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CD Review: Steel Train / Steel Train

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Music News, Reviews, Rock

Steel Train
Steel Train
Release Date:  June 29, 2010

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

 Reviewed by:  Sally Feller

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Concert Gallery: Enrique Bunbury / Ventura, CA

June 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Latest Photo Galleries, Rock

Enrique Bunbury
June 3, 2010
Majestic Theatre – Ventura, CA
Photos by:  Sergio Bastidas

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Concert Gallery: SR-71 / Baltimore, MD

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SR-71
November 25, 2009
Bourbon St. – Baltimore, MD
Photos by:  Tasha Schalk

Concert Gallery: Rascal Flatts/Uncasville, CT

January 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Music News, Latest Photo Galleries

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Rascal Flatts
January 15, 2010
Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT
Photos by:  Mary Ouellette

James Hart of Burn Halo

June 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Interviews

burnhalo1James Hart spent more than ten years of his life fronting the metal/hardcore band 18 Visions.  When that project came to an end Hart contemplated what was next for him and opted to make the album that he had long dreamed of making – an in your face, raw and dirty,  rock and roll masterpiece.  The only strange part is, he opted to do it as a solo project, without the support of a full band.

Employing the help of songwriter/producer  Zac Malloy, Hart wrote and recorded an album that he was proud to stand behind, the only problem was, his label no longer was.  What may have cause many to give up only fueled Hart’s fire and with some determination and the support of his management the album was released under the self-titled name “Burn Halo.”

Now the only thing missing was a band to bring the songs to life on stage.  For Hart, the band had to be musicians who lived and breathed rock and roll and  could believe in his music as much as he could.  With what seems to be “mission accomplished” Hart and his newly formed band of Joey Roxx on lead guitar, Timmy Russell on drums, Aaron Baylor on bass and Brandon Lynn on rhythm guitar are currently touring their asses off on a co-headlining jaunt with fellow rockers Halestorm and The Veer Union.  James recently took some time to talk to us about his past with 18 Visions and his future with Burn Halo.

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | June  2009
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The Veer Union Release “Seasons” Video‏

June 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Music News

The Veer Union has just released the video for their breakout single Seasons.” Packed with all the energy of a summer anthem, the clip is loaded from start to finish with driving guitar solos and pure rock adrenaline. Seasons is the first taste of this Vancouver based band, who are now currently touring in support of their major label debut album Against the Grain. Head over to The Veer Union’s MySpace to find out when they’ll be near you and check out a recent interview we did with the band’s guitarist Fid here!

Fid of The Veer Union

June 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Interviews

theveerunionThe Veer Union started coming together as a band when long time friends Crispin Earl and Eric Schraeder found themselves living out of their rehearsal spaces in Canada and teaming up to write some music.  After realizing how cohesive their styles were they set out to find the missing pieces.  Enter Marc “Roots” Roots and James “Fid” Fiddler soon followed by Neil Beaton.

Choosing the name The Veer Union in honor of their musical brotherhood and the path they would travel together the band wrote and toured their hearts out for a few years before they were signed by Universal Motown Records.  With their first major label release, Against the Grain, the band strived to write hearty rock songs full of hope that would easily relate to their fan base – mission accomplished.

Gearing up for a tour with Halestorm and Burn Halo, guitarist Fid took some time to fill us in on the band, the album and how things all fell into place.

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | May 2009

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Chap Stique and Nadaddy of Family Force 5

September 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

ff52Every time Family Force 5 rolls into town it’s like a rock and roll circus on sterroids, and music fans just can’t get enough of it.  On this Warped tour, they were rocking some new digs straight out of the future armed and ready for an intergallactic battle that they seemed to reinact onstage.  Energetic doesn’t even come close to describing their set, it’s like a Jane Fonda workout on crack, and we’re jonzin for another fix.  More keytar!

With their Dance Rawr Dance II tour following up Warped tour, a new dvd and cd in the works, there was lots to catch up on with the band.  TWRY staffer Lexi, or, as Family Force 5 would name her, “Hush Puppy” sat down with Nadaddy and Chap Stique to catch up on all things FF5.

Interviewed by: Lexi Shapiro | September 2008

(We highly recommend listening to the audio version of this interview for the full Family Force 5 experience.  You can listen to it here.)

So, I am here with Chap Stique and Nadaddy of Family Force 5…

Chap Stique: Yeah! There you go!

And this is…

Chap Stique: Hush Puppy!
…Hush Puppy reporting!

Chap Stique: Do you ever use that name when you’re interviewing other bands?
No, I can safely say I’ve never introduced myself to Hush Puppy as anyone… to anyone as Hush Puppy…

Chap Stique: Well, I am honored.
Nadaddy: …as Hush Puppy to anyone.
Yeah, it’s been a long day in the heat.

Chap Stique: That’s an honor. It’s like an inside joke we have.
I was honored that you bestowed a gangster name upon me, so…

Chap Stique: It happens every now and again, but you got a better one than most other people. We called someone… what was the one we came up with the other day? Triforce…
Nadaddy: Triforce Entendra.
Chap Stique: …Entendra. That’s a ridiculous gangster name.
Nadaddy: I think that’s an album name.
Chap Stique: Yeah.
Nadaddy: That needs to be our third album, honestly.
I’m definitely happy with Hush Puppy, then. Thank you very much!

Chap Stique: *laughs* No problem.
SO, I figured I wanted to catch up a little bit with you guys, since it’s been about a year now since the magazine has gotten to talk to you. And, a lot has changed for you. The Dance or Die album is wildly anticipated by the large fan base that you’ve amassed in such a short period of time. Fans got a quick taste of what to expect from the E.P., but what else can you tell us about the upcoming album?

Nadaddy: The album is very sweaty rock and roll music. There’s a lot of stuff to make you move like there was on the last record. There’s a couple of slow songs on this album that might tug at your heart strings a little bit. It’s just very future-sounding music. It’s like the soundtrack if Voltron and Transformers had a huge intergalactic battle in the year 3030 on some sandy, future Netherworld.
Chap Stique: Yeah.
So, You just signed with Tooth and Nail. How did that come about?

Nadaddy: Let’s clarify!
Chap Stique: Let’s clarify! Family Force 5 is actually an independent band, but we are working with Tooth and Nail. We have a distribution deal through EMI.
Nadaddy: Their parent.
Chap Stique: EMI is the parent of Tooth and Nail, so we use a lot of the EMI affiliates to help promote and market it. So, we are very excited to have their help, and it’s already been great, and they’ve been very cool to us. That CD’s going to be in Best Buy, and Hot Topic, and Wal-Mart, and maybe Target, and F.Y.E. So, we’re real excited; it should get out to the fans. But, Tooth and Nail’s been awesome, too. It’s cool to be associated with bands like Jonezetta.
But, you still want to stay an independent band.

Chap Stique: Yes, we are.
Nadaddy: We are an independent band.
So, Tub-O has recently left the Family Force 5 crew for other ventures. Can you tell me about the projects that he is working on?

Chap Stique: Sure! He’s a great guy, and he’s got a really cool concept to do a video about how people in other countries… they always get portrayed as being these poor people who need our help, and they don’t have any money or education. And he’s been on a lot of trips and met a lot of these kids, and been like “These kids, they totally get life. They’re living it abundantly, and they‘re cracking up and they‘re funny, and they‘re making the best of what they have. And, so, he’s making…it’s almost like a comedy kind of film, but it’s all real stuff. And, he’s in Africa filming a lot of kids and kind of showing all of us that they are really making the best of life with nothing. And, it’s kind of a wake-up call for all of us in our comfort zone in America. Or, not just America, but those of us that think we have it bad sometimes. But, it’s going to be really cool; he’s always dreamt of doing that. And, he’s going to finish out four more Really Real shows, and then we will have four complete seasons. So, be on the look-out for the DVD.
That was actually my next question: when is the DVD going to be coming out?

Chap Stique: We don’t know yet. Soon, we hope.
And, what about after Tub-O’s gone completely? Will there be any more Really Real shows?

Nadaddy: Ah, maybe, maybe not. We may take this opportunity to kind of move in a different direction and do something else. We’re a very visual band, so we definitely want to keep that video element /content, coming to fans like that, and we love doing it. But, we may kind of go off and be creative in a different way this time.
Because, on the blog that you guys posted about Tub-O actually leaving, there is just a complete 50/50 split; it was “Oh, no, I’m going to miss him” / “…What about the Really Real shows?” And, it seems like your fan base is really desperate for you guys to keep making those, so I just wanted to find out plans.

Chap Stique: We will continue to entertain in SOME way. We’re not sure exactly how.
Nadaddy: It may not be called exactly Really Real Show.
Chap Stique: Yeah, I don’t know if we could do the Really Real Show without Tub-O. We may have to come up with the Fakey Fake Show. I don’t know, we’ll see.

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Chap Stique live on Warped Tour – Full gallery here

So, you guys have a new spacesuit-esque wardrobe going on.

Chap Stique: Yes, we do.
What inspired the change in attire?

Chap Stique: We just always wanted to look like Voltron. That was our dream. That’s what the name Family Force 5 means; it’s like five robots that come together to form a giant robot that brings peace and justice to the galaxy. The record Dance or Die, like Nadaddy said, is very futuristic, and we wanted to look the part. We want to look like warriors from the future.
Nadaddy: These look like radiators.
Chap Stique: Yeah, like radiators, and that’s what they are. I think Ewoks kind of inspired some of the coats, too.
Who makes your costumes for you guys?

Nadaddy: There’s actually a designer named Sharon Toxic of Canada that has helped us out with this run of costumes, and we worked with her to get these in time for Warped Tour. But, as Family Force 5, as an entertainment kind of company, we’re going to be trying to move forward and kind of come out with our own line hopefully soon. Within the next year is kind of what we’re hoping for. So, be on the lookout for that, as well. We’ve got a lot of kids asking us here at Warped Tour, “Where can I get those pants?! Where can I get those?!” So, we’re going to try to give you guys what you’re asking for.
Chap Stique: But, hopefully a little less smelly. We don’t get to wash ours that regularly, so…
You smell just fine to me right now.

Chap Stique: Oh, thanks!
Maybe it’s because I’ve been sitting in the heat all day, too.

Nadaddy: Your nose is shot.
Chap Stique: You’re missing out.
Nadaddy: Your olfactory nerve is shorted.
I heard the release of the video for Never Let Me Go was pushed back to due legal issues? Can you tell me what happened or why the video actually got pushed back?

Chap Stique: There was nothing major or oppressing or anything. We were just in-between different situations with some record deals that we’ve had, and certain balls got dropped, and certain people were out of communication loops. So, it’s fine. You know, we‘re…
Nadaddy: Please check out the video! We spent a lot of time on it. We like it. It’s really cool!
Yeah, who came up with the concept for that? Where did that come from? It’s so out of left field.

Nadaddy: We all kind of brainstormed, and there was a couple ideas that we started with. We liked the kind of stop-animation type things, but we wanted to make it a little bit different and kind of make it our own. And, just the whole tick-tock type thing in the song just made it fit really well with how we were doing it. And, it’s all still images that we used.
And the animal heads?

Chap Stique: Why not?!
Why not the animal heads?

Chap Stique: Actually, you know where the inspiration for the animal heads came in was we did this tour with tobyMac, and it was at this church. And, we walked in and we’re like, “Do you guys have a drama room?” And they were like, “Yeah!” And so, we went in the drama room and found these incredible outfits that were like gorilla suits. So, we played an entire show dressed up as these neon pink and green and purple gorillas. And, everybody freaked out about it and they loved it.
Yeah, I remember seeing pictures of you guys in that. I remember that.
Chap Stique: Yeah, it was weird. It was like Sesame Street characters playing or something.
Nadaddy: It was very surreal.
Chap Stique: And, we looked at the pictures, and then there were some where we were in the full outfits, and we were like, “Oh, this is hilarious.” And, then there were some where we had these big furry suits on, but no animal head, and it was just our normal head, and it looked incredible. Everybody was like, “That’s SO hilarious-looking!” So, we decided to do it the other way and have our human bodies with animal heads on it and it was incredible. We actually became those animals in our minds when we did it. *pause* CAW-CAW (bird noise)!

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So, there are so many updates regarding your personal lives since we last got a chance to talk to you guys. Soul Glow had his baby, Cash. How old is Cash, now?

Nadaddy: Almost a year old.
Chap Stique: Yeah, we’re having a birthday party.
Nadaddy: We’re going to have a bash for Cash.
Chap Stique: Chuck E. Cheese!
Nadaddy: But not money, the kid!
So, what changes have you noticed in Soul Glow since Cash came?

Chap Stique: He’s gentle.
Nadaddy: He’s very happy when he’s around his wife and kid.
Chap Stique: Cash can almost say “daddy” now. He goes “D-D! D-D!”
Nadaddy: It’s pretty awesome. He’s loving being a father, and it’s really cool to see that and be able to watch the kid grow up and stuff like that, and just see their interaction, him fitting this new role. It’s really cool.
Chap Stique: It is cool. He’s very excited.
Nadaddy: It makes me excited to be a dad eventually.
Chap Stique: He’s a good dad.
So, you and Crouton both got married, too.

Chap Stique: Oh, it’s true!
So, what kind of impact has that had on your life? What have you learned from married life thus far?

Chap Stique: I’ve learned a lot. It’s pretty incredible. I think a lot of marriage is just trying to be as selfless as possible and kind of to make sure that you really take on the responsibility that your job, at the end of the day, is to love the heck out of that person, more than anybody else does, you know? And, that’s a big responsibility, and it’s been fun. We’re having a blast. My wife’s out on the road. She got a job with one of the sponsors of the tour, so we get to hang out every day on Warped and be really sweaty and go eat catering together, and it’s awesome. So, that’s been great, and marriage is fun. It’s like having a slumber party with your best friend every day. So, it’s pretty cool.
And, this is where we insert the collective, like, girly “Awwww.”

Nadaddy: Awwwww!
Chap Stique: Yeah, please do that!
Nadaddy: Awwwww!
Chap Stique: …when you post it.
Like, in parentheses, “All ‘awwwww’.”

Nadaddy: If you transcribe it, yeah.
Okay.

Nadaddy: You need lots of W’s.
[ALL “AWWWWWWWW”]
So, what are your plans for after Warped Tour?

Nadaddy: We have a fall tour coming up that’s going to be called Dance RAWR…
Chap Stique: RAWWWWWR!
Nadaddy: … Dance II.
Oh, a sequel.

Nadaddy: Yeah, the sequel to last year’s Dance Rawr Dance. And this year, it’s going to be us headlining and then it’s going to be Pray… PlayRadioPlay, Danger Radio… “PrayRadioPray!”Chap Stique: That sounds like a good… “PrayRadioPlay.”
Nadaddy: “PlayRadioPray.”Chap Stique: Yeah, I like that.
“PlayRadioPray” though sounds more like prey, like p-r-e-y.

Chap Stique: Oh, yes.
That sounds like one of the RAWR band names.

Chap Stique: That’s true. RAWR!
You’d want to go with “PrayRadioPlay.” It sounds like you’re praying… for… a song or something.

Nadaddy: Or, their real name, PlayRadioPlay!
Yeah, you could do that too.

Nadaddy: … And, Danger Radio and Ultraviolet Sound, also will be on that tour. So, that’s going to be really fun. It starts in the beginning of October, around October 6th, I think is when the start date is.
Chap Stique: *In Japanese accent* I clap so hard when you pray.

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It’s not just a show, it’s an adventure

So, there’s a few questions that we never got to ask you guys. It’s always bothered me… “Put Ur Hands Up.” Apparently, it’s whack, but what is step 3?

*Both think and start retracing lyrics*
Nadaddy: Press rewind?
No, there’s no step 3!

Chap Stique: *Thinking* Yeah, you got it now… *laughs* I’m not the singer. I don’t know! *laughs* Wait a minute!
There is no step 3 in that song.

Chap Stique: What are you claiming, here?!
Nadaddy: So, you’re saying that we say there’s a step 3, but that we don’t tell you what it is.
Mhm. You skip straight from step 2 to step 4, and you say that step 3 was whack… There’s no step 3.

Nadaddy: Well, if it was whack!…
Chap Stique: I don’t say it, Soul glow says it.
Nadaddy: If it was whack, then you don’t even need to know. That means that we read it over and we’re like, “Naw.”
Chap Stique: “No man.”
Nadaddy:  “That ain’t cool. Write the 4.”
Chap Stique: Who wants three when you can have four? It’s like James Brown said…
Nadaddy: Some canolis!
Chap Stique: “Just play the one. The rest of the measure doesn’t matter. You do whatever you want. Just meet me on the one.” You know?
Nadaddy: It’s just like canolis.
*Both in Sopranos-esque accents*
Chap Stique: Canoli, canoli.
Nadaddy: Why do you want one or two or three when you can have four.
Chap Stique: Hey, so you’re buying one canoli for your girlfriend? You only love her that much? Why not buy four?
Nadaddy: That’s garbage.
Chap Stique: Garbage. Three! That’s…
Nadaddy: Four canolis, two each.
Chap Stique: Four canolis.
Nadaddy: Two for you, two for you.
Chap Stique: What are you, a cheapskate or something?!
Nadaddy: Give all four to her. You can get some more later.
*All laugh*
Chap Stique: I don’t know. I want to go look at the lyrics right away when we get done.
Nadaddy: I’m going to go listen to that song.
You know what, we at They Will Rock You would appreciate that. If you could somehow get back to us after talking to Soul Glow and find out what step 3 is supposed to be.

Chap Stique: That’s hilarious.
That has plagued me. Every time I listen to that song, it drives me crazy.

Chap Stique: *laughs* I’m sorry!
Nadaddy: Rest assured, it was whack.
Chap Stique: That was before my time that that lyric was written.

image

So, you guys don’t overtly speak of God or Jesus in your songs, opting to do so instead subtly. They seem to be love songs and so on and so forth, but if you start to look for it closely, almost all of your songs seem as if they could be referring to God (with the exception of songs like Drama Queen, of course). Is that the case? Are the majority of the lyrics actually allusions to God and religion?

Nadaddy: A lot could be both, especially on this new record. Like Chap Stique was mentioning earlier, there’s a whole concept/story that goes along with the album, and in that way the songs have a double-meaning, as well. They have one meaning in the plotline and then one meaning just all on their own. And then, of those meanings on their own, it could go totally very specific to another person or it could be also a reference to God. A lot of them are meant and are written to be both. They’re not meant to be one in particular. Some of them are just about break-dancing or seeing somebody cut a rug, but others are definitely speaking of a relationship with either someone else or God or both.
Chap Stique: I think you reach a certain level of depth when you leave a little bit of ambiguity in a song, and if you make it too specific, then someone can’t relate to it or connect with it as well. And, we try to write songs that might mean something for one person and something else for another. I mean, it’s a very interesting process. We were talking about this yesterday. But, most bands have one person write a song, and therefore, they can say this is what the song’s about, but we have five people writing all of our songs and all of our lyrics. And so, a line that Nadaddy may say might mean something totally different to him than it meant to me or vice versa, you know? So, yeah, most of our songs have very spiritual meanings behind them to us, but even in-between the five of us might be a different way. And, I think relationships, our love here on earth, is the most incredible form of spirituality we have. So, they kind of go hand in hand and when you blur that line a little, it purposely makes it a little bit more intriguing.
So, with the various audio blogs and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer and everything, are there any plans for a Christmas album? Because, that would be purely awesome.

Chap Stique: Not yet, but you might have just given us an idea! I think it’s usually crappy when bands try to do Christmas songs.
Yeah, but they always try to do them so seriously or they take themselves too seriously. I think of you guys made one…

Nadaddy: There’s a radio station that used to put out a Christmas album every year in Atlanta and it was always SO bad, so…
Chap Stique: We’ll have to see.
Nadaddy: I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.
Chap Stique: *Sings Sleigh Ride in banjo-esque “ding” syllables*
So, do you guys have any last words?

Nadaddy: Pick up our album, August 19th, Dance or Die.
Chap Stique: Y’unz! Y’unz is one of my last words.
Y’unz?

Chap Stique: We’re in Pittsburgh.
It’s y’inz!

Chap Stique: Y’inz!
Yes, y’inz or y’inzers.

Chap Stique: Y’inz is packed in there like sardines!
Nadaddy: Whoa, wait!
Chap Stique: Ginzers?!
Nadaddy: Y’inzers?!
Y’inzers.

Chap Stique: Ginster?!
No, y’inzers!!!

Chap Stique: Y’inzers?! *laughs*
Nadaddy: Please explain what that means.
Well, since Pittsburghers say “y’inz,” if you’re referring to people who are the cliché Pittsburgher that would say “y’inz,” they’re y’inzers.

Chap Stique: WHAT!?
Nadaddy: So, we’re around a bunch of y’inzers!
I am not a y’inzer. I like proper grammar and speaking without the accent.

Chap Stique: That is hilarious!
Yes, but, Warped Tour… you’re around a lot of y’inzers.

Chap Stique: Well, we heard a lot of it today. That’s hilarious!
You could probably impress a lot of people.

Nadaddy: What a great term!
Walk up, and just be like, “Hey, y’inzers…”

Chap Stique: There’s a food which is somewhat like a Hot Pocket that you can buy in Europe called the Ginster, which is what I thought you were referring to. Ginster!
No, no, no. We don’t call each other Hot Pockets.

Chap Stique: *laughs* That’s awesome, though. Y’inzer. That’s my last word.
So, you got an interview and a word of the day, so…

Nadaddy: That’s definitely the word of the day. It’ll be the word of our audio blog, too.
Y’inzer? Will you say it in an audio blog?

Nadaddy: Yes, we will, for sure.
Chap Stique: Yes.
Alright, and, you have to credit…

Chap Stique: As long as you listen to it.
I will! You have to credit the wonderful Pittsburgh-ese instructor, Hush Puppy, that taught you this word. Okay?

Chap Stique: Alright.
Nadaddy: Alright.
Chap Stique: Giant Eagle!

##

Bo Bice

May 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

bomainFor Bo Bice, his new album See The Light is his coming out party.  While many music fans were introduced to Bo through American Idol and his follow up debut release The Real Thing, that was just a preview of things to come for this Southern born rocker.  Describing the writing process for See The Light as a pure sense of freedom, Bice was compelled to write a diverse set of tunes that really gets down to his roots.  He felt free to experiment with a broad range of sounds and styles without feeling any pressure from the powers that be, the album is 100 percent Bo Bice from start to finish.

Released on his own label (Sugar Money/StratArt Records) Bice is definitely putting it all out there.  He realizes the benefit of the exposure that American Idol brought him but the rest of his success he had to chase on his own.  Luckily for him, music is what comes naturally.  While the album definitely gets down to basics and draws from his influences of classic rock, it also boasts of some funk, some soul and of course good ole fashioned Rock n Roll, more than anything else you can tell that Bice loved writing this record and when you can permeate that kind of feeling through song, you’ve successed.

Bo Bice recently took some time to talk to TWRY staffer Stacie about the album, about his journey getting to this point and about his life outside of music…

Interviewed by: Stacie Caddick-Dowty | May 2008

On your latest release “See the Light” you claim that this is the genuine Bo, or the REAL Bo.  While I totally understand what you mean by this, explain to our readers in your own words what you mean by that, and what this album means to you.

The latest release “See the Light” is a genuine Bo Bice record.  I had a great time making “The Real Thing” it was a wonderful record.  We did great with sales.  We worked with wonderful producers; you know Clive Davis and RCA.  But, it was more of a pop oriented record.  “See The Light” is more of the root-sy, back to basics thing that people recognize from Idol that I did, that southern rock style more than anything.  Really it’s an accumulation of everything I’ve listened to from Allman Bros, to Lynard Skynard, Black Crowes and Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Croce.  It’s a melting pot of those influences, that really over the years, these songs have just kind of were acquire because a lot of those folks. I felt like getting back to the more genuine side of what I do.

It’s no secret that you were sort of bound by RCA and Clive Davis on your first album.  I don’t want you to think I’m looking for you to bash either, but I’d like you to comment what it’s like being an artist and having others try to fit you into a mold of sorts.

Right, I think for the most part it’s no secret that that isn’t the album that I would have made, but I think also when you get into the music business you give up some control to people who at times might have more knowledge than you.  Clive Davis is great at creating acts and creating hits on the radio, and knowing the write song writers and producers to use.  I definitely wouldn’t consider the time I spent with RCA a battle or anything, I was very happy.  I learned a lot from the producers I was able to work with like Desmond Child, Marty Fredrickson, Cliff Magnus, Chad Kroeger, Josh Hanks and all these folks.  I learned a lot from that.  There is a lot of things you give up when you are signed to a major label if you are a creative writing artist.  I think if you want to have hits, and have somebody guide you through your career then that is a great avenue.  I definitely would never bash them, because they’ve made great hits.  I haven’t been around for decades making hit records and Clive Davis has been responsible for several different avenues for people’s careers.

My favorite CD review quote from Blogcritics.com: “A little Lenny Kravitz, a little Lynyrd Skynyrd and oh what the heck, throw in a little Bon Jovi for good measure. Stir in a pinch of southern fried chicken and a shot of Jack Daniels and voila, you’ve got yourself a fresh serving of steaming hot Bo Bice.” – Clever eh?

That is pretty clever.  Not a bad review, I don’t mind stuff like that!  There has been a lot of influences over the years on me, and I don’t take credit for any one sounds or movement… it’s just hearing what I love.  I just amazing that I get to work at my dream every day!  It’s a blessing and I’m blessed to have great fans that make comments.

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Purchase Bo’s Album now here

Speaking of reviews, everyone has their opinion… but, I’m wondering if you read the reviews, and if so how do you take the good and bad and keep yourself from gauging your own eyes out?  Do you get caught up in it, or do you try to stay away from it?

I try not to read too many reviews.  I see them on my website.  On bobice.com we’ve got a pretty open fan base and we’ve got an interactive site.  They get up and post the reviews, the good and the bad, and for the most part the worst review that we’ve gotten was a guy that compared me to all these acts that I’ve loved, like the Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Hendrix, and Bad Company.  So at the end of the day I think he was trying to do a bad review but it was really more of a compliment.

I was gonna say yeah… how can you take that as bad?

*laughing* to even be put in that caliber with those acts… I try to take everything as constructive criticism.  It doesn’t mean you start changing the way you do things cause you get criticized a certain way and say I’m not going to do that again.  I think it makes you more mindful of how to be tactful with people when you say or do certain things.  At the end of the day you don’t have to be PC all the time.  Last time I checked we lived in a free country, so there are good and bad reviews and at the same time I try not to put too much weight on the good ones or the bad ones.  When you start believing in your own press, that’s your own downfall.  Pay attention to what the fans want and what the people who buy your records and support you at your shows and things like that. Those are the people that count more than myself or anybody else.

There are music critics and fans out there, who might judge you based on the fact that you were on American Idol, which is more of a pop artist machine of sorts.  Or might judge you based on your first CD.  What do you have to say about that?

I think one of the cool things is that adversity is what drives us as artists.  That doesn’t mean shoving something down someone’s throat or to take retaliation towards people.  I don’t run from Idol because I’m proud of it and it gave me a career.  Do I want people to recognize Bo Bice for what he does?  Yes, every artist does.  Part of having a music career…If the Lord blesses me enough to have a long career in music…there will be plenty of time for people to find out what I’m about.  I think if I were to run from it, it’s be bite the hand that feeds you, cause a lot of the people who watched it and got me here, still admire that show.  I credit them for giving me my career and getting me to this level.  Yeah, I want to try to win people over with my new music but for the most part I’m proud to be part of the alumni of American Idol.  I think once people get to know Bo for what he really is… just like the other week when I performed on Idol… it was the first time I’ve been able to go back and do one of my originals.  They invited me back and gave me the pulpit for a minute to show the same Americans, who got me where I am, the new side of Bo Bice.  Some might look at it as a double edged sword, I just look at it as positive environment when I get to go back and see my family there at Idol, cause they are, they are like family.

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Sugar Money is your own label in partnership with Strategic Artist Management.  What is it like running your own label, how has it helped you in your musical endeavors?  You know, regarding time constraints, paying artists, studio time, creativity… I would assume it opened up more freedom.

Sugar Money is my label; I don’t have any partners… I did partner up with Strat Art to do the last album “See the Light”.  I have an independent label that I run.  We’re not a huge Fortune 500 company; we’re grassroots as it can be.  I own my own studio now, Rockhound Studios.  I’m able to write the music I want, record the music I want, produce.  Those aspects of owning your own label are great.  There was time that I caught flack from people who said “This is never going to work!” or “You’re doing to much!” For me, just having the freedom to be a dad and a husband, and make the music I want… it’s been liberating!  I think it shines through on “See the Light”.  Hopefully on the next project, which I plan on putting out through my own label also, I’ll be able to revisit that kind of freedom.  I would like to delve into different aspect that I haven’t touched yet, like maybe, some acoustic album stuff or throw a couple of covers on there.  Do things that I really want to do and the only person that I really have to convince at the end of the day is the guy with the pocket book.  So that is when we have relationships with other labels, marketing places, distribution deals, and licensing deals to where they want you to either invest in Bo Bice as the product has been handed to them or they don’t.  So when you get someone to invest in your album or license it, they’re interest is vested in you.  That is better than someone handing you a paycheck and saying “Here’s your chunk of money!” There is more of a risk that you take financially, but the pay off outweighs the risk.  Once you start chasing the dollar the artistic side of this really goes out the window anyway.  The greatest thing to me is having that flexibility to now turn down or accept certain things.

Being that you wanted this last album to be more you, are you taking that notion as sort of your future mission regarding other artists you may come to work with?  Have you worked with other artists helping them produce and record their OWN music?  Helping them stay true to their selves and talents?

Yeah it is something that I’ve entertained.  I’m kind of using myself as the guinea pig, trying to find that template through what I do.  To make sure that is going to be a successful venue for artists that I come to work with.  I don’t really have the mindset like some of the labels… you find an act…the best song, or the best act, or the best thing… and then you throw it up against the wall and whatever sticks you say “Give me three more!” My mindset has been more towards putting out quality music, like Black Crowes, like Willy Nelson, like Lynard Skynard when yes, you are putting out good music, but your fans are going to come back cause they loved YOU.  Once you have that kind of impact on people then you are truly able to live out your dreams. SO, I would want to pass that concept down to any artist that I work with, that it’s about staying genuine, working hard, creative artist development that really don’t even get dealt with anymore.  It’s like a one or two record deal and your gone.  So yeah once I’ve got this figured out on myself and we’ve got a good track record, then yeah we’ll bring on other acts, and teach them how to survive in the music industry.

Ok so years ago you used to hear about artists moving to L.A., nowadays we are hearing about Nashville.  Bon Jovi tripped to Nashville to write and record their last album too.  Tell us about the music scene there, and why you chose it.

Well it’s a great music scene.  I came up to Nashville from Alabama because it was as far north and west as they’ll ever pull me.  Being from Alabama, I’m a southern boy!  I was here over a decade ago trying to make it as a songwriter and lived in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, so this is really home town turf in a sense to me.  The music industry here (I’m just going to use the word industry) has changed here so much.  You’ve got television and film here.  Most videos that Nashville folk shoot are done here in Nashville. Writers.  Producers.  It’s always been a great haven for great players.  I think it’s really had it’s moment to shine in country music but now it’s cross pollinating into things like Rock and Roll, some really heavy rockers are here and Hip Hop folks.  It used to be L.A., New York and Atlanta… now it’s L.A., New York, Atlanta and Nashville.  It’s a nice place to be and a friendly environment for artists, producers, players, to all mingle and pick each other’s brains without having an outside project that’s been put together by an outside entity and then say see you later.  It’s more of a relationship based thing around here.  You make friends and you help each other out on projects.  So that is more of the vibe in Nashville.

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Ever go online to wikipedia.com?

I’m not as computer savvy as I should be.  I’ve gotten good at doing video for my website… I can google.  *laughing* I’m kind of LOST!

*laugh* So you’re not Geek Squad like me?

Noooo…

I hit on it while doing my research and that site has every little fart you’ve ever made!  I’m surprised your address and phone number isn’t on there!  Do you ever feel invaded by all the information that is out there about you?

I’m not surprised!  There are positives and negatives in the business about that.  I guess I don’t feel too invaded.  You set yourself up, by being in the public eye.  The best you can do is grin and bear it.  The part that gets me is that I’ve lived a colorful life.  I haven’t always been the greatest guy and I’ve definitely never been an angel.  SO there is a good and the bad and it all sort of lives out on some computer screen somewhere.  I guess the only part that I don’t dig is something that I did years ago that people find out about.  It made me who I am.  You run across folks that want to dirve that stuff into the ground with you… but other than that to be honest it’s pretty freeing.  It’s cool that people know everything about me.  A lot of times I find out more about what I’m doing through my fans!

You’ve been involved in quite a bit of charity over the past few years.  You have an appearance coming up with Ride for a Cure benefit; tell me how you choose what charities you will be involved in, because I’m sure you must get asked with great frequency.  Is it something that has to hit on a personal level or is it more of a time allotment?

It has to do with a little bit of both.  Some things are personal.  I always try to do things with St. Jude’s and cancer research in general, the Autism Society, the Safe House, Women’s Shelter… different things that I hold to my heart.  Then there are other things like this ride and a bowling tournament coming up, we do those because it is more of the time allotment and what I can do when I’m not doing a show or traveling, or doing press.  When I can fit it in, I try to do it because I feel like I’m lucky to have the popularity that I’ve got, and if we can use that to further the cause of any of those charities, awesome.  It’s the best way I can give back, with my money and my time.  The Lord blesses me with a great career and it’s time for me to give back.

We wish you all the best in your musical career and your family.  Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today!  We’ll have to come check you out when you are up this way in CT in July!

I’d love to see ya’ll there!  You stay warm up there!

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Bo Bice on MySpace

Bo Bice Official Website


Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down

May 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

3dd2It’s not a big surprise to anyone that shortly after it’s release, the latest album from 3 Doors Down, aptly titled 3 Doors Down, has already secured the number one slot on Billboard charts. After all, their last album did as well in 2005.  The first single “It’s Not My Time” quickly became a radio favorite before the album even dropped but that was just a small taste of what the album has to offer.  With their fourth studio album and these guys seem to have writing an epic rock album down to a fine art, they understand what music fans are starving for and they’ve delivered it up on a silver platter this time around.

Already out on the road to support their latest gem, guitarist Chris Henderson took some time out of their busy schedule to talk to us about the new album, the new tour, and what has happened in his life between then and now.

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | May 2008

Why the decision now, this far into your career, to name the album 3 Doors Down?  What is the significance to you?

I think we did it because this was a difficult record to make and everyone really contributed and dug down deep to put these songs together.  We hit a brick wall a few times which is never a good thing but we worked through it and kept on digging and figured it was appropriate to name it 3 Doors Down.

The band took about a year off before working on the new album, how important do you think that break was?

I think it was key, I really do.  We have pretty much been working since 1999 non-stop and we tried to take a year off but didn’t quite get a year.  There was always something going on.  We tried to take some time off and then go in and write but we had to pick up a show here and there to keep the lights on.

To write the album, the band bedded down in a farmhouse in Tennessee living there for awhile to reconnect and get your creative juices flowing.  What was that experience like for you?

It was pretty cool.  The house we rented out was like an old cellar with a fireplace in it.  We all lived upstairs and the downstairs kind of became the hangout.  It is really easy to create when you’re just hanging, when you’re not going to work every day. We were far enough from our homes that we couldn’t go home every day but we were close enough so that if we wanted to go home for a weekend we could.  We were just out of reach of all the craziness that goes along with rock and roll.

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So did you guys just roll out of bed and start writing or was there some fun involved?

Well, we’d say we were going to start at five and then we’d start at eight and go through until sometimes two or three in the morning, it all depended. We had a rig in the house and our sound engineer is a pro tools master and he can run it and I can run it and between the two of us if someone needed to record something we could do it at any time.  It was cool.

The first single “It’s Not My Time” has been doing very well, do you think it gives music fans a good indication of what the entire album sounds like or is it more of just a small taste?

It’s nowhere near the whole sound of the record; it’s basically just us reintroducing ourselves.  We wanted it to be a good song and represent 3 Doors Down but at the same time we wanted to let fans know that there was something else coming, so that’s why the guitar sounds are so edgy, in my opinion anyway.

And the video for the single actually just debuted and has some really cool things going on in it, can you tell us a little bit about it?

The video is pretty cool; we’ve never done anything like it before.  Instead of setting up in one or two locations like we would normally do and be shot at those locations we set up in eight different locations and it was kind of guerilla style.  Literally the band would get out of the van, run and grab our instruments real quick, play one or two times then back to the van and off to another location.  One time we actually shot in a skyway in Cincinnati and didn’t have permission to be there so the guys holding our guitars where hiding in our clothing racks and then when they’d yell action they’d hide again.

So did you get in any trouble for being there?

Nah, they were cool with it.  We just didn’t have permission.

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“She Don’t Want the World” has been called one of your most unique songs to date, can you tell us how this song came together?

Basically it’s just a song that developed electronically more than anything else.  We tried to do different things to it to make it something else but we really just couldn’t, it is what it is.  It’s not really a 3 Doors Down full blown performance, there’s one or two guitar parts and the drums are programmed, it’s really different and something we’ve never done but I think it was something that we had to get out of our system.  It came out really cool and we’re proud of it.

The band has always supported our troops and you’ve even contributed a song to The National Guard called “Citizen Soldier” which made its way on to the new album, can you tell us how your partnership with The National Guard came to fruition?

The song was written in response to 9/11 but as you can imagine the lyrical content wasn’t fit for radio.  The National Guard asked us to write a song for them so we did, changed the lyrics and used the same music.  It’s worked out great, we are very proud to support the troops.  Regardless of what your politics are, and mine are nobody’s business but I do support the troops.  They don’t have a choice; they aren’t doing what they do for the money.

Your last album debuted on Billboard charts at #1, which is hard to beat.  Does that add any pressure with this new album or is it more of a “been there done that” kind of feeling?

Well of course we want it to come in at number one but who really knows.  Record sales are so weird now, what does it really mean at the end of the day?  Another plaque to hang on the wall?

So no pressure?

No, I just want to be successful; I don’t care if we’re number 1, number 5 or number 10.  It’s all about sleeping at night to me.

From the first day that the band came together until this very day, what has been your proudest moment as a member of 3 Doors Down?

My proudest moment and I’m sure there are other times when I’ve been just as proud, but after Hurricane Katrina hit we were able to do some really cool things for people that were affected by it.  Not just once, several times, and not the same people, different people.  One of the things we did that I was really proud to be a part of, the city of Waveland, MS was basically wiped off the face of the earth.  The whole city was devastated, not just a few houses, all of the houses, not just a few buildings, every building, all the schools, all the hospitals – gone.  They didn’t have any infrastructure at all, they didn’t have any fire trucks or police cars, telephones, computers nothing. The fire department was basically sleeping on a cement slab that had just been under ten feet of water.  It was filthy.  They are trying to rescue people from the destruction and working twenty four hours a day trying to get people out alive and they didn’t even have a place to sleep.  One of the coolest things that we’ve ever done is we bought them a fire truck.  It wasn’t a very cool one but it was functional, and they still own it.  We bought them three police cars and some computers so they could get back on their feet and we gave them our tour bus for a month so they would have someplace to sleep.

So did you rig the police car and fire truck sirens to ring a 3 Doors Down tune?

No but I guarantee I’ve got a get out of jail free card in that town.

And you were personally affected by Katrina as well so it’s pretty admirable that you were looking out for everyone else while you went through your own hardships..

It was really a nightmare.  It really did hit me.  I couldn’t even get into my house because of the filth and the muck.  I started in my garage and it took three or four days of just cleaning.  I had been on the road for basically two years straight and hadn’t seen my kids and my family and that’s what I came home to.  My family evacuated but we went from living in the home where my kids were born and grew up to living in a travel trailer and not even on our own property because it was condemned from the salt water and the fuel and and all the bodies floating around.  It was just crazy.  We had to live in Alabama for three months and I drove back and forth each day to clean.  One day I just lost it.  I was sitting in my house and the emotions welled up and I couldn’t control it.  It was one of the worst experiences that I’ve ever had, I’ll say that.

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Well, I think it’s great how much awareness the band has brought to the issue through your charitable events.  The band started The Better Life Foundation and has raised over 2 million dollars since you started it. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Better Life is what made the fire trucks and police cars possible. To this day we still take a dollar from every ticket sold and Monster Music donates ten dollars from every one of our live DVDs that they sell.  Its money coming from all different places, The National Guard and AIG are big contributors, people really care.  It really worked out.

I know you have your own signature guitar out now through PRS Guitars.  I read a story that a fan sent in to the band where he told about you playing his guitar during one of your shows before giving it back to him.  I think it’s these kinds of things that really give fans a deep appreciation for what you do.  With the level of success that you’ve experienced how do you not let it go to your head?

I don’t know any other way.  That’s one of the reasons I play PRS Guitars because of the way that the company is and the way that I am and the way I want my kids to be.  It’s all relative, be real and true and have a good time and really there’s room for everyone to have fun here.  And I think about how cool it would have been when I was a kid if my favorite guitar player played my guitar on stage.

Forget about when you were a kid, even now that’s pretty awesome..

Yeah exactly.  I gave Garrett Robinson one of my guitars to sign and he played it, not onstage, just backstage in the dressing room but still it was so cool.  This was before I had my signature but I said that if I ever was lucky enough to get a signature guitar I wanted to be a nice enough guitar where someone could go and purchase it in a music store and go right into the studio and work with it, I want it to be that kind of instrument so PRS made that kind of instrument for me.  The guitars they built for me are the ones they sell, it’s the same thing all the way through and it’s really unheard of but I just wanted to prove it to people.  So if anybody has one and they want me to play it bring it on out!

Purchase the new album

Yeah I might buy one myself now just so I can get you to play it on stage for me!

I’ll sure do it.  It’s going to sound great, it’s a great guitar, as a matter of fact, it’s a masterpiece!

What’s the one thing you look back upon now with regards to the music industry and think “if I only knew then what I know now?”

All kinds of stuff. If I knew that downloading was coming I would have tried to prepare for that.  Downloading has slit some throats in this industry, guys like us don’t feel it as much as the little guys do but there are bands that don’t exist because of it now.  They don’t have a chance.  When the business changes it takes years for it to come around and for people to get their feet back on the ground.  There is lot of good bands out there that people are never going to hear now, a lot of broken lives.

The rumor is that there will be a summer tour with 3 Doors Down, Staind and Hinder, can you confirm this?

Yes.  We’ll be all over North America, it’s going to be a good time, and we’re looking forward to it.  I can’t wait!

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3 Doors Down Official Website

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