Interview With Bill Leverty Of Firehouse

Sherry Boylan Acoustic 600x600
Bill Leverty

IN THE BEGINNING
I am from Richmond, Virginia and the son of a great set of parents who gave me my 1st guitar at the age of four. Big mistake! I fell in love with the guitar but we broke-up for a while when I found the sport of diving. By the age of ten I was Virginia State Diving Champion. I then left the diving board for ice hockey (the greatest sport of all time).
GO RED WINGS! The guitar came back into my life at the age of 15 and won my heart over. I still love ice hockey and play a couple times a week but I don’t tell my guitar! My first guitar lesson was in the 8th grade. I took a guitar course in school where the teacher taught us basic guitar chords. It was a one hour lesson, once a week for 6 weeks. I was hooked! I went on to take music theory in high school. That was the best course I ever took in school.
Some of my influences are Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, Carlos Montoya, Rare Earth, Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Kiss, Michael Schenker, UFO, Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Outlaws, Allman Brothers, Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs, Pat Travers, Eddie Van Halen, Al Dimeola, Allan Holdsworth, Scorpions, Randy Rhodes, Warren DeMartini and Ratt, George Lynch, Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Carlos Santana, Neal Schon, and (my favorite guitarist of all time) Jeff Beck.

THE NEXT LEVEL
My history with FireHouse begins when my band White Heat needed a drummer. We auditioned at least twenty guys. Finally Michael Foster answered the ad in the paper and showed up at our rehearsal room. I remember he had a really ugly green drum set but he could sing REALLY well and he had a GREAT groove. His first song to audition was Say What You Will by Fastway which has a swing feel and he just SLAMMED it! What really impressed me was his ability to sing and play drums at the same time. He was given a song list of the 35 songs we were playing at the time, and when he came back the next night he knew them all perfectly with harmony parts nailed! He obviously got the gig. That was in 1984.
Michael and I used to go out to the rock clubs when we weren’t playing gigs. One night we saw this band called Maxx Warrior. Their singer, CJ Snare, and a bass player, Perry Richardson, both blew us away. CJ and Perry sang so well together I just remember thinking, “Wow! If Mike and I could work with those two guys we’d be a really strong four piece band.”
Over time Maxx Warrior broke-up. I sent CJ some songs that I had written and asked him to sing on our tape. He just tore it up. We did a show in
Virginia with him as our singer a few weeks later and I’ll never forget him telling me that after performing live with us that he felt like this was the right band for him. I told him that I knew that he was the right singer for me and I thought we could make it in the music business together. I couldn’t believe what a great voice he had. I am still amazed to this day at his song writing ability and clever musicianship, and of course his pipes! CJ is also a great piano player.
After we had a tape with CJ’s voice on it we took it to Perry. He really liked it, but had promised the band that he was in at the time that he’d complete 6 months of gigs. We just said, “We’re coming to get you when that 6 months is up!” We sold our P.A. system, moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and started recording demos in my bedroom. Our band house had a basement where we would mic the drums and guitar speakers, run the mic cables through the air conditioning ducts into my room, and record all day. We’d play hotel gigs at night to make money to pay the rent and bills.

THE NEXT LEVEL
One night in December of 1989 a guy named Michael Caplan, Epic Records VP of A&R, flew down from New York to see our gig. He told me after the show, “You guys are ready for a record deal.” I said, “Well it’s about time!” Michael didn’t want to change us at all. He saw our vision, and I’m forever grateful to him for giving me my first chance in the big league. We went right into the studio with David Prater (Dream Theater) as our producer. I learned quite a bit from Prater and I think he did a great job on our CDs FireHouse and Hold Your Fire. He’s a genius with outstanding musical talent who used to play drums with Santana. When the CD was completed we finally signed the record deal with Sony. We  on the American Music Award for Best New Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Band of 1991, Metal Edge Magazine’s Best New Band of 1991, Young Guitar Magazine’s Best Newcomer of 1991, and Music Life Magazine’s reader’s pop poll Best Newcomer of the Year 1992. Our first album, FireHouse, sold over 2 million copies, while our song Love of a Lifetime sold over 500,000 singles reaching #5 and Don’t Treat Me Bad went to #14. Our Second album, Hold Your Fire, sold almost 1 million copies to date with Reach For The Sky getting into the top 20 and When I Look Into Your Eyes reaching #7.
We changed producers for the next CD FireHouse 3. We used Ron Nevison, who is famous for producing and engineering Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, Damn Yankees, UFO, Michael Schenker, Vince Neil, and others. He gave us more of a live feel. I learned quite a bit from Ron. He’s a world class producer. FireHouse 3 enjoyed more success overseas than we’d ever had. We went gold in several countries in Asia enabling us to take our music around the world. Our 4th CD was produced by me. It was the first FireHouse album that I got to produce. It’s called Good Acoustics and we used our favorite engineer in the world, Mark Severns. At the time, Mark was teaching advanced audio recording and mixing at The Full Sail College in Orlando, FL. He is extremely well respected in the industry and very musical as well. He is also a great guitar player so we instantly hit it off. We had some of our greatest  success stories overseas with Good Acoustics going gold in 6 countries. I produced our 5th album, CATEGORY 5. We started recording it in the spring of 1998. It’s a very diverse album for us, and it shows us stretching our musical wings a bit. We went to Japan in 1999 for an amazing tour. Pony Canyon suggested that we record a show so that we could have a live album. We agreed and the result is Bring ’em Out Live, our first ever live album recorded one night in Osaka, Japan.
In 2000 I produced and engineered our 7th album O2. This album has been called our best album ever by fans and critics from all over the world. It’s a return to our melodic hard rock roots with a 21st century twist. As a result of musical and personal differences we decided to part company with Perry Richardson. We found an extremely  ccomplished bassist/vocalist named Bruce Waibel who fit our band perfectly. Bruce had previously played in The Gregg Allman Band for over 10 years, recording on the I’m No Angel and Just Before The Bullets Fly albums. He also toured with The Marshall Tucker Band for 5 years while Gregg was not on the road. I had a great time recording and touring with Bruce, but he departed FireHouse and about a year later, he tragically passed away. FireHouse released Prime Time in 2003. I engineered, produced, mixed, and mastered this album. We had a great time writing and recording it and you can hear that vibe in the music. Everyone went the extra mile to ake this recording the best it could possibly be. Michael’s drumming is the best I’ve ever heard him play. He ever takes the vocal on one track for the first time ever and he did an awesome job.
CJ’s voice is as amazing as ever. The press gave the album great reviews. We followed in 2011 with our next release Full Circle. For years we have been wanting to go back to rerecord many of our favorite FireHouse songs in an up-to-date style. Finally the timing was right and everything fell into place for us to do just that. There are eleven tracks on Full Circle and we hope you enjoy every single one of them as much as we did recording them.
O2 also featured my vocal debut on track #7 I’m In Love This Time. I got some good feedback on that song and since then I’ve written more songs
that fit my voice. You can hear two of them on the FireHouse CD Prime Time which was released in September 2003. In 2004 I released my first side project Wanderlust. The album received wonderful reviews from both critics and fans. I am very grateful for the overwhelmingly positive reaction.
In December of 2007 I released my first instrumental album Southern Exposure. I played all of the instruments except drums, as I was able to bring in Michael Foster for his amazing drumming talent. The album has received many great reviews. I plan on going out and playing these  songs in music stores around the world as I do clinics to demonstrate various gear that I play. Please join my Mailing List so I can send you the
latest clinic tour dates. In June of 2009 I released my first album of cover tunes. After finishing the album I realized that all of the songs had originated in the Southern United States, so I named the album Deep South after an amazing piece of artwork that my Grandfather, William G. Leverty, had created called Deep South. The music is very diverse and most of the songs were written in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I’m playing a lot of instruments on this album that I had never recorded before. You can hear some sound clips on the Deep South page. I hope you enjoy the music!
In 2013, I released an album of classic cover tunes that influenced and inspired me in my youth. The album is called DRIVE. I thought it would be a great learning experience for me to go back to the songs that made me want to become a musician. I learned from not only the greatest artists and songwriters of all time, but also from the producers and engineers who made these timeless recordings. Some of these songs were number one hits, and some were songs that were so important to me in my formative years that I HAD to put them on this album. The result is an
album that will show you how I started. I hope you enjoy the DRIVE. > >
After the release of DRIVE, I ve been very busy working with other artists as an engineer, mix engineer, producer and vocalist on their songs. I ve also been working on my fifth solo album. I ve decided to release each song as soon as it s finished. After I finish enough songs to make an album, I ll release the album; but, in the meantime, you can keep up with my progress by getting the singles.I hope you’ll check them out on iTunes,  Amazon, and CDBaby.
FAMILY
I found my soul mate on a hot summer’s night in 1995. When I first saw her I got weak in the knees and my heart started beating like it never had before. We fell madly in love and got married in April 1996. Her name is Kris. She’s my best friend in the world and I can’t believe I was able to get her phone number that night. We had our first child, Dabney, in November of 2001. She’s a gift from God. Every time I look at her, I see God. Kris and I are truly blessed to have such a wonderful daughter. My wife, daughter, and all of my family truly are my love of a lifetime.

Mick James

Mick James is a noted song writer, producer/engineer, musician and actor. He is most widely known for the music included in the hit television show Criss Angel Mindfreak.
The highly recognizable “Mind Freak Theme” song was originally written by Micky James/Criss Angel and produced by both Micky and Jonathan Davis (KORN). Micky’s haunting, enchanting melodies have added an extra element of suspense to the show’s illusion for all 6 seasons. Micky has also created music from 2009 to present for the Criss Angel/Cirque Du Soleil Vegas show “Believe”. Micky work with Criss was 1st showcased in the 2003 Criss Angel Supernatural special shown on the Sci Fi channel and the 2004 Criss Angel Made in Japan special that aired in Japan.1.MJID CD COVER FINAL
Micky’s other credits include: Mel B Its a scary world, Giuliana and Bill, Carman Electra’s NWWL show (2007). On demand pay per view, Super bowl (2010), REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MIAMI 2013 (Bravo), CBS NFL Pre games (2010/To Present). Jets Play off game on CBS (2011/To Present). March Madness NCAA (2011/To Present) on CBS, MTV Cribs, & Teen Cribs, 10 on top (MTV), CMTV Cribs, VH1 That Metal Show
(2010/11/To Present). Being Liverpool (FOX TV), CATFISH THE TV SHOW 2013 (MTV), WWE, HBO, Criss Angel Biography on A&E, The American Country Awards, The Tyra Banks Show, Phenomenon on NBC, Basketball on CSTV, Entertainment Tonight, Parenthood on NBC, Dirty Money, Hell Roads, Secretly pregnant on Discovery channel. The Magic Place (Criss Angel’s new Web network.
Micky owns his own studio called Freedom of Speech Recording Studio located in New York, where he currently records and produces. Micky has designed his own signature series of guitars & basses for Carparelli Guitars. Named the “Levitation 7” that produce a certain unique sound for guitarists who are seeking something a little different. The guitars he designs are also very visually distinctive from any other guitars now on the
market.
Micky proudly uses and endorses Ampeg bass Amps, Marshall Guitar Amps, Vox Guitar Amps, Korg Keyboards & software, Carparelli Guitars, DR Strings, IN Tune Guitar Picks, Focusrite Recording Gear, Cad Microphones, GMS Custom Drums, Snap Jack Cables, Pigtronix Effects boxes, Waldorf software, Wallander Instruments software, Softube plugins, Sample Logic Software and FXpansion software. Megatone Pedals, &
Amplisonic Amplifiers…
Currently, Micky has a full plate set for 2014, including the release of his 1st solo CD, the development of a feature movie, & touring. So stay tuned!

Song Info:
“SPEEDING LIKE A FIEND” Written & performed by Mick James featuring Dave Snake Sabo © 2013
ASACP Micky James IPI# 345954827 FREEDOM OF SPEECH WORLD WIDE PUBLISHING Publisher IPI# 510971177
“I DONT FIGHT FAIR” Written & performed by Mick James © 2013 ASACP Micky James IPI#345954827

FREEDOM OF SPEECH WORLD WIDE PUBLISHING Publisher IPI# 510971177
“GUESS WHAT YOU’RE DEAD” Written & performed by Mick James featuring Tony Harnell © 2013
ASACP Micky James IPI# 345954827 FREEDOM OF SPEECH WORLD WIDE PUBLISHING Publisher IPI#510971177
This the 4th Mp3 – (Wake Up) Dead and Gone (Am I Forgotten) Written & Performed by Mick James (c 2013 ASACP Micky James IPI#345954827

Freedom of Speech World Wide Publishing Publisher IPI# 510971177
Facebook: Micky James Official Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/MickJamesOfficialFanPage?ref=mf
Twitter:
Personal: http://www.twitter.com/Mickjamesbitch
Business: http://www.twitter.com/MickJamesMusic
YouTube: Mick James Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/MickyJamesFOS/featured
Speeding Like A Fiend Music Video/Movie Teaser – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iDpHzRPflg
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/mickjamesisdead?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav
Official Online Store: http://www.squareup.com/market/sj-management-group-llc
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mickjamesisdead
Website: http://www.mickjamesisdead.com

Janice Sweet

Janice Sweet is best known as Strypermom. Someone gave her that name in
1984 and it stuck. She has a story to tell, one that will shock and
amaze you. She has worn many hats in her lifetime aside from being a
mother, a grandmother and the former manager of Stryper from 1984-1992.
She is currently finishing up her autobiography which will be a
revelation to many people. This interview will give you a brief sample
of what is to be revealed in the future.She has been “Earning Her
Stripes” all her life.

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Ed Roman

Interview with Ed Roman
By Jim Madonna

Right out of the gate, with his freshman release in 2000, Special Ed and The Musically Challenged, Ed Roman defined his paradigm with inventive, infectious tunes that shook one’s marrow and stirred the spirit…This guy is unique! Three follow-up releases with SEMC continued to mesmerize and astonish, with music that both kissed and prodded, seduced and challenged, hypnotized and enlightened…
In May 2011, Ed released his solo venture, Oracles and Ice Cream, and has never looked back. It is 22 tracks that are an amazing marvel of songwriting wizardry, prodigious performances and contagious energy, with the mystery and magic of a lucid, tantalizing dream. The music both traverses and convenes broad music styles into the consummate collective of penetrating rhythms and canyon-wide harmonic explorations, glazed with lyrics that are both poignant and whimsical.

Photo For Interview

Now, in 2014, with Letters from High Latitudes, (an homage to his Ontario, Canada home) Ed Roman has done it again, creating an earthy, funky and magical mix of music to seduce the listeners’ ears! The album has garnered both critical acclaim and radio airplay on more than 100 AM/FM stations across North America, earning Ed airplay chart recognition on the Hit Tracks Top 100 and CMG Radio charts, and a 2014 Artists In Music Awards nomination and a 2014 AMG Heritage Awards nomination.
An accomplished musician, Ed performs 90 percent of the instruments on his album, recording drums, bass, guitars, organ, vocals and even sitar! The sound is rounded out with help from some of the top Canadian session musicians like Dave Patel on drums (Sass Jordan) and Mike Freedman on electric guitars (Tia Brazda.) Sit back, get mellow and listen to this truly skillful musician weave a tapestry of enchantment from an eclectic
fabric of musical styles.
One can never get too comfortable however, as Ed will undoubtedly prompt the listener to examine their world and stimulate them to make it better! Ed asks us everyone to glimpse the world from his vantage point, offering up his vision and sometimes helping to point out the areas that need tidying. Like the janitor of conscience, he’ll frequently show the cobwebs and sweep the dirt from the corners of one’s perspective. The listener is left uplifted, invigorated and enriched by dewy new jewels of insight and permeated by a mosaic of musical mayhem. Funky, ethereal, grungy, luscious, rowdy, serene, provocative, clever, insightful and uniquely exhilarating, Ed Roman’s marvelous musings drop dollops of tasteful delight through our ears to our hearts. You can’t help but dance. You can’t help but smile.

Daren Short

Interview with Daren Short Of Rok Hollywood
By Jim Madonna

Rox Hollywood
Daren Short

About
Rok Hollywood Fans
Biography
Bands we have played with: Motley Crue ~ Cinderella ~ Poison/Bret Michaels Band (6) ~ Def Leppard (3) ~ Skid Row ~ RATT ~ Warrant ~ Iron Maiden ~ Alice Cooper ~ Dokken ~ Kip Winger ~ LA Guns (2) ~ Cheap Trick ~ Great White ~ Naked Beggars (featuring Eric Brittingham and Jeff LaBar from Cinderella) ~ Faster Pussycat (2) ~ New York Dolls ~ Lynryd Skynryd ~ 3 Doors Down ~ 38 Special ~ Heart ~ Bang Tango ~ Shooter Jennings ~ Neil Wharton (Vince Neil’s son) ~ LoveHammers ~ The Erotics ~ Asphalt Valentine ~ Marq Torien (Bullet Boys) ~ Black Stone Cherry ~ Endeverafter

Venues we have played:

The Whisky – Hollywood, Ca.
King of Clubs – Nashville, Tn.
Verizon Wireless Music Center – Noblesville, In.
Piere’s – Ft. Wayne, In.
Phoenix Hill – Louisville, Ky.
The Music Mill – Indianapolis, In.
8 Seconds Saloon – Indianapolis, In.
Lees Theater – Anderson, In.
Riverstar Entertainment Complex – Cincinnati, Oh
Rick’s Theater – Greenfield, In.
Artists We Also Like
Van Halen, Cinderella, Def Leppard, KISS, Poison, Pretty Boy Floyd, Dokken, Skid Row, Stryper, Firehouse, Ratt, Faster Pussycat, Warrant, Motley Crue

Photo

https://www.facebook.com/RokHollywoodFans
http://www.reverbnation.com/rokhollywood
http://www.youtube.com/RokHollywood
http://www.facebook.com/RokHollywood
http://www.facebook.com/RokHollywoodFans
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/rok-hollywo…
http://www.myspace.com/rokhollywood
http://www.twitter.com/rokhollywood
http://pollstar.com/resultsArtist.aspx?I…
http://www.purevolume.com/RokHollywood
http://www.last.fm/music/Rok+Hollywood

Scotty Dunbar

Interview With Scotty Dunbar
By Jim Madonna

Boston rocker Scotty Dunbar has issued a new single, which is now available for purchase via iTunes and Amazon. The single is one of five newly recorded solo tracks that Dunbar will release individually over the next six months or so. Dunbar states: I chose to go with the cover of 20th  Century Boy as the first single to be released as my solo band and I have covered this song many times live. We also had such a blast recording it. 20th Century Boy features Dunbar on vocals, Izzy Rock on drums, Jason JC Cornwell on bass and Peter Tentindo on guitar. The song was mixed  and mastered by: Kenny Lewis at Mixed Emotions Studio in Middleton, MA. Dunbar is also the lead vocalist of the group D.M.K. This past December D.M.K. released a Christmas single Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Which was mastered by. Mark Slaughter of Slaughter The song peaked at 2 on Amazon’s Top 100 Hot New Releases Chart and also remained on the charts for the entire month of December. D.M.K.are set to begin recording a EP the first week of Febuary. The band will also begin a US tour in the spring of 2015. The tour is scheduled to kick off on April
2nd at the world famous Whisky A Go Go in W.Hollywood, CA and will be serving as the support act that night to: Michael Sweet of Stryper and Mike Tramp of White Lion.

iTunes & Amazon purchase links:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00S27X28U
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/scotty-dunbar/id503451682
www.reverbnation.com/scottydunbar
www.facebook.com/scottdunbar
email: scottydunbarmusic@yahoo.com

Hicks

Interview With HICKS
By Jim Madonna

Well, I would ask him about his new single, “Hayride.” Ask him about the inspiration behind it, the writing process, the recording, etc.

Then, I would ask him about his recent nomination for the British CMA awards, as Euro Act of the Year, which he won last year. He’s also had some other nominations recently.

Then, I would bring up that he wrote some songs for the late, great, Jimi Jamison..and talk about that whole thing, and his going from writing rock material to country. That should get you started. lol. There’s a lot of stuff on the bio..just pick and choose. He’s an easy intervew.

What if I listened to all the “experts” that told me…
-You’re too old
-Don’t write country songs
-Radio will never play your songs
-There’s no audience for that
-Sure you can sing and your songs are great but it will never work
-Quit… Don’t go there… Are you crazy

Then I never would have…
-Been invited to play and represent Sweden at the CMA Fest in Nashville
-Won “Favorite Country Group” at IMN Country Music Awards
-Been nominated for “Best International Artist” and “Video Of The Year” at ICoMA Country Music Awards (2013)
-Had My songs played on thousands of radio stations all around the world
-Done radio and TV interviews in Italy, France, England, Ireland, Australia, USA, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Germany…
-Been nominated for “Song Of The Year” and “Video Of the Year” at Nashville Universe Awards
-Been “Artist Of The Month” on Sky TV in UK
-Play at country festivals in the USA, France, Sweden…
-Got fans from all corners of the world
-Been nominated again at ICoMA Country Music Awards for “Best International Country Artist” “Song Of The Year” (Hayride) and “Video Of The Year” (Unreachable Dream) 2014
-Been invited to play at BCMA in London 2014
-Received 3 Nominations at 2014 International Music and Entertainment Awards
-And… The biggest thing of all…. winning “Best European Country Act Of The Year” at The British CMA in London. (2013)

Good thing I didn’t listen to anybody else but myself!

Hicks (Miqael Persson) is an accomplished songwriter from the south of Sweden, with multiple Gold and Platinum records to his credit. His rock-edged songs have been recorded by artists like Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Giant (Dann Huff), Bobby Kimball (Toto), Little River Band, W.E.T. (Featuring Jeff Scott Soto), Grammy nominated Toby Hitchcock and Grammy winner, Barbados. He has also written with Nashville heavy-hitters like Anthony Smith, Dallas Rogers, Dennis Morgan and Sharon Vaughn. In late June 2014, “Hayride” became his first official US radio single release on MTS Records. It is currently climbing the New Music Weekly and Music Row country airplay charts, with the video reaching the Top 3 on Yallwire.com.

Hicks - Truck1

www.hickscountry.com

You can download his entire album at https://app.box.com/s/8ogcuo1gtpy1ro3l0ddg Be sure to play “Hayride,” for sure.

His links are:

www.hickscountry.com
www.facebook.com/hickscountry
www.twitter.com/hickscountry
www.youtube.com/hickscountry

Letters To The Blind

Interview With Blaine Gordin And Chaz Bond Of Letters To The Blind By Jim Madonna   The Story of LETTERS

Crystal Ball

Interview With Scott Leach Of Crystal Ball
By Jim Madonna

CRYSTAL BALL is back and stronger than ever! «Dawnbreaker» is the title of the new CRYSTAL BALL Album. After a creative break with some line-up changes, the original members Scott Leach and Marcel Sardella reformed CRYSTAL BALL with fresh blood and a great new frontman, Steven Mageney from Wuppertal, Germany. Steven is a experienced singer and the perfect match for the new CRYSTAL BALL sound. «Dawnbreaker» brought CRYSTAL BALL back to the top of the Hard Rock map. Successful Tours with the mighty KROKUS and the swedish
rockers THE POODLES followed.
Imagine: the band started in 1995 as a cover band (named «Cherry Pie»winking. These years of stage experiences became the foundation of CRYSTAL BALL, under whose banner the band became one of Europe´s major forces in the Hard Rock genre. Tentatively entitled «In The Beginning» CRYSTAL BALL started their crusade in 1999. The first album was very successful, but topped with ease from the follow-up «Hard Impact», hailed album of the months in several magazines. Immediately tour plans came up, realised by supporting Pretty Maids and Gotthard. Nobody was able to hide from CRYSTAL BALL. The result: a new record contract with Nuclear Blast. With «Virtual Empire» CRYSTAL BALL showed up more varied but still traditional and melodic in 2002. The band massively toured Europe, together first with Dokken, then with U.D.O., Doro and Krokus. The special humour of CRYSTAL BALL shone through in 2003 with «HELLvetia», the fourth album. «HELLvetia», produced by
U.D.O./former Accept member Stefan Kaufmann, who CRYSTAL BALL met on their tour with U.D.O., became a more edgy effort and increased the
success of CRYSTAL BALL enormously. It was the band´s return from the slightly experimental «Virtual Empire» to the old style.
Successful tours with Axxis, Pink Cream 69 and Krokus saw CRYSTAL BALL increase their fan following again.
«Timewalker» continued in the tradition of delivering great catchy songs full of freshness and power. Once again produced by Kaufmann the album displayed the exceptional class of CRYSTAL BALL. The band´s very first headliner tour with then-labelmates Thunderstone followed the release in 2005. 2007 CRYSTAL BALL inked a new record deal with AFM Records. «Secrets» was their sixth album, a great piece of Hard Rock, put together by professionals. The album was recorded and produced by Michael Bormann and mixed by Achim Köhler (Primal Fear, Brainstorm and others).

Crystal Ball

LINKS

http://www.crystal-ball.ch
https://www.facebook.com/crystalballrocks
https://twitter.com/crystalballrock
http://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialCrystalBall
https://www.reverbnation.com/crystalball7
https://myspace.com/crystalballrock
http://instagram.com/crystalballrocks

James Steele

Interview with James Steele
By Jim Madonna


James Steele is a rock singer, guitarist and songwriter who has fronted numerous bands both in San Diego and Los Angeles including Anvil, Bad Boys, American Steel, Nemesis, and most recently Pale Black. “My influences are the great bands of the 70s and 80s,” states Steele. “I learned guitar by playing along with recordings of Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Rainbow… the classics!”
Steele began as a guitarist, playing in the same San Diego metal circuit that produced Jake E. Lee, Craig Goldie and Warren DeMartini among others. During this time, Steele’s band, American Steel, had to replace their singer, and after many fruitless auditions it was decided that Steele would assume the lead vocal duties as well as guitar. American Steel became a three-piece band in the pattern of Rush and Zebra. With Steele as the principal songwriter, the band garnered critical acclaim. One of the band’s songs, “Everchanging Wind,” received regional airplay and prompted San Diego Union music critic, Thomas K. Arnold, to liken it to “some of the greatest rock ballads ever… like Aerosmith’s Dream On…”
Despite a promising start and seemingly bright future, fate struck. Four songs into the recording sessions for American Steel’s debut album, the band’s investor declared bankruptcy. “I’ll never forget that day,” remembers Steele. “It was turning out better than we could have hoped for—and then Alice called.” Alice, the band’s financial backer, phoned the studio and informed the band there was no money for the session and to pull the plug immediately. The band was devastated. Devastation, however, was soon replaced with euphoria. Shortly after the aborted sessions, American Steel’s ill-fated album (which had now become a “four-song demo”) attracted the interest of an A&R rep at Chrysalis Records who was “knocked on her ass” by what she’d heard and wanted to sign the band. Two weeks later, she was let go by Chrysalis, and the band was told any representations she had made to them were done so without the label’s authority. Euphoria had now become depression. American Steel disintegrated soon  afterward. “The unfortunate timing of those events took a toll,” laments Steele. “We were young, and none of us possessed the emotional maturity to deal with those setbacks at the time.”
After American Steel broke up, Steele took a break from the rock and roll business. He completed an Associate of Music degree with honors, and went to work for a major video production company. Over the years he had immersed himself in the then-blossoming field of computer-based digital audio recording, beginning with the first IBM PC, and culminating with the modern Macintosh workstations of today. Steele soon found  himself in demand as a sound designer and composer for film and video productions, producing soundtracks for clients like the San Diego Zoo, Anthony Robbins, The LaJolla Cancer Research Foundation, and many others. He also founded and still maintains MOTUNation.com, a internationally known internet forum for users of Macintoshbased digital audio workstations by Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU). It is the largest of its kind with over 33,000 registered members. Although Steele had become a successful video composer and session vocalist, rock and roll still beckoned. With the end of his five-year marriage, he felt a renewed need to express himself musically and decided to pick up his rock music career where he had left off. To get his voice back into shape, he sang with a number of local cover bands including Purple Rising, a tribute to Deep Purple and Rainbow. “I remember when they called me—they said it’s no big deal, just an hour-long set,” laughs Steele. “but these were all songs sung by greats like Ian Gillan and Ronnie James Dio. Man, it was tough! But it’s fun to sing ‘Child In Time’ and hear people go nuts!”
Soon Steele decided to start his own band called Pale Black. His vision was to assemble the best talent he could find in San Diego and put on a show and image that paid unashamed homage to arena rock. A Pale Black show meant a huge sound system, drum riser, Marshall stacks, the big look. “I was tired of going to clubs and seeing tired old guys playing ‘Hard to Handle’ for the millionth time through dilapidated combo amps propped up on bar stools, drunk and just going through the motions,” says Steele. “I wanted to prove something, and I’m proud to say Pale Black made the point better than I had hoped—we raised the bar.”
After rising to the top of the scene in just one short year, the time demands of a working cover band made the transition to original material difficult and Steele’s “plan” was beginning to unravel. A dispute within the band over excessive stage volume became acute. “It had become unbearably loud on stage” recalls Steele, “I was having to push night after night to hear myself sing, and certain members refused to budge. Rather than risk permanent damage to my voice or replace members, I shut down Pale Black. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.”
The end of Pale Black, however, proved to be the proverbial “blessing in disguise.” For the first time in years, Steele was able focus on his original material without compromise or distraction and soon began writing material for his first solo CD. Upon hearing one of his new songs, a friend passed it to a contact at Dean Guitars who was impressed enough to make Steele an official endorsed artist. Steele currently appears on the Dean Artist page at the Dean Guitars website and has been featured in the Dean Guitars print catalog. The Dean Guitars endorsement and the accompanying credibility also created opportunities to work with some well-known musicians including guitarist Brad Gillis of Night Ranger who contributed a blistering guitar solo on the single “Can It Be The Same” (currently receiving solid 5-star reviews on iTunes) as well as legendary bassist, Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big, who lent his talents to a standout track of the upcoming CD—a secret remake of a 70s era song that Steele had wanted to cover for years. “Without a doubt, the highlight of my music career thus far has been the opportunity to work with amazing musicians like Brad and Billy,” exclaims Steele, “They are also two of the nicest, most gracious human beings…
I feel blessed to have met them, let alone worked with them.” As the release of his first solo CD nears, Steele has been gratified by a tremendous groundswell of interest. Thousands of fans are subscribed to his email list and over 54,000 fans combined have added his official MySpace and
Facebook pages. Steele begins each day answering fan emails and fulfilling requests for autographed photos from around the world. “It’s a lot of work,” says Steele, “but if a musician ever loses his sense of humility and gratitude to the people who make his art possible, it’s time to quit.”

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