New England rock legend Jean “Boomer” Grenier took some time recently to sit down with TWRY staff writer Roger Scales to find out more about this project.
Jean what prompted you and Vinny (Nault) to record this tribute album and why the emphasis on Peter Criss/KISS?
What happened was we started recording a couple KISS songs for fun in 2001 and only accomplished finishing two of them. They we’re “All American Man” and ‘Larger Than Life”. Life kind of got in the way and it fell by the way side for over a decade. In 2014 my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and obviously shook our family up and my world. Vinny and I had decided to continue what we had started long ago, but this this time it was different. I suggested we finish it and do something positive with it. As time went on a few light bulbs went off and we decided to do it as a tribute CD. Some people had helped my mom and myself in 2015 and I thought this was a way to “pay it forward” and hopefully help someone or families dealing with the same devastating cancer issue our family was dealing with. Read more
Getting to Know: Grizfolk
Interviewed by: Jinx
Roll call! State your name, your role in the band, and how long you’ve been playing your current instrument.
Fredrik: I’m Fredrik, I play the guitar. I started playing when I was 9.
Brendan: I’m Brendan, I play bass. I started a little later, at 14.
Sebastian: I’m Sebastian, I play the keys. I started when I was 4, maybe?
Bill: I’m Bill, I play the drums. I started playing when I was 9.
Adam: I’m Adam, I sing. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 8. I started trying to sing at the same age.
Two of you are from Sweden (Fredrik and Sebastian), one of you is from Florida (Adam), one of you is from Pennsylvania (Bill), and one of you is from California (Brendan). How in the world did you wind up together, and what was it about L.A. that led you to base your band there over some other major music scene?
Sebastian: At the time we met, we all lived in Los Angeles. So that’s where we met, and that’s where we started a band. We were all friends before, and we had played in different bands. Fredrik, Adam, and I sat in a studio and we wrote a couple songs and we started a new band called Grizfolk, and we brought in Brendan and Bill. Read more
Reviewed by: B. Cross
Steven Wilson’s name has been legend among progressive rock aficionados for many years now, and his current tour in support of his latest concept work Hand. Cannot. Erase. drew quite a diverse crowd to the Palladium. Old-school proggers in Rush shirts stood side-by-side with longhairs sporting Emperor patch-laden battle vests. That’s how much Wilson’s music means to people, and when you hear it, you’ll understand. (I should also note that for once, I wasn’t the oldest guy in attendance. That’s always a nice change of pace.)
Wilson’s set was comprised of nearly all of Hand. Cannot. Erase., kicking off with an extended intro into “First Regret,” moving down the line in proper order. Highlights included the title track and “Perfect Life,” not to mention the powerful “Routine.” Of course, the show wasn’t just Hand. Cannot. Erase.; the performance was interspersed with a few older tracks from Wilson’s solo career as well as his lauded Porcupine Tree compositions. From eloquent soundscapes to hard-hitting riffs with enough crunch to rattle the floorboards, Wilson and his immensely talented backing band shone a new light on earlier works like “Harmony Korine” alongside new material such as “Ancestral.” The set list was so well crafted that even the older songs felt like they belonged with the new pieces, forging one melodic whole that was far more than the sum of its parts. Read more
Let me start out by stating as your ace reporter “80’s Guy for The Modern Eye” at TheyWillRockYou.com that never has there been a box set more eagerly anticipated by yours truly than the Eonian Records 4 CD set “Rock N Roll Rebels & The Sunset Strip ” Volume 1. Read more
Reviewed by: B. Cross
I knew Nightwish was a big draw, but I’d never seen a show as packed as this one. When we arrived, we were greeted with the longest waiting line I’d ever seen. It snaked around the entire block, then back into the parking lot, where it curled around itself again. I spent most of the time wondering just how in the seven hells everyone was going to fit inside the venue, let alone how long it would take to reach the door. Much to my surprise, we only waited in line for less than an hour. Kudos to the Palladium staff for getting everyone into the building quickly and safely. Read more
Northeastern symphonic folk metallers Wilderun burst onto the scene with the release of their debut Olden Tales and Deathly Trails in 2012 (review here). After plenty of touring, songwriting, and life changes, the band raised funds via Kickstarter to record their next album, Sleep at the Edge of the Earth. (Full disclosure: I was a backer.) So how did it turn out? Read more
“Decadent,” released here in North America on Feb 3rd, is the 15th studio album from U.D.O. over a 28 year period. Your last studio album “Steelhammer” (2013) brought about some changes within the band with Stefan (Kaufmann) stepping aside and also the loss of Igor (Gianola). What was it like writing and recording with two new guitar players?
Well actually Andrey (Smirnoff) did all of the guitar work on “Steelhammer” but we were working remotely. This time we were actually working together face to face not over the internet. Now with adding Kasperi (Heikkinen) who was also working face to face in the studio they both came up with great ideas and they worked very hard on this record. The results speak for themselves with fan and media reaction so far. Because they are from a different generation and they are both young and hungry it really has given this band some new life. It’s a great mix of older generation classic metal infused with this new found energy and excitement. Read more
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? Read more
This was my first show in attendance at The Spire Center for The Performing Arts in beautiful downtown Plymouth, MA. The venue is surrounded by some very nice restaurants, small shops and I must say with all of the holiday lights gleaming I was in a very festive spirit. Why shouldn’t I be? It’s the Friday night before Christmas and I’m getting ready to witness a one-night only, special performance from one of my favorite vocalists of all time – Massachusetts’ own Michael Sweet. Read more
Reviewed by: B. Cross
Photos by: Matt Lambert
The “Communion of Sirens” tour – a double bill featuring two of Sweden’s greatest heavy metal exports – makes for some strange bedfellows. Their country of origin aside, Opeth and In Flames couldn’t be more different; the former plays progressive metal, the latter a blend of alternative and metalcore. But both share some death metal roots, and they also are known for having a single record that heralded a notable shift in their sound. With In Flames, it was 2001’s Reroute to Remain that morphed their sound from melodic death metal into metalcore, while Opeth’s Heritage in 2011 brought their 1970s progressive rock influence completely to the forefront, ditching the death growls in the process. Both bands have recorded further material since then, expanding their catalog and musical horizons without ignoring their previous work. Sure, some “true” fans may have written them off, but that’s their loss, if the densely crowded venue was any indication. Thus, the two Swedish heavyweights were a surprisingly natural fit to tour together, and they descended upon the Palladium in Worcester for their last US show before heading north. Read more