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Toby Rand of Juke Kartel

November 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Interviews

On September 28th Juke Kartel dropped their first US release titled Levolution.  Don’t know what it means?  You shouldn’t …yet. It’s a word the band coined themselves to encompass their years together and their rock and roll pilgrimage from their homes in Australia to their new digs in Los Angeles.

Front man Toby Rand first made his mark in the good ole US of A on a little show called Rockstar SuperNova, vying for a chance to become the lead singer of Tommy Lee’s band.  While he didn’t win, It gave him just enough leverage to return to Australia and blow the roof off the place with his own band Juke Kartel.  With some success under their belts and a lust for a full on global rock and roll takeover the band uprooted their lives and moved to LaLa Land – a gutsy move that has paid dividends.

Levolution is about as solid a collection of rock tunes that one will find, from the anthemic rocker “Throw It Away” poised for sports stadiums across the nation, to the acoustic, live recorded “Soulshaper” to the beautifully rich and deep layers of “Find Out”.  It’s definitely a contender for our top ten list of the year. The album mixes a few of the band’s older tracks with several new songs to give the perfect 1-2-3 lights out punch of rock and roll mastery.

I recently had the chance to chat to Toby about his move to California, the new album, and how it all fell into place, and after an hour of listening to that accent, I might just be in love.

Interviewed by:  Mary Ouellette

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Three Minutes With…Gilby Clarke

The first time you probably remember seeing him was in Guns N’ Roses in the early 90s. (Unless you’re my mom, then he’s “that other smart guy who did that show with Dave Navarro”, which is referring to Rockstar: Supernova from 2005-2006-ish.) He’s also released several solo albums and produced a number of other acts as well. I caught up with Gilby before he played at Wasted Space at the Hard Rock Hotel over Memorial Day Weekend, and he did like few others have done before – gone two rounds with the “Sack O’ Questions”!
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Lennex

December 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

lennexmainYou guys have been together for more than 10 years. What’s your secret?

That’s a good question. I think the fact that three of us are related has a lot to do with it. We all are passionate about the music we make and love to perform. It definitely has its highs and lows though.

How does Lennex’s family dynamic (Brian and Brandon are brothers, Derek is their cousin) affect how the band members relate to each other?

Even though only three of us are related, at this point it feels like a five-way brotherhood, or probably more like a marriage. It helps us be more honest with each other. If we don’t like the way someone is acting, we tell him. I actually think it’s helped us learn things about ourselves that no one else would have the courage to tell us.

When you were a contestant on CBS’ “Rock Star: Supernova,” you said that the only reason you were there was to gain exposure for Lennex. That must have meant a lot to your bandmates. What was the response from everyone when you got home?

Overall, people seemed to respect me for saying that. I had always told my band that that was the reason I was going on the show. I don’t know if all of them really believed me though until I actually said it on the show.

 

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What were the best and worst parts about being on the show?

The best thing about being on “Rock Star” was the excitement of it all. It was a pretty huge thing in my life so far. The worst thing about it was having to perform songs you didn’t really like that much and therefore didn’t connect with, and then having to be judged for it. But I guess I knew what I was getting into when I auditioned.

Do you think the band might work with any of the musicians you met on “Rock Star” in the future?

Anything’s possible.  At the least, we’ll probably do some shows with some of them. We’ve already done shows with Matt Hoffer, Josh Logan, Lukas Rossi, Jenny Galt and Chris Pierson.

Right now, you’re working on a new album. How do you think it will build on your most recent release, “Part Math, Part Euphoria?”

I can only hope that as songwriters we have continued to mature. Each album we’ve put out so far has been an improvement on the one before, so hopefully we can continue that trend. The hardest thing to do is to write music that you find stimulating and at the same time can be commercially successful. That is our goal.

Can you tell us anything about what inspired the new single, “Thank You and Goodbye?”

That song is inspired by my observation that people are inherently inspired to be good even if they don’t always choose to follow that road.

What’s the songwriting process like for the band? Do the lyrics or the music come first?

Usually, at least some of the music comes first. It allows us to set a tone for what I want to sing about.

 

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What role will your trumpet play on the album, compared to past recordings?

I’m going to try to fit it in whenever it makes sense. I don’t like to put it in songs just to have trumpet on the track. I do believe that it will play a much larger role on the new album though than it did on the last one.

You’ve played shows with bands ranging from Bon Jovi to Finger Eleven. Who did you most enjoy getting to know?

We played a bunch of shows with Saliva this year and had a great time becoming friends with those guys. They never acted like they were better than anyone else.

What are your goals for touring in 2008? Any areas you haven’t played before that you’re hoping to hit?

It’s kind of hard to say right now. We still have a lot of work to do on the new album. We’d love to have something to tour on by this summer.  Hopefully we can tour as much of the country as possible.

What’s the most important thing for TWRY readers who might be unfamiliar with the band to know about Lennex?

We are honest about the music we write. Never will we try to be or sound like anyone else, and if you come to one of our shows, we will melt your face off, respectably.

Any parting words or messages for your fans?

Thanks for being our fans. We love you all… seriously, we really do!

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Lennex on MySpace
Official Lennex Website

Magni

October 1, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

magniliveWhile last summer’s “Rock Star: Supernova” didn’t quite follow through on its promise to bring music fans a new “supergroup,” viewers of the CBS reality show got something even better — an introduction to a group of immensely talented performers from around the world. Without the show, it’s quite possible that Iceland would have been able to keep one of its most valuable natural resources to itself: Magni.

“Rock Star” viewers would be hard-pressed to forget the electrifying performances put on by the bald man from Iceland. From his passionate vocals to his blistering guitar work, Magni (Asgeirsson, in case you’re wondering) made songs like “The Dolphin’s Cry,” “I Alone,” and “Hush” his own. As he worked his way towards a fourth place finish, Magni’s ability to seamlessly integrate himself into the show’s House Band further demonstrated his high level of musicianship.

Of course, he had an early start — putting together his first band at the ripe old age of eleven. As his career developed, he played with the band SHAPE, before being enlisted by the Reykjavik outfit A Moti Sol to serve as their lead vocalist. Magni remains with A Moti Sol today. The band is extremely popular in Iceland, releasing numerous hit albums and touring regularly throughout the country and other European nations.

Magni also continues to perform with his fellow “Rock Star” finalists. After his run on the show, he celebrated his 28th birthday by organizing two sold-out concerts in Iceland with several “Rock Star” contestants and the House Band. And in early 2007, Magni returned to the U.S. to play with second-place finisher Dilana Robichaux during her opening set on the Supernova stadium tour.

Now, with the release of his self-titled debut album “Magni” —available on iTunes, Napster, SNOCAP, and other digital music sites on October 9th — he’s poised for the next stage of his career as a solo artist. (Iceland has already sent the album and the first single, “If I Promised You the World,” to number one.)

A few days before the digital release, Magni took the time to speak with me via phone from Houston, where he had a show scheduled with Dilana. I’m happy to report that he made this interviewer’s job extremely easy, by proving to be completely charming and refreshingly honest, with a wicked sense of humor to boot.

Check out what Magni has to say about his new album and the pressures of being a solo artist — not to mention his views on stalking Eddie Vedder and on baldness in general.

Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | October 2007
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Josh Logan

June 7, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

joshmainThere are a few things you can count on from a Josh Logan show. First and foremost, expect to be impressed by his voice. (Dude has some serious pipes). Then there’s the stellar original material that showcases the longtime Manchester, New Hampshire resident’s trademark blend of soul, funk, and rock. Complementing both is Logan’s unique mixture of cover tunes — his choices range from Sublime to Snoop Dogg to a version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” that’s so good it gives you chills. And no need to worry if the power in the club goes out, as it did momentarily on the night I saw Logan and his band perform — it didn’t faze him for a second. He continued the show without missing a beat, literally.

Of course, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise; Logan’s had a good deal of practice. He’s been at it since the age of 15, when he began his career as lead singer of the band Gunshy. After a few years together, Logan went solo to further develop his talents as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. In 2003, he formed his own band, Josh Logan & Nobody’s Business, releasing a self-titled album the following year.

In the summer of 2006, Logan came to the attention of music fans nationwide as a top ten finalist on CBS’ “Rock Star: Supernova,” the show that sought to find a lead singer for a supergroup comprised of Gilby Clarke, Jason Newsted, and Tommy Lee. Building on his success from the show, Logan next toured Canada and Iceland with some of his fellow “Rock Star” finalists.

Currently, Logan and his new band (guitarist Nate Comp, drummer Ryan Barrett, bassist Matt Reignkin) are applying the finishing touches to his upcoming album, “Gone Tomorrow, Here Today,” which is slated for a summer release. I had a chance to sit down with the guys recently to talk about Tommy Lee, why they’re so excited for fans to hear the new album, and how long, annoying airport layovers can be surprisingly inspiring.

Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | June 2007
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