Catching Up With Russell Allen of Adrenaline Mob
Before we get started with my questions I wanted to let you know that rated “Men of Honor” my #1 favorite release of 2014. My short summary was simply explained in this formula: tight band + aggressive style x melodic chorus= enjoyment. Well done sir.
Thank you. Thanks for all that you do for us and for all the other bands that you are championing because without you doing that we just don’t stand a chance in this modern era of over saturation of media frenzy over-hyping of any new band that comes down the pike.
Now let’s get into the new release Dearly Departed being released through Century Media on Feb 10. In a departure from the first covers EP Coverta this new disc will feature in addition to 4 cover tunes, an unreleased track from the Men of Honor sessions, 3 acoustic renditions of songs from both Omerta and Men of Honor, and an edited version of the Men of Honor track “Dearly Departed”. Sounds like it has something for everyone?
It does. We have definitely chosen some eclectic covers. Some things that are almost remakes if you will. I’m just not really into recording the hit song from any great album necessarily. Not that I never would it’s fun and maybe in the future we might do something like that taking a shot at a really big hit just to show that band is capable of doing that. I think it’s really hard to record a cover of a hit song that is so identifiable with the original artist and make it your own. That’s a huge challenge but there are a few that come to mind like Van Halen’s version “Pretty Woman” for instance. Johnny Cash doing “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails. He made it a JC song. That’s his song now. I love NIN I think Trent Reznor is a genius but ‘Hurt” now is a Cash tune. I think that’s the only way you can pull that off. Of course Jimmy Hendrix did “All Along The Watch Tower” just six months after Bob Dylan wrote and recorded it but it’s the Hendrix version that became a hit and has stood the test of time. I’m not against the idea of doing something like that maybe on the next record or in the future.
For me it’s a lot more fun to take something from a different genre that’s not necessarily in rock or metal and really do it up and re-imagine it sort of speak. Really kick the crap out of it. But these songs that we did like Pat Travers “Snortin’ Whisky” I mean who’s doing that? Nobody. I just love that bluesy rock man. The Mob excels at that stuff and we show a lot strength in that department.
Where the covers left over from the Coverta sessions with Mike Portnoy or are they recordings featuring A.J. Pero?
All of these were recorded with A.J. We have nothing leftover from when Mike was still with us. Also the addition of having Eric Leonhardt on bass now was another reason I wanted to do this and Mike (Orlando) and I felt like let’s keep the thing going. Let’s show everyone the band is still going strong and we are going to continue to keep doing it and we are very fortunate to have Eric come in to replace John Moyer. He’s a great bass player. I love his style because he’s a finger guy, he digs in, and he’s a real bad ass. Eric and Tony (Anthony Jude or A.J. Pero) have made one bad ass rhythm section and have given The Mob its nuts sort of speak.
Does the Sabbath medley feature any one era of the band or is it a mixture of Ozzy/Dio/Gillan/Martin/Hughes?
It’s the Ozzy era material. It will hopefully strike a chord within that classic metal community where we can earn some street credit & it includes pieces of “Into The Void”, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” all of the old ‘high stuff” that Ozzy doesn’t really do anymore. This allowed me to get up in the stratosphere which I don’t get to do too much of within this band and show some range. I had a lot of fun with it. Mike and AJ did a great arrangement of the material and made it flow.
With all of your other projects going on Russell will there be any touring in 2015 for Adrenaline Mob?
Yes we are looking to go it in March or April and hopefully the momentum of this release will allow us to jump on a bill and possibly get added as a support act here in the States to build a larger fan base and then take it from there and maybe go to South America and do some dates in Brazil which we are really excited about. For the moment that’s all we have going on. We may also try to get added to some summer radio shows but that’s a ways off.
How was touring with TSO this past holiday season?
It was a lot of fun. I had a really good time with it, much better than last time mainly because I was in a lot better shape for it. First time around I was truly not prepared for that big stage. I’m used to getting a fraction of that to whale away on all night long. It’s funny I could never catch a break. I either have to do 90 minutes in a sweatbox where I never get to leave or I get to do a few songs on a stage the size of a football field with a ton of movement. That first TSO tour I was really running around the stage a lot and I ended up hurting my leg because I wasn’t in shape for it. This year I hit the gym and got myself in much better shape and I’ve got myself on that track now and want to continue it into 2015 and make that life change permanent or for at least while I’m in this business.
You’ve got a new project with Matt Sinner and Roland Grapow called Level 10. I listened to the entire release and it sounds amazing.
It was done years ago. I sang on those tracks so long ago I couldn’t even remember what they were. Then after I heard the record again I was like oh wow I remember that. It was kind of a weird thing for me because the folks at Frontiers wouldn’t put the record out until now and of course they put it out right on top of my Mob release and I can’t really control what they do and they didn’t even ask me. Having said that I do love the opportunity of working with other artists but unfortunately the timing of it was not what I would have liked. I’m kind of done with all of the side project stuff for a long time I don’t see myself doing too much more of that type of work. I’ve done it for a long time. Matt (Sinner) and I had talked about it for a long time and finally got around to doing it and I’m very proud of it and I think it’s a great collection of tunes but for now I’m kind of focused on The Mob for the next few years at least.
What is the current status of Symphony X?
That’s a good question. There’s a lot of touring talk going on right now. A lot of plans being made for the band to tour later in the year and into 2016 so that’s what’s going on there. I don’t have any other news about the record because I already recorded my parts a few months ago and now I don’t know what’s going on in terms of where they are with the record. Last time I spoke to Mike (Romeo) we was going to send it off to be mixed but I don’t even know if that’s happened. I haven’t heard anything. I’m sort of out of the loop on it right now. Once Mike get’s into his post album production mode I don’t hear a lot from him. Things have changed. In the old days we were into an all together sort of a vibe but now Romeo wants to do what he wants to do and he does it within the time frame that he wants to do it in. That’s the way it is. Instead of trying to argue about it and make it change I’m totally supportive of it and acceptance of his time frames of what he wants to do because he is a brilliant artist and he is more than just a guitar player he’s a genius composer and I’m not going to tell the maestro when he should finish his work. Those hardcore Symphony X fans who know the band know this and are in acceptance of it. When it’s done Mike will send me the mixes and let me know what’s going on and take it from there.
Thanks for the time today Sir Russell and hope to see you playing in the New England area real soon.
We are lucky to be alive after the serious bus accident out on tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Hellyeah! late last spring and thank our lucky stars we were able to take some time and spend it with family over the summer and make sure this was something we all still wanted to do and continue on with Adrenaline Mob and we are still 100% committed to doing it. This is the first step on a fresh leg in that direction. 2015 will be about the year of the Mob!!