Funeral For A Friend’s sixth and latest album is Conduit. It’s one of the heaviest records the band has ever done, yet as always the brutality is tempered by some rather complex, almost jazz-like chords. Okay, maybe ‘jazz’ is stretching it a bit but they’re certainly more intricate than the voicings employed by most heavy bands. “It’s funny how other people interpret it,” guitarist Gav Burrough says. “When you’re writing it, it’s organic and it just comes out. So what we try to do is to not think about it. Continue reading
There comes a point in every band’s life when they start to long for something more. For some it’s an orchestral collaboration. For others it’s an elaborate narrative stage show. Maybe a film of some kind. Something that extends the creativity of the band beyond the regular album-tour-album-tour cycle. For Stone Sour that moment has come, and it’s manifested itself in the form of House Of Gold and Bones [Roadrunner], a two-part concept album and comic book project being portioned out over an extended timeframe. Musically it’s a logical progression from 2010′s brilliant Audio Secrecy but the project finds the band exploring even heavier territory, further narrowing the gap between Stone Sour and Slipknot, the band that shares two of its members (vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist James Root). I caught up with Taylor and guitarist Josh Rand after the band’s Soundwave festival sideshow with Linkin Park. Continue reading
Sun Rising is an Australian tribute to the classic sounds of Sun Records, the iconic label that helped shepherd and ultimately define rock n’ roll and the genres that followed it. Formed by David Cosma and Damon Smith, the band has quickly found itself at home in front of several distinct audiences: the rock n’ roll revivalist and rockabilly crowd, the general arts crowd (they’re about to play the Adelaide Fringe Festival) and, well, anyone who appreciates where our music came from. Ahead of the band’s appearance at the Ballarat Beat Rockabilly Festival (February 15-17), I Heart Guitar spoke with Cosma about the magic of Sun Records and the music it gave us.
What drew you to Sun Records?
Well, I’m a massive Beatles fan, but equally as much an Elvis fan. Growing up, my childhood was Elvis – his singing, his voice and all the rest of it. That really developed through the years into becoming a big fan of that whole era of music. As I grew older and began to understand music more, I found myself more drawn to very early Elvis. I could hear that that was his best work. So eventually you end up there, looking at his debut stuff. So that’s what drew my attention to Sun Records. Then you learn very quickly the other names that come out of that one studio in Memphis. We’re talking artists that debuted through that label. They weren’t established artists passing through Memphis and recording there: they started their career there. You’ve got Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, BB King, Howlin’ Wolf and all these amazing names that pretty much started their recording careers through Sam Phillips.
Frank Turner started his professional musical career as the vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead, who had some success in the early noughts with their albums A Song To Ruin and Harmony No Harmony. But ‘irreconcilable differences’ emerged and the band called it a day in 2005, not long after releasing their second album. Since then Turner has gone on to establish a successful career as an acoustic-based singer/songwriter, releasing four studio albums, two rarities compilations and four EPs. He even had the honour of performing at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. He’s visited Australia before, but a new release titled Last Minutes & Lost Evenings (Epitaph) has been compiled to give audiences outside the UK (including here in Australia) a proper introduction to his music. It features fifteen tracks – a mixture of standards and rarities – as well as a full DVD of his Wembley show with accompaniment from his folk-punk backing band, The Sleeping Souls.
For a while there it looked like Aerosmith were done. Steven Tyler had fallen off the wagon (and subsequently the stage), and at some point he was in consideration for a proposed Led Zeppelin tour in the absence of an unenthusiastic Robert Plant. Along the way bass player Tom Hamilton was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer (he recovered but the cancer returned last year, and after treatment he’s recovering well). And of course Tyler went off and took a job as a judge on American Idol too. When the band finally reconvened and hit the studio, the question was “Which Aerosmith will be making an album? The 70s bluesy rockers? The 80s/90s hard rock superstars? The FM smash balladeers?” It turns out the answer was “All of them.” Music From Another Dimension! manages to have something to appeal to fans of all three of the band’s main eras, and with 15 tracks on the standard edition it’s pretty much a case of “If you don’t like the ballads, there’s plenty of the other stuff.” Whether intentional or not, Aerosmith seems to have found a way to please everyone.
Hi! Have you had a chance to listen to the record?
Yeah! I like that there’s three Aerosmiths here – the 70s feel, the 80s/90s stuff and the ballads. Something for everyone who likes something about Aerosmith.
Yeah, I noticed that’s how it came out. Every era of our career is represented. I don’t think it was a conscious decision. We’ve learned that it’s so much about songs, and we’ve dipped into different styles throughout our career. What always comes back is it’s all about songs. We want to have really kickin’ drums and blasting guitars, and Steven singing amazing vocals. And I’m a musician so sometimes I’ll listen to music just for the bass player, but not that often. I really believe that the song is the thing.
2012 has been a big year for Joe Bonamassa. In January he unveiled his set of signature Seymour Duncan humbuckers and a pair of Dunlop pedals, then rocked the Ernie Ball 50th Anniversary party in LA; in April he unveiled a new Gibson ES-335 signature model; in May he released Driving Towards The Daylight, which sees him return to his blues-rock sound after exploring other textures on recent recordings; and he’s been hard at work on the third Black Country Communion album. And in October he hits Australia for the second time, playing shows in Perth, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.
Daylight features plenty of firey blues-rock playing and some gorgeous guitar tones. “It’s been well-received,” Bonamassa says. “We’re not really blues to begin with, but close enough!” Particularly in Australia: the album features a cover of Jimmy Barnes’ “Too Much Ain’t Enough Love” featuring Barnesy himself on lead vocals. Barnes wrote the song with Randy Jackson, Neal Schon (Journey), Jonathan Cain and Tony Brock. Aside from a few great Bonamassa originals, tracks include songs by Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, Bernie Marsden (“Marsden’s a super-nice guy!”), Tom Waits and Bill Withers.
Have you seen what MONO is up to? They offer a range of environmentally, zoologically and aesthetically friendly cases for we guitarists, as well as plenty of other items too – wallets, laptop sleeves, iPad sleeves, backpacks, pedalboard cases, DJ storage stuff… The company has a clear and identifiable design style too, which gives their products a lot of character. Y’know how products by companies like Apple and Fender always feel ‘Apple-y’ or ‘Fendery’ yet retain their individuality as an item? That. I had a chat with MONO founder Daniel Kushner about the company’s philosophy, product offering and jam-friendly company culture.
How did Mono begin?
MONO was born out of 3 colliding factors: 1. My desire to build a design-driven company, 2. My desire to reconnect with my musical side, and 3. My frustration at the time with the state of soft goods in the music industry. I felt I could really make a difference in the industry designing pro level products for my favorite activity – going to play music. “Go Play” became my mantra, and continues to be our mantra!
Steve Vai needs no introduction.
Your new album The Story Of Light is a bit of a departure and it’s been a while since you’ve released a studio album of new material. Where did this one come from?
I guess it came from the same place the other ones came from, but maybe a little bolder. I searched my inner ear more and I gravitated towards things that excited me, as opposed to some things that I thought should be on there. And it’s also the second instalment of a trilogy of records that have a story to it, and as a result the songs are built around characters and situations and events in the story. So when you have something like that to go by, it can inspire you to do certain things that you may not ordinarily do if you just sat down to write a song.