my favorite songs as well. Rick dedicated it to his brother trying to open his brother’s eyes to what he was doing to himself and the people around him. We wanted to write a meaningful song about it that people could relate with if they were going through a similar situation. And yes, I have my guitar solo in there! I’m glad the song is on the album because I think it’s the perfect closer.
You’re headed out on tour in August with label mates Sick Puppies, what are you guys doing at the moment?
We just got off tour with Saliva and we’ll be heading back out with them at the end of July and then we join the Sick Puppies/Hurt tour.
For more info on the band visit their official website