THE SWEETEST THING!:
ROBERT HOPE OF SENECA TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT THE BANDS DEBUT CD 'SWEETER THAN BOURBON', THE STUMBLING BLOCKS ALONG THE WAY, AND HOPES OF BREAKING THROUGH IN THE STATES
LUKE MULHOLLAND TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HIS LATEST CD 'FURTHER', THE CHALLENGES OF BEING AN UNDERAGED ROCKER, AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE.
LIKE FLOWERS THROUGH THE CONCRETE:
MARC PANNI OF LOS BLANCOS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR LATEST CD 'JUST THIS ONCE' REELING IN THE AUDIENCE AT MAKING FOLKS RECONSIDER MUSICIANSHIP(READ MORE)
A BIT OF TITILLATION:
SCI-FI-VIXEN AND AUSSIE SOCIETY WOMAN JANE BADLER TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HER DEBUT CD 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE', FINDING HER VOICE, AND DOING SOMETHING ORIGINAL. (READ MORE)
SOUND AND VISION:
JEFF SHAPIRO ON CIAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR CD 'ANONYMOUS' MERGING ART AND MUSIC
AND APPEALING TO OTHER SENSES (READ MORE)
ALYSSA GRAHAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HER LATEST CD 'ECHO'TAKING THE LISTENER ON A MUSICAL JOURNEY AND FILLING PEOPLE WITH A SENSE OF HOPE
INTERVIEWS STAR OFF MACHINE
BURN THIS!It's difficult to understand what one has to be angry about in sunny Orange County, California - No parking? You got a single latte instead of a double? You're the only Democrat? Hailing from said County is the OCMA award-winning hard rock band STAR OFF MACHINE, whose urgent lyrics, grinding guitars and thunderous rhythm section put them at odds with the power pop, tribute bands, and emo sounds that their particular zip code is known for. They have just released their debut CD 'BURN THIS' (STOFMA/INGROOVES) and according to lead singer ERICK HOLLOWAY, it's something of a concept record. "It's a looser concept." says HOLLOWAY. "It's not a precise story like a rock opera or anything like that, but the story does have it's ups and downs and I think that we're all very happy with the production of it"
STAR OFF MACHINE TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR DEBUT CD BURN THIS
AND THE CHEMISTRY THAT KEEPS THEM TOGETHER
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
'BURN THIS' is everytthing that a debut rock album should be; punchy and in-your-face. Recorded with top-notch producers, TOM TATMAN (STONE SOUR, CRAIG ERIKSON, LIVING SACRIFICE), TOMMY D (TUPAC SHAKUR, DR. DRE, SNOOP DOGG), and STEPHEN PERKINS (JANES ADDICTION, PORNO FOR PYROS, PANIC CHANNEL) 'BURN THIS' is a musical journey that opens with the explosive 'DISASTER' and ends perfectly with the mesmerizing epic, NINTH FLOOR.
ROCKWIRED spoke to ERICK HOLLOWAY (vocalist), ROBIN CHARLET (guitarist), GREG 'TUT' TUTHILL (drummer) and JEREMY WHITELEY (bassist). Here is how it went.
Now that your album 'BURN THIS' is out there for everyone to hear, how do you feel about it?
ROBIN: It's out in some areas right now, but the album isn't getting released until September 9th. But right now, the feedback that we've been getting on it is a lot better than we expected. I guess that's always a good thing.
ERICK: We're all very happy with how the whole thing turned out. It's got a nice flow to it. It's a concept record so we're excited that the flow of the record went as we planned. It's not a precise story like a rock opera or anything like that, but the story does have it's ups and downs and I think that we're all very happy with the production of it as well. TOM TATMAN from CATAMOUNT STUDIOS produced it and did a really nice job . We had STEPHEN PERKINS from JANES ADDICTION come in and do some auxillary percussion work also.
Explain the band's name to me?
ROBIN: It actually comes from a DR. SEUSS book called "THE SNEETCHES". The book is all about wanting to be in the cool crowd and following a trend and how people in a society tend to follow instead of lead. That's not to say that we're following, but it's a name that just kind of sums up the day and age that we live in. And we would like people to follow our music and remove their 'stars'.
How did this band get together? What got everyone on the same page to want to be in this band?
ERICK: I actually worked with GREG and ROBIN previously on seperate bands and they were having creative differences with their lead singer at the time and they gave me a call and said "Hey, you wanna try working something out?" GREG and ROBIN met JEREMY when they were doing the JEIGER tour four or five years ago and they clicked with him really well. He's a great bass player. So when I got together with GREG and ROBIN we gave him a call and he came out here from Philadelphia to join us.
ROBIN: We've had some issues with bass players in the past and JEREMY ended up being the perfect fit for us and finding ERICK for this band was just a godsend.
Explain, if it can be explained the whole creative process. How do songs in this band get written. How is that whole process initiated?
ROBIN: This is the first time that I've ever been in a group where we all put our 25% in to a song. It mostly comes down to ERICK in the end because what we do is actually write msuic around melodies that ERICK comes up with which really make the songs flow. We start off with a couple of ideas while playing around on guitar and ERICK will come up with a great melody or write some kind of a chorus and we will build a song around that.
So it's a real collaboration then.
ERICK: Our songs tend go through a lot of reincarnations for sure. We'll get something going and I'll take it home and play around with it and I bring it back. It's a lengthy process but in the end, I think we touch all of the bases and make sure that we don't take any shortcuts.
ROBIN: And we're all fully satisfied with our songs once they are finished. It's important for all of us to be happy with our music.
ERICK, talk about the other members of the band. What do you think each of them brings to the table not just musically but personality-wise.
ERICK: I think that our personalities are as eclectic as the differences in our backgrounds as musicians. We all have very different tastes in music and different personalities. We all have things that we're good at as far as booking shows, and dealing with radio stations, and things like that. We tend to delegate responsibilities like that within the band based on who is better for the job and it's nice that we all have different talents and resources to pull from. The really cool thing about this band is that everyone gets along. The last band I was in, that wasn't the case. These guys are some of the best friends that I've ever had so it works out nice. We've come to a spot creatively where it really works. Everyone brings ideas to the table every time we're writing and working on a song. Whether they like it or not , everyone is willing to give that idea a shot. If it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't. No one goes home angry, so thats nice.
You talked about your background a little bit, but talk about what drew you to music in the first place.
ERICK: Probably my uncle, to be honest with you. When I was in the first grade, he bought me OZZY OSBOURNE's 'BLIZZARD IN OZ' on cassette and he was like the coolest guy in my life. He was eighteen when I was seven. He introduced me to alot of music; BLACK SABBATH, LED ZEPPELIN, and when the eighties came around he got me into POISON and things like like that. I fell in love with rock n roll. When I was thirteen years old, I remember getting my first guitar and thinking 'Hey, I'm gonna play rock n roll!' and I've pretty much been doing it ever since.
ROBIN: I'm actaully named after the guitarist ROBIN TROWER. When I was born, my dad was in a rock band and when they asked him what they were going to name me, he said 'ROBIN, I love his licks!' I think being named after a rock guitarist may have been the reason why I decided to go for music. It's almost as if it were in the blood. I started getting into music when I was thirteen years old and really took it seriously and tried joining bands immediately and tried to experiment with every type of music that I could.
GREG: My older brother started playing drums when I was a kid. I didn't really have a lot of music in my family as far as my parents go, but whenever my brother was gone, I was always beating on his drums. I just got sucked in by it. I stayed with it all through school. Along the way I got hooked into doing rock music. The first album I ever bought was IRON MAIDEN's 'MADE IN JAPAN'. It was a little cassette tape. I was stuck from there on out. It's something that I really love to do. I love to pound out really cool grooves. Thats the main thing for me.
JEREMY: I actually come from a very musical family. I started at the age fo four playing bass. My first bass guitar was an acoustic guitar with four strings on it. That was how it was growing up. ALICE COOPER was probably one of my first albums as a kid. Scared the hell out of me! I thought 'WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE' was the meanest cover of them all. I've played in jazz ensembles all the way through high school and played saxophone also. I tried playing as many instruments as possible. I've been in rock bands since the age of eleven and here I am now and I love these guys.
You guys sound like you have these really strong musical backgrounds. Is it always easy just contributing 25% to a song?
ERICK: We tend to agree on most of our choices as a band and what that does for us is it makes us feel like the song is ours. I think I speak for everyone in the band when I say there is not a single song on the album that each member doesn't think is theirs. We're all a part of it. It's not just one guy over here writing all of the music and three other guys playing his tunes. I think we all feel that we have a certain investment.
It surprised me a little when you guys stated that this was a concept album. I really didn't listen to it as such.
ERICK: It's a looser concept. Most of the record lyrically kind of points in the direction of a loss of innocence. The album points in that general direction with the songs. It's not a concept album in the way that THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST is.
What tracks stand out for on BURN THIS and why?
ERICK: For me, I would have to say that 'SIDE OF ME' is my favorite. It's the best song that I ever had the pleasure of writing. 'DISASTER' is a good one too. I think it's a song that sticks in people's heads. It's really neat to have a song and play a show and hear the crowd going crazy over the song and relating to it.
GREG: I've got a connection with all of the songs. They're a lot of fun to play. It's hard to pick just one song for me but if I had to pick one, it would have to be 'LOST', just for the sheer energy of it. Lyrically, I think it says alot and it's a real cool story.
ROBIN: It's hard for me because I could name off a whole bunch of songs. 'SIDE OF ME' and 'LOST' both really stand out for me. 'NINTH FLOOR', which is the last track on the album is especially heart-wrenching for me. It wraps up the story of the album very, very well and having a string quartet come into the studio was great. Every song tells story that it part of a larger theme, so it's hard for me to pick just one song. It's a great album! I love it!
JEREMY: I agree with ROBIN on a lot of things. This album is the best project that I've ever worked on. 'NINTH FLOOR' has to be one of the greatest accomplishments that I have ever been involved with. The production on it and everything that we were able to do with that song is phenomenal to me. Lyrically, it's just amazing. It's a great bunch of musicians that I'm working with here and it's just a great privilege to be in this band.
How long did it take putting the album together in the studio?
ROBIN: We actually started working with some other producers in the beginning. STEPHEN PERKINS did some amazing work in pre-production. We also worked with TOMMY D who had worked with SNOOP DOGG and TUPAC SHAKUR. We've got a really nice R&B hip-hop style feel to a lot of the percussion on this CD. We did a lot of work in pre-production before we decided what studio we were going to go into to record this monster. We went to work with TOM TATMAN at CATAMOUNT STUDIOS in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It's a little diamond-in-the-rough studio out there. It's a beautiful studio out there that a lot of people don't really know about. He worked with him on this album for nine months, so we were there for a long, long time recording. There were no shortcuts on this album. It was a full budget production on everything.
It doesn't look like there were any shortcuts. Interesting cover!
ROBIN: We worked with a graphic designer company for the CD cover. They wanted all the information on what the album was about, which about innocence lost and they came up with the idea of broken toys for the cover.
What would you like a person to come away with after they've heard this CD?
ERICK: I would like people to listen to this CD, hear the lyrics, and get the songs stuck in their head and really relate to it. Sometimes it's painful stuff, and sometimes it's nostalgic stuff, but I'd like for people to listen to this CD and think that they've been there.