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There is an old saying which claims that great art is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. The truth though is that exceptional creativity is nurtured by a complexly brewed combination of unswerving dedication and God-given talent. It’s a fact no better illustrated than by the history of Vancouver’s hard-rock icons ART OF DYING and their talismanic frontman Jonny Hetherington.
Art Of Dying is:
Jonny Hetherington (Vocals)
Tavis Stanley (Guitar)
Cale Gontier (Bass)
Cody Watkins (Drums)
From hours busking on the corners of frozen streets to gatecrashing some of North America’s biggest venues, to writing and recording records of truly earth-shattering proportions, the trajectory of the quartet’s career has astonished both fans and industry insiders alike. With the release of new single and video “All Or Nothing”, the band is on course to continue to amaze.
“In my early days as a musician I just wanted to play and hone my chops,” explains Hetherington, “and playing on the street seemed like the best way to do that. I’ll never forget the folks who came and took notice of what I was doing back then, lots of them are ART OF DYING fans now and I think that’s testament to what we’ve been able to create as a band.”
And what ART OF DYING have been able to create is muscular, vivacious hard-rock bursting with lung-shattering choruses and a sincerity that is impossible to fake. Equally at home with a lead-fingered riff or a deft slow-burner, there is an ease of breadth in AOD’s repertoire that would send most of their peers salad-green with envy.
“I was blown away when I first heard their independent record,” enthuses DISTURBED guitarist Dan Donegan. “I lived with it for quite a while and I was so impressed with the quality of the songwriting that I had a feeling there was something special going on. David (DISTURBED vocalist David Draiman) and I had been looking for someone to sign to our imprint for a while, but I wanted to make sure the guys could do it live – it’s hard to find a band that are the complete package these days. So, we invited them out on a DISTURBED tour of America, we really threw them in the deep end!”
The band introduced guitarist Tavis Stanley and bassist Cale Gontier to their ranks on the eve of the run with DISTURBED – the quartet playing onstage together for the very first time during the soundcheck of the opening show of the tour. But suddenly, everything clicked. “The moment I knew that we had it right was when our voices started harmonizing,” says Hetherington, of the band’s now-trademark three-way vocals for which David Draiman has dubbed them “Eagles in Chains” referencing a blend of 70s supergroup The Eagles and 90s grunge rockers Alice In Chains. “It felt like the band I had always been looking for and that tour went brilliantly for us – it was the catalyst for us to step up to another level.”
Now, with two critically-acclaimed and widely-played major label albums under their belts, ART OF DYING are returning with new independent extended player NEVERMORE, their most imperious effort to date.
“After wrapping up an extremely difficult record (Rise Up, 2015, Eleven Seven Music) with David Bendeth (Bring Me The Horizon, Breaking Benjamin, Of Mice and Men), we have circled back to our roots on NEVERMORE”, states guitarist Tavis Stanley “working with long time collaborator and producer Mark Holman.”
“A lot of the lyrical content on this album is about overcoming adversity,” continues Hetherington. “About taking yourself beyond where you thought you could go… about stepping away from toxic relationships.” Take the second track “Torn Down” for example, a grinding anthem that deals with seeking out and reaffirming your inner pilot light even in the darkest of moments. “All or Nothing” the opening song, boasts a freight train of a riff that screeches off the tracks into a chorus that throws caution to the wind, screaming GO FOR IT – “there’s no next time!”. The title track, “Nevermore” is a self empowering victory speech disguised as an emotional ballad. If you’ve ever had to muster up the courage to walk away from an abusive relationship, this is your song.
Indeed, if NEVERMORE is about one thing above all else it is a study on the power of human will and the uplifting capacity of one’s own self belief. This is rip-snorting rock ’n’ roll that will smash your self-doubt into a million pieces. It’s a record for the believers, for the die hards, for those sick of getting torn down, but also those who realize they are strong enough to get back up.
Stay connected with A.O.D.
Official website: https://art-of-dying.myshopify.com/
AMERICAN IDOL finalist James Durbin and QUIET RIOT guitarist Alex Grossi to release “Maps To The Hollywood Scars” – Volume 1 in February 2017.
AMERICAN IDOL finalist James Durbin and QUIET RIOT guitarist Alex Grossi have announced a collaboration entitled, “Maps To THE HOLLYWOOD SCARS” – The first 5 song EP will be released worldwide via NEW OCEAN MEDIA (HIM, Adelita’s Way, Motorhead) in February 2017.
Recorded at Desert Moon Productions in Las Vegas (a state of the art studio owned by Danny “The Count” Koker, star and creator of the History Channel’s hit show “Counting Cars”). Maps To The Hollywood Scars showcases the darker side of Hollywood and the music industry – as experienced by two people that have taken different paths, yet ultimately found many common themes throughout their respective journeys. The first of the two EPs feature guest appearances by longtime GUNS N’ ROSES keyboardist Dizzy Reed, as well as programming and engineering by A.J. St. James (The Big 4, MTV),
In 2011, James Durbin released the album, titled “Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster” . The album debuted at number 36 on the Billboard 200, at number eight on the Billboard Rock Chart, number 25 on the Digital Album Chart, and sold 28,000 the first week, The album went on to sell over 123,000 copies in the U.S. alone. Most recently, Durbin released “Riot On Sunset” in the summer of 2016.
Alex Grossi has been a member of QUIET RIOT for over a decade, having been chosen by the late Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali to fill the guitar slot in 2004.
Most recently the band completed it’s first full length studio album since 2006’s “Rehab” which is currently set for a spring release Via Frontiers/SRL records. The award winning QUIET RIOT documentary “Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back” has been airing on Showtime since January 2015, and appeared at multiple high profile film festivals including the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The movie is currently available via iTunes and on DVD at www.quietriotmovie.com.
“I have been a fan of James’s for a while, and after we got an impromptu chance to jam together in Las Vegas last fall, we kept in touch and the ideas just started flowing back and forth” says Alex Grossi. “I feel that “Maps To The HOLLYWOOD SCARS” is a true labor of love, and reflects a lot of where we have both been, as well as where we are both going musically” outside of what we are both known for”.
James Durbin adds, “It’s not very often that a project like this goes from nothing to something in such a short amount of time, without a slough of industry BS. Alex started sending me instrumental demos & gave me free range to just write! We started churning out songs one after the other and they weren’t losing their quality, they were getting better. I think that we stumbled upon a winning team and it’s only fair that we let our collective fans hear what we’ve been having so much fun making!”
How did you guys get together to form, MAPS TO THE HOLLYWOOD SCARS?
James Durbin: I was playing a residency show in Vegas, ran into Alex at a restaurant and we re-connected. Once my show had ended its run, Alex started sending me demos and that’s what spawned the collaboration. It all happened so organically and easily so we just ran with it.
Who came up with the name and why?
JD: I had a band (pre ‘idol’) named ‘Hollywood Scars’ that was short lived. I knew I always wanted to use the name for a future project and this happened to fit a similar attitude. I suggested it to Alex and he added ‘Maps To The’ and the rest is history.
Where and who produced the EP?
Alex Grossi: The E.P. (and the next one) has been produced by AJ St. James – We met him out here in Vegas and he “got it” right away, if you will….. We are very lucky to have him at the helm, and his instincts are right in line with what we were and are going for, both sonically and musically.
Who played on EP?
AG: Well, it has really just been James and Myself — I did all the guitars and bass, AJ programmed the drums, based on what each song called for and Durbin did all the Vox. We kept it very under lock and key and very “in house”. The only additional player, we had come in was longtime GUNS N’ ROSES Keyboardist Dizzy Reed, who added strings, piano & organ to the track (and our first single) “TILL DEATH” – Which he really took to to a whole different place…
Whom would you like to get involved in a future album?
AG: That has been up for discussion. Between both James and I, we both know a lot of people that would not only add to the next release musically, but attention-wise. That being said, we are mostly focused on developing the songs to stand on their own – then seeing if a certain player will enhance it, as Dizzy did on “TILL DEATH” – We didn’t plan it – It just happened, and musically, it made sense.
Where will you begin your tour?
AG: We have had offers from places all over the place, but it would have to be
under the right circumstances – Neither of us are “itching” to get out there, although I am sure we will do a few scattered shows at some point (when the calendars line up)…
AG: Both James and I use PRS Guitars, and If you go to both of our websites you will see a full list of what strings/mics/picks/pedals/pickups etc… we all use.
One thing you like to do but hate to admit?
AG: As much as I miss Hollywood, and hate to admit it, as this town can get pretty goofy, I do like living in Las Vegas – After 12 years in Hollywood, it is a quiet, refreshing change….
Be sure to catch Maps of the Hollywood Stars at a venue near you!
Guitarist / singer / songwriter Jason Delismon put together Chicago based modern rock act Frontline after leaving his former band, A.D.D.(for whom he was the drummer) when his initial idea for a solo project grew legs and began adding members after writing sessions with guitarist, Mike Nowak. “It was just a writing thing at first,” relates Delismon, “and soon things just started to click and it became obvious that we needed to see this thing through.”
The quintet became a fully working entity in January 2016 and began hitting the local club scene just shy of a year later, after working through all the necessary kinks and endless rehearsals in order to get things just right. Acceptance was swift and measured and Delismon knew that following through with a full band was the right idea. “We had a buzz right out of the gate,” recalls Jason. “There was a great amount of hype which was basically organically created.”
Entering Chicago’s AMG Studios in February 2016, the band spent six solid months working on Cold World with producer Mike Brezen. “Mike was just a logical choice for us. He has an outstanding facility and his attention to detail and work ethic are both fantastic,” says the frontman.
Opening with the album’s lead single, “Follow” (about losing a loved one) the title track follows in quick succession and addresses one of life’s lessons to learn – the subject of cheating. “We’ve all had this happen to us at one time or another and it’s never pleasant,” says Jason. “I figured we’d confront the subject and get it out of my system.” With “Don’t Misunderstand” the band takes on the doubters of the world and with “Changes” the subject of new opportunities is tackled. “This one just stemmed from my decision to move from behind the drums to a more focal point, singing and playing guitar, both of which I’ve also been doing for quite a long time, “Delismon elaborates.
With a hundred bands seemingly popping up every week and social media giving everyone immediate marketability options, competition has never been more fierce for an audience’s attention span, which as Delismon is quick to point out, is shorter than ever. When you’ve got the goods, however, you have one leg up on your competitors. Jason sums Frontline up, “We write memorable songs that people can relate to and we have a positive message, which kind of goes against the grain these days.”
Jason Delismon – Lead vocals, Guitars
Steve Vuko – Guitars
Alex Loeber – Bass
Diane Tragos – Keyboards
Jason Jaros – Drums
GHS Strings are pleased to announce their short scale bass strings are now longer. The updated bass strings are designed to work with short scale bass guitars where a little extra length is required such as those that use a tailpiece or are strung thru-body.
Traditionally, the winding length (ball end to taper / silk) of a short scale bass string has been 32”. However, this measurement did not work easily with all short scale basses, and players resorted to buying medium scale strings instead. To help resolve this issue GHS have been working with Big Country bassist, and short scale instrument designer and expert, Scott Whitley. With Scott’s help, GHS discovered the optimum winding length for short scale bass strings to be 32.75” long. The result is the same great quality strings now in a winding length more conducive to a wider range of short scale basses.
GHS short scale bass strings in the updated 32.75” winding length, are available now in the following ranges:
GHS Strings’ new updated Short Scale Bass Strings offer players the complete solution where a little more winding length is needed for their bass guitar. To find more about GHS and its products please visit http://www.ghsstrings.com/
About GHS Strings:
GHS Strings has been at the forefront of string innovation for more than fifty years. This family owned business, based in Battle Creek Michigan manufactures strings for a wide range of fretted instruments including electric, Electric, acoustic, classical guitar, mandolins, banjos and more. GHS collaborates closely with a number of key artists including David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Dusty Hill (ZZ Top), Eric Johnson, Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani), Warren Haynes (The Allman Brothers) and Muriel Anderson. Known as “The String Experts”, GHS utilize their knowledge and experience to select the highest quality materials and their own closely guarded manufacturing processes to ensure their strings have a world-class tone and a long lasting performance.
Source: A & R Marketing Limited
White Knuckle Riot
WHITE KNUCKLE RIOT
The Letter Black, who first burst onto the hard rock landscape with their Tooth & Nail debut HANGING ON BY A THREAD in 2010, are back with a new record and a new label. The band is set to release their third album, PAIN May 26th on EMP LABEL GROUP. Produced by guitarist Mark Anthony, and mixed by the legendary Ben Grosse (Blink 182, Disturbed, Starset), the album, an aggressive step forward, shows the band venturing into heavier new territory.
“When we met to talk about the new record, it was unanimous that we wanted to do what we’ve been wanting to do all along, Metal. Though we have had those moments in the past, we were always restricted for various reasons. Those barriers are gone now, and that allowed us to create the record the way we wanted. This album is The Letter Black. For the first time, I feel we have successfully delivered the most honest and true music in the band’s history” recalls Mark.
Vocalist Sarah Anthony adds, “I wanted to really explore my vocals on this effort. I wanted to dive more into the aggressive side matching the more aggressive music but also touching on some more intimate moments on a few songs as well.”
In late 2016, the band, Vocalist Sarah Anthony, Guitarist Mark Anthony, and drummer Justin Brown, began talking to (Megadeth bassist) David Ellefson and Thom Hazaert of EMP LABEL GROUP. Through these talks, the band found themselves inking a new deal with EMP opening up a new direction for 2017.
“We are beyond excited to be working with David and Thom over at EMP. We really feel like they get what we are about. We have never spoken with anyone so open to letting us just go with it and create the album that we want to. That kind of trust makes us even more determined to do them proud and deliver the best album we ever have” states Mark.
“The band’s previous releases had been a huge for the band at Tooth and Nail, and they have always been an amazing hard-working band.”, says Hazaert. “So when the opportunity came to bring them into the fold at EMP we jumped at the chance. The Letter Black is one of the hardest-working bands out there, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the family.”
The Letter Black released HANGING ON BY A THREAD, and the 2013 follow-up REBUILD on Tooth and Nail, before departing the label before the recording of PAIN. The band has since played over 100-150 shows a year, including support for Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, and more.
Formed in 2015, EMP has quickly become one of the go-to labels in the Worlds of Metal and Rock. Distributed by AMPED in North America, and SPV in Europe, EMP boasts a diverse roster including Cage9, Doyle, Mark Slaughter, Broken Teeth, Ancient, Doll Skin, Another Lost Year, Helstar and more!
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Debut release from LA-based label 1520 Entertainment unites pedigree artists with Grammy-winning producer.
Official Video for “Under the Bridge” Released March 6th
It is hardly commonplace for hip-hop and rock to become bonded bedfellows. And it takes a crafty vision to mesh the disparate musical species in a way that begets fire and ice in a single song.
“Under the Bridge,” the 1992 global hit from Red Hot Chili Peppers, is a moody, potent exposè about alienation, despondency and the search for one’s truth. Lead singer Anthony Kiedis penned the platinum-selling song as he found redemption on the other side of addiction. Who can forget the indelible chorus: “I don’t ever want to feel, like I did that day/Take me to the place I love, take me all the way.”
Now press reset. Imagine the enduring song with commanding lyrical verses—cogent and again charged with strife—accompanied by the Chili Peppers’ chorus loaded with 8-cylinder gusto via a flaming, fierce female vocal. Meet Chino XL and Rama Duke, both partnering with independent music label 1520 Entertainment. “Under the Bridge” is, in fact, the launch single for the company, which aims to release a new single from its eclectic roster each month throughout 2017.
“We hope that our hybrid version of ‘Under the Bridge’ might save some lives and inspire a new generation,” says Jared Lee Gosselin, Partner of 1520 and producer of the track. His pedigree includes production credits for Velvet Revolver, Serj Tankian, DMC, Macy Gray, India.Arie, KRS-One and Musiq Soulchild. In 2013, Gosselin was awarded a Latin Grammy for Beto Cuevas’ album “Transformacion.”
In fact, because of the unsettling theme of “Under the Bridge,” 1520 is working to make its mark on local communities. The label is contributing a portion of the song’s revenues to the California-based Action Family Foundation, which works with youth and their families to resolve issues related to drugs, alcohol, sex and gangs.
The inspiration for this modern version of “Under the Bridge” was first inspired after Gosselin worked with Rama when she was signed to Hollywood Records for a multi-album deal in the early part of the millennium. “So passionate, such a unique tone and super talented,” he says of the raucous vocalist. “Truly one of the most gifted singers I have worked with.” Rama was working on a rock album and in the studio with a band covering “Under the Bridge” live, with a full-on grinding, grimacing rock vibe. It was never released.
Meanwhile, Gosselin and Chino XL had forged a years-long fruitful relationship. The latter was discovered and pacted at age 16 by Grammy-winning legend Rick Rubin and released several MTV staple singles, while also working as an actor in TV and films and collaborating with the likes of Travis Barker, J Dilla, Immortal Technique, Snoop Dogg, Tech N9ne, Cypress Hill and Proof (D12).
Gosselin says, “He is one of the top lyricists I have ever worked with. His writing and flow are something that few can accomplish.” As the pair developed new material, the producer had an epiphany. “It just kind of hit me in the studio with Chino. What an amazing remix this could be. Rama has already given it rebirth; now if I could find a way to discover a way that would fit Chino’s lyrical style.”
In fact, the three have forged such a creative kinship that they are discussing integrating their talents into a 1520 trio partnership called “A Bad Day For Sorry.” Stayed tuned for that.
Meanwhile, in the refashioned “Under the Bridge,” Chino offers a cautionary tale about addiction: “I’m the rose petal that fell from its pedestal, unbearable God witnesses the frozen princesses couldn’t let it go/The interruption of a king, my slim heroine’s grin taught me that I had even more to lose than everything.” Follow that with Rama’s hair-raising roar of the chorus.
Add to the song’s potency the fact that this is no off-hand interpretation. Both artists infuse the production with their own life lessons. Rama says, “I was a pretty angry child who moved all over the place, always wearing headphones and listening to music that came out raw where the singer wasn’t afraid to say what they felt. I understand the struggle and I think that is part of everything I sing.”
Adds Chino, “My history is similar, so for me, the song is about overcoming a less than perfect childhood, and the struggles of youth. So I relate to a message about survival, of never bowing down as you work to overcome whatever the darkness brings.” Add to that the clever—if harrowing—metaphor he brings out in the lyric, referring to heroin as a one-time heroine.
“I wanted 1520 Entertainment to come out of the gate at a gallop, not a trot,” Gosselin says. “I’d like to believe that our version of ‘Under the Bridge’ will not only be a defining moment for the label, but for pop culture as well.”
“Under the Bridge” has been released to all major digital download sites, and was released to CHR and Urban radio stations on March 06, 2017.
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Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative
It’s not often a platinum selling band with a #1 song in the US announces they’re going on hiatus, but that was the case when MY DARKEST DAYS singer MATT WALST was given the opportunity to front Canadian hard rock legends, THREE DAYS GRACE .
NEVER SAY DIE started in the front passenger seat of the MY DARKEST DAYS band wagon … we had a relentless tour schedule,” says REID HENRY (Lead Vocals/Guitar). “During overnight drives I’d squeeze through a small window to the front of the bus and stay up writing, singing, and occasionally wedging my laptop on the dashboard to record.”
Over the next year, NEVER SAY DIE remained a studio project of Reid and MY DARKEST DAYS band mate, BRENDAN McMILLAN (Bass).
In early 2016, Reid’s demos caught the interest of Producer/Engineer (EVANS BLUE, PARABELLE, SCARLET WHITE ) and drummer (AGE OF DAYS ), MIKE LANGFORD. The band began recording an EP that grew into an album. With the addition of Mike’s long time tour mate, DANE HARTSELL (guitar/vocals), what started as a dream for Reid, NEVER SAY DIE has quickly become a reality.
With their debut album set for release early 2017 and plans to tour Canada/US, it’s apparent NEVER SAY DIE has positioned themselves to continue where MY DARKEST DAYS left off.
Photo credit: Ryan Abramowitz
Brendan McMillan (Bass), Reid Henry (Lead Vocals / Guitar), Mike Langford (Drums), Dane Hartsell Guitar/Vocals)