All posts by limelightmagazine

NEGB1 promotes local music and beyond


 “There are unknown musicians everywhere and we want to give them a place that plays their music,” said Jeff Royds, founder and owner of, an online radio station that mainly streams music by local, unsigned artists. “Other sites are good, but they also mix in famous rock stars and rappers, so local music gets lost in the shuffle. At NEGB1, you’re going to find local music no matter what.”

Since 2007, Royds, along with a handful of volunteer staff members, including his wife of two years, Cassandra, have been helping local acts all of genres by playing their music. Royds is happy to report that NEGB1, formerly known as Boston Garage Bands, as well as New England Garage Bands, continues to expand and now promotes music from unsigned bands across the globe.

Operated by EA Kroll Productions, NEGB1also helps promote music through their social networking site, which allows bands and musicians to create a free online profile they can use to interact with other bands, promoters, club owners, as well as list upcoming shows, send event invitations, post blogs, photos, plus upload music and videos. They are consistentlygrowing in memberships, said Royds, with more than 20,000 people visiting NEGB1 per day.

If acts choose, they can subscribe to a lifetime membership for $50 or $35 for a year.

Those who register for premium profiles, of course, receive more perks.

While premium members may upload as many songs as they please, plus keep 100 percent of the profit they earn from sales, non-premium members may upload 10 songs and are obligated to pay a 30 percent surcharge on all music sales.

Also, lifetime members save 6.25 percent each time they shop at the Music Go Round, a used music store in Natick, just for singing up.

That’s not all. Each month, NEGB1 makes a compilation CD of premium member music and submits it to the programming department of SiriusXM satellite radio, further promoting the music. Additionally, lifetime memberships carry over if a band breaks up and then reunites.

“We really push our premium members,” said Royds. “It’s kind of an incentive to help us pay our bills.”

To generate funds, NEGB1 holds an annual T-shirt drive. T-shirts are always available, however, the staff encourages sales this time of year and offers special deals to make people more aware of the website. T-shirts are $20 a piece with free shipping and can be purchased at

Though few and far between, the station also gains revenue via advertisements placed by local bands and musicians.

“If you put up too many ads, it becomes MySpace,” Royds said. “Facebook is doing the same thing. It takes away from the music and the bands.”

Moreover, NEGB1, which operates out of Massachusetts, hosts a live pod cast interview show, Behind the Scenes, every Wednesday at 7 p.m. During the show, Royds invites a local act to the studio and musicians play tracks from their albums and perform a few live songs.

“I’ve always been a big bonus-features type of guy and if I know more about the bands, I tend to like them more,” he said. Most recently, Royds got the opportunity to interview Artie Kornfeld, a co-organizer of the original Woodstock.

Additionally, Royds holds a local top 20 count down on the last Friday of each month. This allows listeners to suggest their favorite local songs.

“It gets people more involved and gets the musicians promoting their music a little bit more,” said Royds.

The task of downloading a special player or subscribing is not required, said Royds, as fans can listen from any CPU, smart phone, iPod Touch or iPad 24-hours a day, seven days a week at

Fans can also play the NEGB1 video game for free. It’s similar to Guitar Hero in the sense that notes flash across the screen and a player must hit the correct keys to complete a song and advance to the next level.

In the game, which was designed by Becker College students, players must successfully perform at four venues, including a garage, small club, big club and an arena, before quality to gig on the White House lawn.

“It’s pretty cool,” Royds said.

But, Royds has a real Battle of the Band contest in the works. The final round of a five round tournament is set for August 18 at The Raven in Worcester from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For a $5 admission, fans will get to see seven bands compete for more than $4,000 worth of cash and prizes.

In addition to operating NEGB1, Royds, who was named one of Pulse Magazine’s Top 10 Most People to Watch for 2010, is the former vocalist and guitarist for the dissolved local rock band, Bullethead. The band performed their last show June 2 at Uncle Eddie’s in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts.

Now, he fronts a Johnny Cash tribute band, A Boy Named Sue, along with a few members of Bullethead, with his wife singing the female parts.

Royds also is coping with a battle of his own, as he recently underwent surgery to remove thyroid cancer. Still, it’s not impacting his spirit.

“Life doesn’t have to slow down just because you’re sick,” he said.

Also, he’s both touched and humbled that his friends have reached out and created an online fundraiser for him, as he’ll be out of work for the next few weeks recovering without pay. He’s especially thankful to Ray Auger, the co-host for NEBG1’s local top 20 and frontman for Whiskey Bent, as well as Patrick Parkinson of the band Center Link.

“I was embarrassed at first because I never wanted to accept handouts but it shows me that they appreciate what I’m doing for the local music scene,” said Royds, a father of five who works full-time. “I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten over the past few weeks since I made it public. It’s an amazing thing and I’m moved beyond belief for all the support.”

To make a donation, visit If bands or musicians are interested in appearing on Behind the Scenes, e-mail Royds at For more information about NEGB1 visit

The Flower Kings set to sprout through Europe this fall

The Flower Kings


After taking a five-year break between recording studio albums, the progressive rock band The Flower Kings recently released a new album, Banks of Eden, and Roine Stolt, the band’s founder, vocalist and guitarist, says it’s in full bloom. Also, the seeds have been planted for a 30-date European tour, which will blossom in September.

Stolt says the hiatus was necessary to recharge the band’s batteries and restore creative juices. It gave them the power to produce a bouquet of quality material.

“We were going on and on for years making new albums and tours and after a while you just lose without a clue why you keep doing it,” he said. “I think it is extremely important to make music for the right reason, and money, while important, shall not be the prime reason to go on. Now, we are back [and] hungry to set the TFK wheels in motion again. There is so much fun ahead of us and so much new music to be written.”

The band, which consists of Stolt, bassist Jonas Reingold, keyboardist Tomas Bodin, singer and guitarist Hasse Froberg and drummer Felix Lehrmann, began recording the album in late January at Varispeed Studios in Sweden.  It was recorded in the style of early progressive rock records, with all members playing live in one room.

“It was very important to actually play it together, just like all great bands and records from the classic era,” he said. “It’s about chemistry and interplay – a band that cannot play the music live in the studio will most certainly run into a problem once a tour comes up.”

While Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson, as well as Stick Men, played drums for several live dates with The Flower Kings in the past, the band sought a different drummer for a permanent slot in the band, as Mastelotto lives in Texas and the band is based in Sweden.

Instead, they made a more logistical choice when they hired Lehrmenn of Berlin, Germany.

“It takes only one hour to fly here from Berlin so it is all manageable,” Stolt said. “By the way, he is so much fun and a powerhouse drummer. I think it took me about five minutes to realize [Lehrmenn] is very lighthearted and passionate about his playing. He is a driven professional drummer with great confidence [and] that’s one of the things we were looking for.”

With Lehremenn on board, the band is looking forward to taking with them a vast catalog of songs on tour. Stolt promised fans will be treated to “quite a few” songs from the new album, plus “old favorites.”

“We could, of course, search for songs that are more obscure but in the end everyone is just looking for a good time,” Stolt says. “If I go see Paul McCartney, I’d rather hear him play ‘The Long and Winding Road,’ ‘Penny Lane,’ ‘Let It Be’ or ‘Live and Let Die’ than any obscure song from his vast solo material. I guess we’re just blessed to have really interesting and emotional material to play. We do not rely on a couple of single hit tunes; we rely on a multitude of rock symphonies.”

Following the tour, Stolt says he and the boys will start working on another album. He also said he sees the band doing an American tour in early 2013, with stops in Canada and Mexico. As far as anything else, he’s being a bit tight-lipped.

“The rest I’ll leave ‘open,’ as it’s more interesting to just wait and see where the music takes us,” said Stolt. “There is an awful lot of interest for the band at the moment. I can see great things happening in the near future.”

One thing Stolt is interested in talking about is the fact that the band openly embraces being categorized as a progressive rock band, as there are a lot of bands and musicians who refuse to associate with the progressive rock title.

“I’ve never thought of my music as ‘progressive’ until others said it was, but I’m OK as long as people know what the music is about,” he said. “I’d rather walk tall and be proud of being a progressive musician than hide. When people like Steve Wilson [of Porcupine Tree and Blackfield] say they were afraid of being tagged with the old prog bands I just find it sad and a bit opportunist. I’ve never made any excuses for my music or afraid to admit I once loved the music of Procol Harum, King Crimson, Yes or Genesis.  They were part of my musical upbringing, just like Hendrix, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles [and] ABBA.”

On a lighter note, he says the music, coupled with the freedom to create whatever he wants, whenever he wants, is the best part about being in The Flower Kings.

“Plus, of course, the camaraderie being a band on the road – us against the world. It’s a powerful thing being in a ‘team.’,” he said.

Get ready to wig out to ‘Hairspray’



 NEW BEDFORD – With his production of the international hit “Hairspray,” Armand Marchand, executive producer and founder of New Bedford Festival Theatre, is hoping to tease the nostalgic side of theatergoers and transport them to 1962, a year when laughter, romance, music and dancing dominated the heart of every teenager.

The production will be an exclusive seven-performance New England summer 2012 presentation by New Bedford Festival Theatre and run at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford for two consecutive weekends this July.

“If you like ‘Grease,’ you’re going to love ‘Hairspray,’” Marchand said in a recent phone interview. “It’s a hot title and the music is very upbeat. It’s like going to a big party. “People will be dancing and moving in the aisles at The Z.”

Set in Baltimore, the family friendly musical comedy tangos through the life of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with an even bigger heart, who hopes to dance on the Corny Collins T.V. Dance Show, which is based on the nationally televised show, “American Bandstand.”

After winning a spot to appear on the show, Tracy morphs from an outsider to a teen celebrity overnight and leads a revolt to dethrone the show’s Teen Queen, win the affection of the cutest guy, and help racially integrate the crowd without messing up her bob.

Infused with the era’s trendiest hairstyles, dance moves and music from a variation of genres, such as Rock ‘n’ Roll, Doo-wop and Motown, the plot speaks to diversity and the acceptance of individual differences, whether based on racial, ethnic, religious or even a person’s physical appearance, as the underdogs and stereotypical outcasts are depicted as heroes.

“If we can all dance together at the end of the day, it’s a wonderful thing,” Marchand said. “And I think a lot of people will come see the show because it’s the kind of music everyone grew up on. When I was growing up with “American Bandstand,” it made me happy, even on a day that was difficult.”

For Marchand, “Hairspray” gives him the opportunity to not only relive the era he grew up in, but also a chance to pay homage to longtime “American Bandstand” host Dick Clark, a television producer who promoted musical acts of all races and was also considered a pioneer in advancing the acceptance of racial diversity on his daily teen dance show. Sadly, Clark passed away on April 18 and the entire run of “Hairspray” will be dedicated to him.

“He was an amazing man and we feel that we owe him a tribute,” Marchand said. “I’ve watched his work for more than 50 years and I’m happy that we’re able to recognize what he’s done. He’s an American show business icon.”

Marchand said he was 14 when he started watching “American Bandstand” in the late 1950s. During that time, the show was on five days a week, from 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon until 5 p.m.

Regular dancers who appeared on the show, which was filmed in Philadelphia, were from South Philadelphia High School. Three of the boys later become famous singers, including Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Bobby Rydell.

“One of the girls in my neighborhood used to say, ‘OK. After school tomorrow, everyone can come over to my house and we can dance in front of the T.V. with ‘American Bandstand’ on,’” Marchand said. “There’s no such show anymore.”

Audiences who purchase tickets to “Hairspray” can expect the professional settings and costumes, expert sound and lighting, as well as talented performers that New Bedford Festival Theatre is known for.

While rehearsals won’t begin until early July, Marchand is excited about the cast, particularly LauraMarie Rondinella, who will be playing the part of Tracy.

“She’s an Italian girl from Jersey City, New Jersey, and she’s perfect for the show,” he said. “She’s five feet tall and has a smile that lights up the entire room. When she sings, ‘Good Morning, Baltimore,’ your day is 10 times better. I was so glad when she accepted the contract because she’s adorable and has a great personality. She’s just like Tracy and wins everyone over in the show.”

As far as other roles, Ryan Overberg, a student at Boston Conservatory, will star as heartthrob Link Larkin,  and Lizzy Palmer, who performed in a recent production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the Court House Center for the Arts in West Kingston, Rhode Island, will star as Teen Queen Amber Von Tussle.

Further, Aaron Fried will play the part of Edna; John Costa will star as Wilber; and Bobby Sylvia will play Corny Collins.

The show will also feature a production staff of Director/Choreographer Michael Susko; Musical Director/Conductor Juan Rodriguez; and Artistic Director George Charbonneau. Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, who wrote music for NBC’s hit show “Smash,” composed the music of “Hairspray.”

“I’m hoping they write a sequel and show the characters’ lives in college,” Marchand said. “But, that’s not up to me. I don’t write musicals; I produce them.”

Marchand, who taught English for 35 years at New Bedford High School, said he is thrilled to be celebrating Clark during the New Bedford Festival Theatre’s 23rd season with his first production of “Hairspray,” which opened on Broadway in 2002 and ran for more than eight years.

“Dick Clark, we are not going to ‘stop the beat,’” he said, referring to the play’s final number, “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” “You started it and we’re going to keep it going.”

Tickets for “Hairspray,” winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, are on sale at the Zeiterion’s box office, located at 684 Purchase Street, by calling 508-994-2900 or by visiting

Showings include July 20 and July 21 at 7:30 p.m.; July 22 at 2 p.m.; July 26 at 7 p.m.; July 27 and July 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and July 29 at 2 p.m.

Guyer encourages youth to let dreams take center stage

Lisa Guyer


“Play an instrument.”

That’s Lisa Guyer’s top tip for aspiring singers, especially females.  But, it’s one of many pieces of advice the singer/songwriter plans to teach students of both genders aged 13 to 18 during her five-day music program, the Lisa Guyer’s Music Empowerment Program, which runs June 25th through the 29th at Wilton-Lyndeborough High School, located at 57 School Road in Wilton, New Hampshire.

“With all the experience I have from being out on the road learning things the hard way, I feel like I can give them the opportunity to learn about what it’s like being on stage,” says Guyer, 48, who has been performing professionally for 31 years. “We’re going to have a blast. No one’s going to be wrong unless they don’t try.”

The goal of the program, Guyer says, is to help young performers find what she and her team of three instructors call the “golden nugget,” or “it factor.” In other words, Guyer, along with Heidi Pauer, a teacher in the New Hampshire school system and also a member of Guyer’s staff of mentors, wrote the program to encourage students to forget their inhibitions and bring out their inner artists.

“Do I think you can teach ‘it factor?’ No, but I think we’re all born with a light inside us that needs to be polished and honed,” she said. “I’m going to try to help them shine.”

Guyer and Pauer, as well as Kim Riley, a fellow musician, and Linda Erb, a local teacher, will teach approximately 60 students collaboratively, as well as break them down into four groups of 12 to 15 from time to time, to guide them through various topics.

Subjects include movement, in which mentors will show students how to share the focus between playing music, feeling music and letting music “free your body;” thinking outside the box, a session designed to teach the art of improvisation as it relates to live performances; jigsaw symphony, a topic in which collaboration is the main objective, and blind inspiration, a workshop that promises to draw on the senses.

Further, Guyer intends to have a one-on-one with each student on the first day.

“It’s not going to be children sitting in class with a piece of paper and a pencil-that’s not going to happen,” she said. “It’s going to be recess all day, but structured. I’m hoping they make new friends and write a new song together.”

For Guyer, not only is it important that students have the ability to perform independently, as she says she makes half her income by playing solo shows, it’s vital that they open their minds to teaming up with other musicians, too.

In fact, after Sully Erna of Godsmack asked her to sing vocals on the song “Hollow,” which appeared on Godsmack’s 2007 release, IV, she recorded and toured with Erna for  his 2010 solo album, Avalon.

“We’ve always had a mutual admiration for each other and we got into this space where he asked me to do the solo thing with him. That became Avalon and I’m very grateful that someone in his position, friend or no friend, was very gracious with me,” she said of Erna, who she has been close with for more than 20 years.  “He gave me lead vocal appearances and back up vocals through the whole thing and for him to put me in the limelight was incredible. He’s a really great guy and a really sweet soul.”

Also, during the Avalon tour, a show at the Wilbur Theater in Boston was filmed for upcoming release. While Guyer didn’t watch the film at the time she was interviewed by Limelight Magazine, she says Erna assured her it is “beautiful,” and she was able to listen to the audio.

“It sounds amazing,” she said.

Aside from being a vocalist, Guyer plays piano and a “little bit of drums.” She’s been performing since she was four and comes from a highly musical family. As a child, she and her family frequently put on vaudevillian shows at senior centers and churches. Whether she was singing, doing comedy acts, or even taking dance classes with 18-year-olds by the time she was seven, she believes the experience helped make her a well-rounded performer.

“It gave me that confidence to do my thing,” says Guyer, who in addition to singing and writing music enjoys interior decorating, photography and gardening.

“I’m always out with Mother Nature,” she says. “It gives me peace.”

Eventually, Guyer hopes to teach her program to adults. For now, she’s focused on making sure she holds a camp every school vacation so she can give advice to aspiring young musicians.

“The industry has changed so much since I was younger and the best thing I can say is practice and work on it,” she says. “Do everything you can to be in school shows and be as diverse as you can. Get out there. Be creative. Put your music up on YouTube. Keep honing your craft. Let no one tell you that you can’t do it.”

To learn more about Lisa Guyer’s Music Empowerment Program or to enroll online, visit, call 603-554-8602 or email

Fifth Freedom ready to record first album

Fifth Freedom


“We went from being the bar cover band to writing our own songs, getting on local radio stations and then getting heavy rotation statewide,” said Alan Jones, founding member of Fifth Freedom, a hard rock/southern rock band from Portland, Maine.

In fact, they’ve earned airplay on 106.3 The Bone, 95.3 The Edge and 105.1 WTOS The Mountain of Pure Rock and have been featured on sell out shows, including 2009’s Bone Bash and multiple WTOS “School of Rock” shows.

Additionally, they’ve partnered with a group called Conquer Entertainment, an up-and-coming business that’s helping them market their music.

But, the excitement doesn’t stop there. Jones, along with band mates Nicholas Little, Mike Scarpelli and Gary Marston, recently made a website through Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, this spring. By late May, they hit their minimum goal of $5,000.

“Thank you to our supporters and fans who helped this dream start to come true,” the band posted on their Facebook page May 25.

Since they were able to raise $5,000, the band will be heading into the studio to record an album with producer Beau Hill, who has produced music for bands such as Fleetwood Mac, Twisted Sister and Ratt, to name a few.

“For us, it’s a once in a lifetime thing,” Jones said. “He happened to come across our music, and just e-mailed our manager and then called me out of nowhere and said, ‘Hey. I really like your sound but your music needs more production behind it.’ He genuinely wants to work with us. We’ve been sitting on this material for years and have more material ready to go.”

Jones, the lead vocalist, who is also one of the band’s two guitarists, formed Fifth Freedom with his younger brother, Dan Robert, in 2003. When Robert left for the Army in 2006, Jones promised he wouldn’t end the band.

“If I stop pursuing the dream he’d kick my ass,” said Jones. “We have these basic freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, freedom from hate,-and being in the band is the ultimate freedom. It empowers us. Through members coming and going, girlfriends, wives, ex wives and everything else, we’ve always had this-we’ve always had the band. It’s our outlet. We can say what we want to say and people understand that.”

Yet, there is one more thing that makes the quartet feel empowered.

According to Jones, opening for major-label acts gives them a rush like no other. A personal highlight for him was when they got to open for Adler’s Appetite, which is comprised of members from classic glam rock bands such as Quiet Riot, Faster Pussycat, Enuff Z’Nuff and, of course, Guns N Roses, as former GNR drummer Steven Adler leads the band.

“Guns was the first band that I heard that I was like, ‘Yeah, this is what I want to do,’” said Jones. “They became my heroes, not just a band. Meeting him was like, ‘Whoa,’ let alone sharing the stage with him. He was the most humble person I’ve ever met. It was so refreshing to see that.”

Fifth Freedom has also shared stages with other well-known acts including Godsmack, Theory of a Deadman, Sevendust, Alter Bridge, Empathetic, Shinedown, Puddle of Mudd, among others.

To learn more about the band, as well as tour information, visit them on Facebook at or on Reverbnation at

Satellites Fall like ‘Lines on the Road’

Satellites Fall (Photo by Tracy Dupuis)


Combining elements of indie, Brit and alternative rock, Satellites Fall are new to the local music scene but have already made a name for themselves.

In fact, they were semi-finalists in this year’s 95.5 WBRU Rock Hunt, and were named’s, “Artist of the Month,” for February 2012.

Also, Valentine’s Day brought along their debut release, “Lines on the Road,” a five-track EP under the label Midday Records. It can be downloaded for free for a limited time at

According to vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist, Mark Charron, their first experience in the studio transformed their sound.

“We were a straight guitar band but when we got into the studio and started analyzing, it turned out that we could put more keys, piano and strings in,” he said. “We put a lot of layers in there and it sounded more full and much more interesting. We tried to shake things up a bit.”

To lay down tracks, the band contacted their fellow musician buddy and Berklee College of Music graduate, Dave Newman, who owns a studio in his home just outside of Boston. Newman didn’t produce the album, yet Charron said he encouraged them to tackle new approaches and contributed to their overall development in a major way.

“He was a pretty big influence and is very good at layers, loops and things of that nature,” said Charron. “He really challenged us and that’s what we really took from the sessions.”

While one of the songs on the EP has a solemn tone, others are more jovial. Charron said Snow Patrol, Radiohead, and U2 are among core influences.

“Some songs are happier than others, but our lyrics have a lot to do with personal strife and self reflection,” he said. “There are some songs on there that are about relationships between people and to God.”

Of the songs on the EP, Charron has two favorites. He said “Sundial” is the most personal for him, as it offers listeners an introspective vibe.  He also called “Servitude” one of the best of the bunch.

“I love singing it,” he said.

Initially, he and guitarist Davey Moore handled most of the writing. Now, it’s more collaborative, with drummer Luke Riskalla and guitarist Brian Bardsley adding their input.

The music first took shape in 2000 when Charron and Moore were studying at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Previous to forming, Moore was the drummer for hardcore band Fall From Grace

“They were very popular,” Charron said. “Staind opened for them.”

By 2002, Moore and Charron began recording on four track recorders and other “make-shift equipment.  Soon after, they graduated and pursued full-time careers.

However, they found old tapes they recorded about five years later and decided to rework and fine-tune their material.

“We started getting together and writing more music,” Charron said. “Eventually, we invested in real equipment and kept moving forward with it.”

At this point, they have a catalog of at least 50 songs. They plan on revisiting the studio to lay down more tracks and release a second album within a year.

“We’ve literally said, ‘we can’t write any more music right now,’” Charron said. “It’s time to get back into recording.”

Moreover, they are looking for a bassist. Currently, they fill in the rhythm section through the help of keyboards, as well as technology, including sounds they contrive via a laptop.

For now, they are pleased with their newfound sound. They feel their album, as well as their band name, echo their lucid tone.

“Our sound is very light and we think our name speaks to that,” Charron said.

To contact the band or learn more about them, visit their website at or find them on Facebook at

The Mystix and their ‘Mighty Tone’

The Mystix


After more than a two-and-a-half year hiatus, Americana Roots ensemble, The Mystix, will be kicking off a 10-show national tour this Thursday (May 17) evening at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center (The Z) for a three-hour show beginning at 7:30 p.m.

With a lineup of accomplished musicians and a catalog of catchy songs that pay tribute to influential blues, gospel and country artists, the “Roots Ramble Tour” will showcase the bands fourth studio album, “Mighty Tone.” The album features guest artists, such as harp legend Jerry Portnoy, who has toured and recorded with Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton, and will join The Mystix onstage throughout the tour.

“He’s a master showman,” says Jo Lily, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Mystix. “Just to hear his stories of being on the road with Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton is great. It’s going to be a very down to the ground show in sort of an organic way, as opposed to an electric rock and roll performance.”

Lily, formerly of Boston’s Duke & the Drivers, says the 12-track album is earning stellar reviews in Europe. Further, Boston radio stations like WUMB, as well as The River, are giving it steady airplay.

“We’re really excited about the new record,” he says. “The music is different in a better way. We’re all very proud of it and feel it’s our best work.”

Recorded in Saugus, Mass., at B.K. Studios, the album is a mix of originals and covers. While it took the band a year to prepare for recording, they were able to lay down the tracks in less than four days.

Also, the album marks the first in which Lily was able to star as a producer. He credited engineers Joe Thomas, Tim Phillips, as well Bobby B. Keyes, guitarist for The Mystix, for making the process smooth.

“It was great because we were all very organized,” says Lily.

Aside from Lily, The Mystix all-star veteran lineup consists of legendary artists who have performed and recorded with some of the countries most respected musicians. While Keyes has worked with artists such as Robin Thicke and Jerry Lee Lewis and has written songs for art Mary J. Blige and Li’l Wayne, drummer Marty Richards has played alongside Gary Burton, Duke Robillard, J. Geils Band, and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.

Moreover, bassist Marty Ballou has worked with John Hammond, Edgar Winter, as well as Robillard; and keyboardist Tom West has shared stages with Susan Tedeschi and Peter Wolf.

Additionally, the band will be joined by Kevin Barry, a lap steel/dobro player, who just wrapped up a tour with Ray LaMontagne; percussionist Dennis McDermott, who has played with Roseanne Cash and Mark Cohn; and fiddle player Matt Leavenworth, who has worked with the John Lincoln Wright Band.

“It’s a great joy to be able to be creative with such good players and have people around you that support that effort,” says Lily. “We all bring different ideas to the table about how to approach new material. It’s a lot of fun and we’re grateful to be able to do it.”

Aside from the show at The Z, the band will perform at New England venues, including the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, Mass., on June 1 and Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, N.H., on June 12th, among other venues.

In the near future, they hope to head to Europe.

“We’re itching to go, so we’ll see,” Lily says.

To purchase general admission tickets for Thursday’s show at The Z, which will allow guests to step through their red stage door on Spring Street and find the stage transformed into an intimate concert club complete with a full bar, visit or call 508-994-2900. Tickets are just $20.

“Like” The Mystix on Facebook and get a free download of their new single, “Mighty Love” and visit for more information.

Prospect Hill: Making an ‘Impact’

Prospect Hill



The hard rocking quintet Prospect Hill have climbed the peaks of musical hardship and are basking in the valley of stardom, as they signed a recording contract with Carved Records in April.

But, that’s not all. “Come Alive,” the first single from their third and latest album, Impact, is being played on radio stations across the country. The song has also been licensed by ESPN for the 2012 National Hot Rod Association season and was listed on Amazon’s hot new rock singles chart, making it to the top 10 within just a few days of its release.

“It seems like it’s doing really well and people are taking a liking to it,” said drummer Mark Roberge. “‘Come Alive’ is really about people who aren’t living their lives and just getting caught up in sh*t with relationships and work and are not taking advantage of everyday they are given on this earth.”

For Prospect Hill, who hail from Merrimack Valley, an area just 20 minutes north of Boston, living life to the fullest is what they are all about and being on the road is one of their favorite ways to spend time. Since 2009, they’ve performed an average of 100 shows per year, ranging from throughout the Northeast, East Coast, Midwest and even California.

On one of their most recent tours, they especially enjoyed traveling from gig to gig in their van, affectionately nicknamed, “Vanny DeVito,” as well as their trailer, “Trailer Swift.”

“We always seem to have a lot of fun on the road,” said vocalist Adam Fithian.

Of course, being five best friends might have something to do with it. Bassist Edgar Troncoso described them as being, “really close.”

“You miss your family when you’re on the road but it’s not too bad because you have a bunch of people with you that are not only friends, they’re family,” Troncoso said.

Being a tight-knit group has made the trek to success more fun than work. Nevertheless, they remember the days before they had access to quality instruments and recording equipment.

“When we first started out, we were playing hand-me-down instruments and using our mom and dad’s stereo equipment to amplify our guitars,” said Roberge. “We literally had nothing.”

Realizing they could save money through self-promotion, they created an online presence in 2005 and began building a fan base. Once they acquired enough money, they bought a PA system and eventually established their own label by 2009.

These days, they are being courted by multiple record labels and rubbing shoulders with A-list producers, including Anthony J. Resta, who has worked with artists such as Collective Soul and Duran Duran. Resta also produced Prospect Hill’s, Impact.

“Working with him was amazing,” said Troncoso. “He’s very creative and thinks outside the box. That’s why the CD has it’s own kind of flavor. He’s a ninja on the keyboard.”

Resta isn’t the only well-known name the band has been in contact with lately. In the last few years, they’ve toured with acts such as Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Buckcherry, Fall Out Boy, Korn, Hinder, Stone Sour, Hailstorm, Sevendust, and CageTime, to name a handful.

Further, the band’s first full-length album, For the Lovers the Haters in the Dead, released in 2007, featured Godsmack’s guitarist Tony Rombola. He performed on the song, “S.O.E.”

“We all grew up in the same area so we have a connection,” said Roberge. “It was like having a friend on the album. It was really cool.”

According to Roberge, other “really cool” incidents have happened since then. In 2010, they were named High Times Magazine’s Best Independent Act of 2010 and performed the High Times Magazine Award Showcase in Austin, Texas. Fithian said not only do they feel fortunate to have won, they are also supporters of the decriminalization of marijuana.

“I think the country will change its perception of marijuana because we could turn our financial problems around by making it legal,” he said. “It’s a touchy subject but all in all we’re talking about it in the right context. We’re not saying, ‘Oh, let’s smoke pot.’ It’s about a reform of something that’s been taken out of context by everyone in this country.”

More recently, they were awarded the title of Best Live Act at the 2012 New England Music Awards, which took place at Boston’s Hard Rock Café in February.

“We take a lot of pride in our live shows,” Roberge said. “We go 100 percent no matter how tired or sick we are. We give it all we’ve got.”

To learn more about the band, visit their website at

3 Inches of Blood pump through U.S.

3 Inches of Blood


With the release of their fifth album this spring, it’s apparent that Canadian heavy metal band, 3 Inches of Blood, congealed their sound by listening to prominent acts that were born during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the 1970s and 1980s, such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, UFO and Rainbow.

In fact, the five-member band said the title of their latest album, Long Live Heavy Metal, was inspired by Rainbow’s 1978 album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll.

For 3 Inches of Blood vocalist Cam Pipes, who said they recorded the album in Vancouver with producer Terri Murray, celebrating the music is what it’s all about. Through their music and live performances, Pipes said fans and newcomers alike can expect “high octane, no frills heavy metal.”

“We keep it simple, but we put on an energetic show,” he said. “We’re not going to fool you with unnecessary theatrics. We let the music speak for itself. It’s what we love to do and we’re able to convey that, so our fans get into it, as well.”

While he’s big into metal, Pipes doesn’t listen to his own music. According to him, once he finishes recording, the only time he hears his songs is when he’s gigging.

“I’ll listen intently when we’re mixing, but I tend to not even listen to the recording if I don’t have to,” he said. “I’d rather listen to what other people are doing.”

But, make no mistake about it. He has a lot of respect for the material he and the band write as a group.

“This is music that we love to play,” Pipes said. “I’ve played lots of different kinds of music over the years but it’s always been a mission of mine to make a living out of it. It’s my career, but it doesn’t feel like work.”

Although Pipes said the way they came up with their band name isn’t particularly interesting, it is humorous, as it stemmed from someone cutting themselves and exaggerating how much blood pooled up.

“Somebody heard those words strung together and said, ‘That would be a good band name,’ and it stuck,” Pipes said. “The more we sat on it, the more confident we felt about it. Once the songs came together, we were like, ‘OK. This really makes sense.’”

Originally formed in 2000, 3 Inches of Blood recently added bassist Byron Stroud, formerly of the band Fear Factory. Though Stroud didn’t appear on the album, he’s been touring with Pipes, as well as the rest of the band, including rhythm and lead guitarist/vocalist Justin Hagberg; lead and rhythm guitarist Shane Clark; and drummer Ash Pearson, since they released Long Live Heavy Metal on March 26.

Also, during the spring, 3 inches of Blood completed a six-week national tour alongside six other metal acts, such as Devil Drivers, Pending Doom and Retched, for the Metal Alliance Tour.

“Most of the bands could pull in a decent headlining tour of their own so I think by combining us the tour was that much bigger,” said Pipes.

After headlining a European tour, they’ll tour the United States in June before heading to their Canadian stomping grounds in July.

“I’m sure we’re going to be super busy through the year,” Pipes said.

To learn more about the band, visit their Facebook page at

Greg Lake lets fans put him ‘In the Hot Seat’

Greg Lake


With both a new solo album and autobiography in the works, Greg Lake, formerly of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, as well as King Crimson, is about to embark on a solo tour, called “Songs of a Lifetime.”

The 64-year-old rocker, who sings and plays guitar and bass, said he came up with the tour concept while writing his book, Lucky Man,” which chronicles his life from infancy, thorough his childhood and teenage years, his days with ELP, King Crimson and up to today.

“As I was writing, different songs would pop up as to being pivotal in my life and the idea just occurred to me of making a show of them,” Lake said. “For the last 40 years, I’ve shared this journey with the audience that has come to see ELP and King Crimson so I’ll be telling stories about how the songs came about. It’s an imitate show.”

Lake wants to engage the audience by allowing them to ask questions between songs. In fact, when he last toured with Keith Emerson, they let fans take part in a question and answer session during a performance.

“It was one of those things I wanted to do again,” said Lake. “I’ve performed rock and roll all over the world and although music communicates with people, it doesn’t give you the chance to actually exchange words with anyone in the audience. There’s a sense of excitement because you never know what we’re going to come up with it.”

During a New York show that Lake played with Emerson, a woman told them her brother was trained in classical piano. She explained that she used to lie underneath the piano when he was playing and pretend he was Emerson.

“The audience laughed at that point and I said, ‘Would you like to come up?’ She said, ‘yeah,’ and I asked Keith to play something while she was underneath the piano. The audience went wild. It was fun to see and I think they enjoyed seeing her get her wish come true.”

With a vast catalog of material not only from ELP and King Crimson, Lake, is set to perform music from his solo albums. He said fans should expect to hear his biggest hits.

“There are things that people want me to play and if I didn’t there would be trouble,” Lake said. “On the other hand, you think, ‘how do I pick songs that are not overly obvious?’ The answer is sometimes songs become timely and sometimes it’s timely to leave songs out. But, the show will be a mixture of things and there will be some surprises in there.”

Because he’s friendly with musicians throughout the country, Lake plans on inviting special guests in various cities to join him onstage. This, he said, keeps the crowd on their toes.

“Often someone will come in and play a song with me,” he said. “What it won’t be is a folk singer sitting on a stool with a guitar talking about being a legend. To be frank, it’s a challenge to do a one-man show. But, in reality, there will be a lot of stuff happening. I want it to have the feeling of a celebration.”

Lake said he feels listening to music as a group adds a “magical” element to live performances. In fact, he thinks music is best enjoyed with friends.

“Before the Walkman, music was a shared experience,” he said. “We would buy an album, sit down with our friends, listen to it together and look at the album together. But, when the Walkman came out, it became a solitary experience with your headphones. Now, it’s the iPod or the iPhone. Well, I believe it’s a shared thing and that’s what I like about this tour.”

In addition to sharing his music and stories, Lake also makes inquiries of other musicians. Former member of The Beatles, drummer Ringo Starr, is one of them.

In 2001, when he toured with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Lake asked him about his days with the Beatles.

“We used to fly with him on his private jet and he would just start telling stories because he’s got so many of them,” said Lake. “Right up until the last show they played at Candlestick Park they never had their own hotel rooms. They always used to go two to a room. It’s fascinating to look back.”

Speaking of The Beatles, Lake said that while many progressive rock fans cite, In the Court of the Crimson King, as one of the greatest prog rock records of all time and some even call it the first progressive rock album of all time, he disagrees.

“It was, in a way, original, but I don’t think it was the first progressive album ever made-Sgt. Pepper was before that and that was actually a progressive record. When we formed KC, there was a need to be original in the music business. When you’d hear a record then and you’d hear the first few seconds and know who you were listening to. All the acts had their own identity.”

At the time, Lake said, most English rock acts were drawing their inspiration from American music, such as blues, gospel, soul, rock and roll and country. King Crimson tried a different approach.

“We decided to draw our influences from European music,” said Lake. “We studied the greats that went before us and then made our own version from that cloth. That’s really how people learn. If you can emulate the greats you have a template to print over your own personality and individuality.”

But, that unique style is keeping bands such as King Crimson, ELP, Rush, and Yes, to name a few, to be excluded from the United States Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as the organization has shunned progressive rock acts. Lake thinks the Hall of Fame is making a mistake.

“They’re denying that progressive music exists in the history of rock and roll and that’s a very stupid thing to do,” he said. “You may not like it, but don’t deny it exists. Both the bands I’ve been involved in have been an influence upon American rock music. It’s undeniable. I’m not saying we’re as important of The Beatles but we were influential. I don’t lose sleep over it but it seems strange to me.”

For now, Lake is spending his time working on his solo album and autobiography. While he doesn’t like giving out release dates, he hopes to have them out next year at the latest.

“I started the album five years ago and it’s more than half recorded,” he said. “I never found the right time to release it and I think that time is coming close. The book is the story of my life and I’m not quite finished with it. It’s something I’ve been writing for a long time.”

Aside from making music, he’s busy collecting first-edition books in his spare time. So far, he has acquired nearly 100.

“The history fascinates me,” Lake said. “To me, they have a special meaning. I have the first edition of Mutiny on the Bounty written in 1745 signed by [Lieutenant William Bligh.] I have several books from the private library of Marie Antoinette and Nina France, as well as the first edition of Treasure Island.”

For more information about Lake, check out his website at

“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the show,” said Lake.