While here at Heavy Blog we usually err on the “for its own merit” side of the album/career debate, choosing to focus on an album’s singular traits rather than its place within a band’s discography, this would be a mistake here. While The Astonishing , one of the most anticipated albums of the year, is certainly a departure from everything Dream Theater has been giving us in the past few years, it’s also a return to several key sounds from the beginning and middle period of their career. Even that departure requires an understanding of the bigger picture of their trajectory; to depart from something, you need to understand something. And so, the first thing that is immediately apparent when the first real track (that is, not the intro) of The Astonishing begins to play is: this is a rock opera. When the second track begins to play, something else becomes immediately apparent: the main touchstone for this album within the extensive Dream Theater discography is Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence . That spring in the step, that hopeful and cheery outlook, screams of that intricate album, the closest the band have come to a rock opera in the past. Yes, OK, but is it a good album ? That’s what we’re all here to find out. In two words: yes and no. In more than that, The Astonishing contains some amazing tracks, possibly the best the band have produced since the lukewarm Octavarium trickled into our ears. When the tracks are playing, it’s impossible to resist how downright energetic this album is. At these moments, the cheesiness is perfectly balanced with that old-school Rush feel that Dream Theater have always been famous for and things work. They work really well in several points: on “Lord Nafaryus” for example, LaBrie delivers the intricate villain role with brilliant precision, doing things with his voice that he never has, as far as register and delivery goes. The artificial strings blend perfectly with the over the top piano, accentuated by signature guitar bridges from Petrucci. This cohesion is perhaps one of the best marks of a good Dream Theater album: when they work together, instead of playing against each other, they sound best. The slightest, cheesy touch from Petrucci near the end really closes the deal, making this one of the best tracks on both albums. This track is followed by two more excellent iterations of this new-fangled sound: “A Saviour in the Square” is epic to the exact degree needed, with a splash of horns to spice things up. LaBrie returns to more conventional grounds and reminds us that, regardless of personal taste, he is one of the most consistently excellent singers in the industry. Personal note time: when “When Your Times Has Come” kicks in, the next track down the line, I get teary eyed. This song is cheese to the maximum degree, but Rudess has chosen old school synth effects, with a wink to Kevin Moore perhaps, and LaBrie executes beautifully. This is “Hollow Years” territory: you know it’s cheesy rock but it just touches something within you and it works. Which brings us to the major defect with the album. Honestly, what band can expect to release 33 tracks and get that perfect balance between emotional propensity and technical achievement? Even Dream Theater, one of the most veteran and influential bands operating today, can’t pull it off. The Astonishing is replete with filler tracks, songs that really have no right existing other than an obscure parts they play in this (rather underwhelming) story that the album attempts to tell. And that’s not enough: cliche guitar parts mix with over-sweetness in LaBrie’s voice and bounce off the most cliche lines that Rudess can make from his keyboards. And they’re repetitive as well. There’s no reason for “Act of Faythe”, one of the cheesiest songs ever made by Dream Theater, to exist when a track like “The Answer” exists as well. There’s supposedly a common theme being iterated upon here but it’s not interesting enough to carry the tracks forward. Nor are the ways in which the band iterate upon it interesting in anyway: they include shifting the mood just a bit to give it a lighter or darker spin and nothing else. All of these flaws extend to the second “CD” as well, and then some. “A Life Left Behind” for example is a track which could have come right out of Awake but it’s successor, “Ravenskill” is completely pointless, taking too much time with its intro and failing to deliver when the main theme is introduced. Since the flow between the tracks, a famous trope of progressive records, has been completely abandoned here in favor of the “track by track” structure of rock operas, the second CD is hard to pin down and connect to the first. By the time you’ve reached it, so many filler tracks have gone by without a clear approach to thematization that the thread is almost impossible to grasp. The narrative has been completely lost and every track, even the good ones, start to sound the same. That’s no accident: even the good tricks utilized on this album are the same old tricks that we know from this album itself and from past entries in the Dream Theater discography. While the overall style of the album is new, in that it taps into tropes that were only lightly present in their careers so far, the track progression is the same tried and true method. OK, we’ve saved the best (worst) for last. Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned two current members of the band. The first, John Myung, might not surprise anybody; his absence, both in sound and words, from the band is a thing of legend by now. On The Astonishing , or at least on the copy that we of the press received, he is almost 100% missing. Whether in the mixing or in the recording, the bass was completely swallowed by the other instruments and is completely absent from the final product. However, now we come, here at the end, to the most egregious and unexplainable flaw in this record: Mike Mangini. Throughout the album, Magini displays an almost impressive amount of disinterest in what’s going on around him. The drums line are not only performed in a lackluster way, they also sound as if zero effort was put into their writing. We know Mangini is a talented drummer but that talent is nowhere to be found here: obvious fill after obvious fill churn out under paper thin cymbals and pointless kick drums, ultimately amounting to nothing much. There’s literally no moments on the albums that are worth mentioning for their drums and this infuriatingly frustrating, given what we know of his obvious ability. At the end of the day, when you put all of the above together, you get a disappointing album. If this had just been a bad album, we could have chalked it down to age, momentum and being out of touch. That’s impossible though, since when the album is good, it’s really quite good. If only it had been cut to about ten tracks and purged of the incessant repetitions, it might have been the best Dream Theater album in years. Instead, it’s a puerile attempt at a grand gesture that ultimately falls on its face, caught too close to the sun with wax spilling over, giving all its features the same, bland, indecipherable structure. ? Dream Theater – The Astonishing gets… 3/5
Posts Tagged ‘industry’
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Metalheads in New York City got a treat on Friday night (Dec. 14) when Dethklok , All That Remains , Machine Head and the Black Dahlia Murder came into town for their rescheduled show at Roseland Ballroom. The show was a makeup gig for a concert that was canceled in the midst of Hurricane Sandy. The Black Dahlia Murder kicked off the night of metal with a vigorous performance that got fans going early on. Machine Head followed and put on one of the best sets of the night. Their performance was raw and powerful as they started with ‘This Is the End’ off of their latest album ‘Unto The Locust.’ They also dedicated ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ to the late Dimebag Darrell and conducted a moment of silence for Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker. Throughout the tour, Machine Head and All That Remains had switched slots on the bill, but there was a tad bit of drama when Machine Head frontman addressed the crowd to explain that earlier in the day he was hit by a cab and asked All That Remains to go on earlier. Flynn seemed to be a bit irritated as he went on to say that during the tour they had covered for All That Remains when they needed more time by going on right after the Black Dahlia Murder. (Watch Robb Flynn’s rant here .) All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte addressed the situation during their set by saying that they would have switched if they had known about the situation. The fans didn’t seem too phased by the misunderstanding since both bands gave stellar performances. Labonte and his crew kicked off their set with ‘This Calling,’ and performed new tracks such as ‘Down Through the Ages’ and ‘Stand Up,’ as well as their very popular tunes ‘Six’ and ‘Two Weeks.’ Guitarist Oli Herbert was nothing short of phenomenal throughout the band’s entire set and he shredded every note impeccably. Dethklok is truly a special experience whether you are a fan of the show ‘Metalocalypse’ or not. The band plays in front of a massive screen which shows clips from the animated series — it is a theatrical and massively entertaining set to say the least. Frontman and creator of the show, Brendon Small, is a truly talented individual and gave one hell of a performance along with guitarist Mike Keneally, bassist Bryan Beller and legendary drummer Gene Hoglan. As mentioned, the entire show was rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, which was fervently cussed out by Brendon Small. Dethklok’s set included fan favorites the ‘Deththeme,’ ‘Murmaider,’ ‘Thunderhorse,’ ‘Awaken’ and many others. Dethklok also delighted the crowd with new tunes such as ‘I Ejaculate Fire,’ ‘The Galaxy’ and ended their set with the awesome tune ‘Crush the Industry’ off of their new record ‘Dethalbum III.’ Check out photos of all the bands performing in New York City: Dethklok: Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire All That Remains: Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Machine Head: Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire The Black Dahlia Murder: Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Rounder Hailing from Canada, Big Wreck showed plenty of promise in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but after their sophomore set slumped the band members decided to part ways. Now, a full decade later, singer Ian Thornley reached out to his longtime friend and cohort Brian Doherty and by opening the lines of communication, his onetime guitarist returned and a surprise resurrection of Big Wreck followed. Loudwire spoke with frontman Ian Thornley about how Big Wreck came back into focus, the solid early returns from the band’s ‘Albatross’ album in their native Canada, the breakout success of the title track in the U.S., and Thornley also revealed a little about his onetime audition for Velvet Revolver as well. Thank you for the time and I’ve got to say that I’m so happy that Big Wreck is back as a recording entity again. Can you tell me how that came to be? Well it’s just Brian and I from the original lineup, but it was just my personal relationship with Brian had sort of fallen by the wayside after we parted ways the first time and that was something that was just sort of a sour spot for me. I just missed the guys and we had been roommates in college and had been really tight before and through all of the Big Wreck thing. So I just called and we just started hanging out and then he filled in for Paulo [Neta] for one show because Paulo was going to be in Portugal and then the idea to do a Thornley-slash-Big Wreck tour came up and that’s sort of the band that we have now. I just love the idea of playing with three guitar players and doing the record. We didn’t go in to make a Big Wreck album per se. I was just going in to make a record. And I think it was Nick Rasculinecz, the executive producer, who suggested calling it Big Wreck, which didn’t sit right at first, but eventually I came around to, you know. Well perhaps that is what makes it sound like it does, because a lot of times reunited bands feel like they’re missing something that wasn’t there in the past, but this sounds as fresh like it developed organically without any pressure. Yeah, I’m really proud of the record and the fact that it’s being received at all is just gravy. The fact that it’s being received well is just exceptional at this point and to go out and score a No. 1 up here [in Canada], that’s a big deal for someone who’s been at it as long as me. I’ve had so many Top 5, almost No. 1′s, that finally we get one when we go in to make a record by our rules, you know. There’s some sweet vindication to it and I’m also really proud of it. You mentioned the accolades and already there’s a couple of CASBY Award wins for you even before the disc drops in the U.S. So with that momentum going, how good does it feel to get that recognition right off the bat? It’s great. I don’t know how much that carries over, but it’s great. I’m in a position to … I think Brian and I, as well as the other guys, I think we’re all in a position to enjoy it this time around and really sort of take it all in. Cause I know how fleeting someone digging one of your songs can be. But it feels great, but I think the overall vibe with the guys and myself is a lot of different than it was 10 years ago. Everyone is a lot more positive and a lot more focused and I think the priorities have changed. So, any and all is icing on the cake. And I think the cake is still a record that I still listen to and it’s been out here for almost a year and I still enjoy listening to it. That to me is what I’m most proud of is, in my opinion, making a really kickass record. Having people recognize that and just dig it is just gravy. It’s great that you’ve reconnected with Brian but once you went head on into this thing again, can you talk about how that relationship has evolved? Is it different? The same? Yeah, everything is fantastic. I think all the time we were apart sort of, I think we both matured, a lot. When we started hanging out again, there wasn’t a sort of, ‘OK, well here is what upset me about…’ We didn’t hash anything out. It was just that neither of us were holding any grudges and I just sort of missed my buddy and we were in similar places in a personal way and we both matured a lot in dealing with the things you have to deal with in this industry. We deal with them a lot better now, whereas before a lot of stuff would get swept under the rug and get turned into something great down the line. I don’t think either of us is going to let that happen in this incarnation. One of the things I love about the album is that you can almost feel the room and how live it feels. I know as producer you have a lot of say in that. Can you talk about what you wanted from the sound of this album going in? There was a lot of discussion about the sound and the feel of the record before we even knew what we were going to do. How do we achieve a certain sound? Do we know those tricks? Do we need to know those tricks? But what you’re speaking of is the end result that I wanted. I wanted it to sound like a real band making a real record. It’s so easy now to do it the other way and there’s the pre-packaged guitar sound and pre-packaged drum sound and press ‘Alt’ click whatever and you’ve got drums. But it’s much harder to catch a performance and capture interaction between musicians and all the little ghosts that can make their way into a piece of tape, it’s much harder to get it on a computer screen when you’re putting it into a grid and making it all perfect and correcting this and that. I think as evidenced by a lot of the things you see on television or whatever, and musicians performing live and something goes down and the music’s still going. There’s a lot of that going on and it might be great for some, but it’s not really my cup of tea. I love hearing real sounds made by real people with real fingers and real throats and it’s harder work, but we still made a record in about month. We did it quickly and kept it fresh. Getting into the album, ‘Albatross’ the song, and you mentioned getting things to sound a certain way, I just love the guitar sound at the beginning and it’s got that great psychedelic feel to it. Well, the sound at the beginning is just an electric 12-string with some delay on it, but it’s in an open tuning, which also lends itself to that sound, but nothing was not considered that went into the whole album. Everything wasn’t argued over, but it was discussed. I think it should be this guitar with this amp and we distance mic it so we get more ambiance with it and it’s all those things, but still having said that, it was all very quick. It was a lot of go with your gut and go with what you know sounds good. The psychedelic stuff is fantastic. But a lot of my trick bag is about trying to get the sounds that I know and love from all the albums I grew up listening to. I have to ask, I know that riff for ‘Albatross’ has been hanging around for a long time. So how gratifying is it to not only see it completed, but embraced as a single? [laughs] I didn’t think it was ever going to be single. I was thrilled when the guys at Warner here in Canada were like, ‘Well we want to go with ‘Albatross,” and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s ballsy. Go for it. Have at it.’ But I think for me the satisfaction was hearing that riff finally being in a song. That little na-na-na-na melody has been kicking around for, I can’t put a date on it, but well before the first Big Wreck album. I’ve tried a million different things with it. I tried to put it on the end of a song. I tried to put in the middle of another song. OK, maybe an intro then. But I never tried it as the focal point, the meat and potatoes of the song and then have it be the song. But that’s the thing … sometimes it takes ten years to write the song that writes itself in five minutes. I was listening to Rod Stewart. I was listening to ‘Gasoline Alley’ a lot and it dawned on me that I should just try the 12-string acoustic trick and as soon as I started playing the 12-string acoustic, like the demo of ‘Albatross’ was all acoustic, and then a song popped out and there you go. Finally! But to have it be a single, yeah, why not?! There’s a slide guitar solo on radio. Who would have thunk it? I have to say, ‘A Million Days’ off this album has to be one of my standout tracks. Where did that track come from? It’s hard to say. I had that sort of mellow chorus, the ‘Stay with me for a million days’ which was hooky and pretty if not a little corny. And then I just started surrounding it with things that were going to take the tease out of it. And then then challenge became how do I make this sound like one arcing song with all the mood changes and color changes, but I think it was successful. What I wanted to do, and maybe it’s just me, but contrasting colors to where if you heard one section of the song without the others, there was no way you would say that was the same song. But hearing the whole thing in context, there’s a good arc to it and I think it makes sense. But yeah, I love trying things like that and musical experiments that work out. It’s one of my favorites for sure. Watching some of the videos you’ve done, ‘Wolves’ sounds great live. Is that song starting to be one of the live favorites for the band? Yeah, it’s one of my favorites on the album. Certain songs just have a feel and a vibe and a life to them and it’s a little different than the other ones. For me, ‘Wolves’ has always been that. When we first put it down, I got choked up listening to it. And I still do get a tingle listening to it, but doing it live and seeing people singing those lyrics back to me is just huge. That’s one that is near and dear to me for sure and it’s a lot of fun to sing. ‘Control’ really feels like you have a chance to let loose. Can you tell me what it was like putting that track together and what you were looking for? ‘Control’ is born of me picking up a Strat, with Mark Knopfler being one of my heroes and certainly those first two Dire Straits records being close to me. And you’ve got that chorus, that’s where I was going for that Peter Gabriel vibe and I just thought marrying the two, how do we do that? I just that adding that Fleetwood Mac drum sound laid the whole vibe for that. And then lyrically, it’s pretty well-mined territory, but there’s some room there. And live, it’s one of those things I look forward to every night because you never know what’s going to happen. Sometimes the solo will go on a little too long and sometimes not long enough and sometimes it’s just right, but when it’s just right, that’s when everybody is strumming with their iPhones, you know. I see you’re doing some dates with Theory of a Deadman . What are you thoughts on joining them on the road? Great guys man. I’ve toured with them a few times on the road here and there and Joey, the drummer, is an old friend and they’re just nice guys. I couldn’t say enough nice things about them. It’s been great so far and it does make it a lot easier when the guys in the other bus are easy to get along with. It makes every day go a lot quicker and it’s been great so far. I noticed on Twitter that you’re wife has her black belt. So does that make things a little more dangerous around the house for you? [Laughs] No, but for anybody else trying to get in the house, sure. It’s something that’s a hobby for her and it’s one of her passions. She’s also a chef, so she’ll kick your ass and cook you a nice meal. But it’s been great for her … and both the kids are involved and I love the martial arts. I know a couple of years back your name was mentioned for Velvet Revolver and they’ve gone through so many different people trying to find a singer. What was your experience trying out for the vocalist spot? It was great. They were all great guys, and Slash in particular was really [cool]. I was really taken aback by how genuine and what a real human being he is, well actually all of them are. They’re just really good dudes. But I flew down and jammed with them for a few hours and the music part was great, but I think they were looking for a guy that doesn’t play guitar. At least at that time, they wanted a guy who was a frontguy, like an Axl or Scott Weiland or one of those dudes who doesn’t play guitar — he dances and gets the crowd going and all that stuff, and that’s just never been my thing. So when I was up there, it was like, ‘That was great, but do you mind playing it without the guitar?’ And I was like, ‘Nah, nah, it’s not going to happen.’ What am I gonna do if Slash takes this awesome 10-minute guitar solo. I don’t want to, I don’t know any of those moves. I just think and Slash has said this in interviews too, ‘Well he was great but he wanted to play guitar and that’s why he’s not in.’ And hey, I’m fine with it. Had I tried to do something without a guitar around my neck, it would have felt unnatural and weird, you know. I couldn’t imagine doing that night after night. I gravitate toward the guitar, that’s always been my cool factor. I’m a Keith more that a Mick. I know you did Thornley in between the Big Wreck periods. What do you see for the future of Big Wreck? Will you continue or balance projects? I’ve learned enough to never say never in this biz. But right now everything is going great, sounding great and everybody’s in a really good place, so for the time being, I’ll say absolutely to [more Big Wreck]. Having already sold well in Canada, Big Wreck’s ‘Albatross’ album will arrive in the U.S. Feb. 19. The disc may be pre-ordered here . The ‘Albatross’ single can already be purchased via iTunes here .
Photo: Kathy Flynn Eve to Adam continue to enjoy a successful run on their ‘Banquet for a Starving Dog’ album, but are already ahead of the game on their follow-up release. During their stop in Los Angeles as part of a triple-bill with Halestorm and In This Moment , the band revealed that they’ve already worked out half of their next record with producer Elvis Baskette and plan to return to the studio after their current run concludes to finish up the disc. Loudwire caught up with the band to discuss their breakout after years of struggle, their current recording sessions, and the addition of Dope guitarist Virus to their live lineup. ‘Banquet for a Starving Dog’ is now over a year into its cycle and still going strong. In many ways, this has to be a breakout record for you guys, right? Taki Sassaris: In a lot of ways, yes, it’s helped to introduce us to a lot of people that weren’t familiar with our music, with our style, and I think it’s a pretty solid foundation record for us, you know. It’s allowed us to get back with radio and get a larger fanbase, coast-to-coast and internationally, and it’s definitely got a lot of peoples’ interest piqued and they’re watching to see what we’re gonna do in the new year with the new material, so I think we’re one of the bands that’s on the radar that a lot of people have high expectations for. It’s a good place to be, but it’s a little bit of pressure because you know that you’ve got to deliver, but I think we do our best work when our back’s against the wall and I think that it’s pretty well evidenced by this new material that we’re laying down that I think we’re going to turn a lot of peoples’ heads with this new music. You’ve been touring for such a long time on this record, but Alex, if you could, what’s you’re favorite songs of this record that you love as much now as you did when you started supporting this record over a year ago. Alex Sassaris: I’m torn. ‘Run Your Mouth’ and ‘Reach,’ the two singles that were from that record, they obviously represent a certain sonic quality of Eve to Adam, but the message of ‘Reach’ and the tempo kind of inspires me every night, and I think off the ‘Banquet’ album that is pretty much my favorite song to play live. It’s in the set tonight and it always gets a reaction and the dedication that we give before we play the song to armed service personnel and people that keep us going and safe, it kind of means a lot, so I would say ‘Reach’ definitely. Guarav, same question, something in the live set that’s really standing out to you… Guarav Bali: Well, for me, and for all of us I think we’re really enjoying trying out the new material we did. We’re playing actually two songs these days live. One of them is an amazing song called ‘Straightjacket Supermodel’ that was co-written by Eric Bass of Shinedown . After the last Creed tour we flew down to his studio in two days and recorded it with Elvis [Baskette] and it turned out amazing. The other one is a very different song for us. It’s called ‘Bender.’ It real fast, quick tempo, and Taki does some Lemmy-like vocals and it’s a real fast tune that picks up the set a lot. The process of this has been different for us because for the first time we actually weren’t home for a long time writing. We actually wrote some stuff on the road for the last Creed run and then we got back, demoed it really quickly and got down to Orlando with Elvis and sort of finished it as we were recording it, which was really different for us. We actually wrote a song with him with different parts that turned out amazing. We actually just got the final mixes today of that song. So for me, it’s actually the two new ones that are very exciting, and it makes the older stuff more exciting too. Luis, how are you liking the pace so far? Obviously going out on the road with the band now for a bit, but immediately going into the studio at the first break is not something that’s common. Do you prefer that? Luis Espaillat: I think this is exactly what I want. A break in between is nice, and I’ve had those opportunities before, but this pace seems to keep the creativity going and the energy up because we’re coming from a situation where we’re creating from the ground up and then going straight to live where we’ve got the energy we’ve got from the new songs and be able to present it to the audience, so right now, it’s working really well. Right now, we’ve been out away from home for almost a month since we started the recording process and now we’ve started this tour with Halestorm and In This Moment and it hasn’t felt this long at all, just because we were busy, and when we’re out here I’d rather be busy and not stagnating and just sitting around, so I like this pace a lot, yes. Elvis Baskette is known for having a pretty cool studio. Can you talk about what it was like working with him? TS: He’s going to be located now out of Orlando and he’s got great gear. He’s got an amazing board. We were recording on a 75 Nieve. It was like The Who recorded on it and it’s one of nine in the world. He’s got amazing outboard stuff and compressors and he just, he’s a detail oriented individual and he’s very creative and he’s a lot of fun to work with and he loves creating rock and roll, high energy stuff, and it was just a lot of fun. And when things are fun in the studio it goes by really quick and you come up with really great stuff and everybody’s having a good time and it doesn’t seem like work. So I think anytime you’re in a studio and it doesn’t feel like work, you’re in a good spot. So I’m really excited to finish this album with him in January, and I can’t wait for some of our fans to hear this cause I think it’s going to be the shot in the arm that they’ve all been waiting for. Everybody really loved ‘Banquet,’ but I think a lot of the anthems on this are just going to have an energy that the audience is going to take to live and tear the place apart, so I’m looking forward to a lot of pandemonium. I think it’s kind of cool this way, that you’ve recorded some stuff, but then get to go out on the road for a bit before you go back in. Does that kind of rejuvenate you and both the live and recording processes? AS: We’ve never had an opportunity to do it like that and working with a guy like Elvis and knowing we’re gonna go back to him with this great live experience in between, I mean, this will be 150 live shows for us after this run is done, and that’s a good amount of touring for our band and I think we’ll be able to infuse that into the final five or six songs, or whatever it’s going to be. I was happy that the chips fell like this this time. And Creed were the guys that tipped you off to Elvis? TS: Yeah, it was Mark Tremonti and Eric Friedmann. We were blown away by the Tremonti album and on that last Creed run we lived with that album a lot. We liked the production on it and thought it was fantastic so we were like, ‘Mark?! What can we do here?’ and Elvis was in the midst of making the Falling in Reverse record so he was kind of hard to get a hold of initially, but once we got in touch, Mark’s recommendation and vote of confidence really made a difference. He wasn’t really looking to do another project, but because Mark had spoken so highly of us, he took on the project, and he was really glad he did, because we had a great time and came down with some really great material and it gives him the opportunity to take a brand new, up-and-coming band and put his stamp on it and showcase why he is who he is. So it’s a really perfect union for a group that is as hungry as we are, colliding with a producer who is ready to remind the world why he sold 25 million records. I think when you get that kind of synergy, really incredible things happen. I think if the energy and experience we had with him in the studio as contagious as it was, as uplifting and enthusiastic as it was, if the audience catches wind of that, I think it’s going to spread like wildfire. I think in 2013, you better look out cause this group is about to turn things on its ear. You mentioned Tremonti and the guys from Creed. It’s got to be a better experience being out on the road with guys you like. So often starting off, you may not know the bands you’re playing with. Guarav can you talk about getting to check them out nightly and the camaraderie there? GB: It’s amazing, because I think the biggest thing is it’s a learning experience to see how they do it, and you pick up tips here and there about various things, whether it be performance, sound, pacing of a set, cause I mean Creed played for a long time, and when I say long time, I mean they played a long set, and they played 15 or 17 songs that every time you hear them, you’re like, ‘I know every one of these songs.’ And that’s hard to do for a band that has a catalog like that. So it was a great learning experience to be out with them. Just the fact that they’re amazing guys just made it that much better. And I saw on the website, that Virus has joined you guys? How did that come about? GB: Well the boys here have been talking for several years about having a second guitar player, and I was never really comfortable with it for various reasons, but the theme of these new songs and our upcoming year is expanding our horizons and we’re writing with new people, which we’ve never done, and we’ve got a new producer, and so we decided to expand the sound live as well. I do a lot of different guitar parts on record which you can’t obviously play live without having eight arms, so I’m limited to choosing what I play live. So this allowed me to play some of those parts on the records that I’ve never had to play live and Virus got recommended to us, I talked to him on the phone, I was comfortable with him and he came to Queens and hung out with us and it was like we’d known him all our lives. That’s the most important thing because everyone has to remember that the show is however long it is per day, whether it be 30 minutes, an hour, two hours, but the other remaining time you just have to live with someone in a confined space so that’s important too. And he’s very easy to get along with, a great player, professional, and he was the one I felt comfortable saying, ‘Hey, what about him? I think he would be cool.’ Virus no longer makes you the new guy, but you’re still fairly new. Luis how has it been playing with these guys? Luis Espaillat: It’s been great. I’m the next newest guy. I’ve been with the band since July. I met these guys when I was playing with Tantric last year and they were on the bill as well, and when they invited me, I love their material from the get go already, and at that point they were already playing ‘Run Your Mouth’ and ‘Reach’ which are two of my favorites from ‘Banquet.’ I mean they’re great. Not only do they really care about what they do more than anybody else I know, they’ve been at it for many years. And there’s many people that I know that some of the stuff these guys have gone through, they would have quit, so I really appreciate the tenacity these guys have and the dedication, which is always something I wanted to align myself with because I take my craft very seriously and what I do very seriously, and these guys have put in a ton of time and I appreciate them first and foremost. They’re great people, and they’re great players so there’s not much more I could ask for. As far as Virus coming into it, it’s been great as well. Virus has been around and has that experience with Dope, and him bringing his experience to this whole mess if you want to call it that has been fantastic, so it’s been really great. The reason we’re here tonight is the show with Halestorm and In This Moment. If you want to share what it’s like and your relationship with the two other acts on this bill so far. TS: I think it’s great to see these bands reaping such success from so much hard work that they’ve put in because it gives us hope. Being the opening slot on this tour while we’re seeing these two bands break out now [is great]. They both have Top 10 rock singles and Halestorm has multiple. I think In This Moment is going to be enormous. They have a very wide, appealing sound. They’re modern and I think ahead of the curve, and the curve is going to catch up with them in 2013. They’re gonna blow up huge. And Halestorm are amazing instrumentalists. Lzzy and Arejay are a lethal combination duo, and great showmanship. She’s got an amazing voice and songwriting. You know, it’s great to see strong good bands do well, instead of what we’ve had for quite some time — you know, the one hit wonders or bands that got by on a gimmick. You know, these bands are the real deal and they’ve earned where they are. It certainly reaffirms that hard work pays off and sticking to your guns certainly does. It’s inspiring to us and we’re happy to be here and thank them for being gracious hosts. Obviously Halestorm has the sibling thing going on and here we’ve got Taki and Alex. What was it like growing up brothers and deciding who was going to do what? AS: Well, we were pretty bad at sports, so we figured out alternative measures. [laughing] TS: Speak for yourself. AS: Uh, well, he was a high school hero I guess, but I don’t remember those years apparently. [laughs] Okay I was terrible at sports, so we picked music watching Guns N’ Roses on MTV kind of blowing minds when ‘Appetite’ came out we just kind of looked at each other and thought it would be fun to not have to grow up and do music and it really bit us hard at very young ages and it just gave us a bond and something to work toward together and I wouldn’t want to play music if it wasn’t for Taki on the stage. I seriously think that’s where I belong and that’s how I envision it playing out. TS: We could’ve never gotten through this river of s— without each other by the way. I can’t stress enough to you how duplicitous this business is and it’s so difficult to try to become an artist and put your heart and soul into your work and really achieve things from inside of you and watch them blossom and create art because especially in today’s day and age or whatever, people are so callous and it starts with the industry. They don’t have time for anything and nobody wants to develop anybody. There’s no patience. It’s really an anti-art culture, the business itself, and you have to fight through all of that to get to why you got into this in the first place. You have to protect the embryonic dream with everything that you are, while trying to navigate and maintain relationships with people that you may not necessarily like and are quite, in fact, the enemy, to your central motivation. So it’s a very complex relationship, and if I didn’t have him to stabilize me and crosscheck things with I probably wouldn’t be here right now … I really feel like it’s a new beginning. We’re close a chapter and beginning a new era and the stakes are getting higher and the pressure’s getting more, so I’m really glad that I have two more brothers. So it’s like what John Lennon said about Elvis. It’s unfortunate that he was by himself to go through all that madness, and at least they had each other as the Beatles, and I kind of feel like that’s what the great part of being in a band is — that you don’t have to go through all this s— by yourself. Looking ahead, what’s on the horizon? TS: ‘Straightjacket Supermodel’ is likely going to be the lead-off single. We don’t have a release date as of yet, but we’re probably looking at middle of spring, late March or early April for a release, right into a spring tour and summer tour. What else can you tell us about ‘Straightjacket Supermodel’? Where did it come from? TS: Well we wrote this song with Eric Bass and when we listened to the track and everything, he kind of asked me where I wanted to lyrically go with this and he kind of asked me what concept I had for the song and the song, it had this really kind of eerie, kind of crime scene thing, and I know [Guarav] really loves ‘CSI’ and stuff, and ‘Dexter’ and there was a bit of a serial killer vibe to this thing, and the way it sets up, it’s kind of methodical and the lyric lays out this plan and ideology of this egocentric character that is hell bent on creating this act that will reap him immediate fame and media glory, and it’s very reflective of what it is today to be in this society because every situation seems to be a juggernaut with the media cycle. You can go from zero to villain in three seconds, and it seems like everybody has their own little chaotic psychotic world going on with their Twitter and Facebook and everybody is pretty much the center of their own universe now, so it’s getting a little crazy, so that’s the ‘Straightjacket’ part, and ‘Supermodel’ is just being looked upon as being beautiful and perfect and that quest for an obsession for physical perfection and to be looked upon in that limelight as the ultimate badass. So it has a lot to do with what we’re trying to do also, so it’s not like we’re talking about someone else. It’s definitely autobiographical, but I think that’s why it connects really well. We’ve been playing it four shows in and the song’s gotten a really great reaction. We have high hopes for the tune and really enjoy playing it, which is the best part. Have you guys done the Thanksgiving on the road? AS: Applebee’s baby! [Laugh] We’ll be somewhere in Portland on this run, but you know, we’re with our family already — our extended family anyway. It would be nice for Luis to be with his family in Nashville, but, you know, we’ll be together. TS: It’s part of the sacrifice of doing this. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/eve-to-adam-reach-exclusive-lyric-video-premiere/” title=”Next: Watch Eve to Adam’s ‘Reach’ Lyric Video” align=”center”]