“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 facebook.com/FifthFreedom or on Reverbnation at reverbnation.com/fifthfreedom.
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 rocksposure.com’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 satellitesfall.bandcamp.com.
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 satellitesfall.com or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/SatellitesFall.
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 zeiterion.org 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 themystix.com for more information.
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 TimesMagazine’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 prospecthillmusic.com.
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 facebook.com/threeinchesofblood.
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 greglake.com.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the show,” said Lake.
March Madness didn’t only apply to the basketball games that were going on, but it also applied to JKB Booking and Limelight Magazine! March has been one of our busiest months ever and so many good things came out of it. Between guesting on local radio shows, the Limelight Music Awards and our two sold out shows, there was never a dull moment.
Even though Limelight Magazine has been around for five years, this year was our fourth annual Limelight Music Awards, and the best one yet. This was my second year being involved and I’d have to say this year definitely out did last year. Between all the great promotion we had, co-hosting The Cheap Seats with Cat Wilson and Almost Famous with John Shea and Lisa Azazian and having PBS there filming it, there was no doubt that this year was going to be a success. It was nice to see some old faces and a lot of new ones. Overall, it was a great time and from the responses we got, we know everyone else thought so too.
A week later, we had our third consecutive sold out show with Jon Anderson of YES. We had to pick him up from his hotel and bring him to the venue. I was really nervous having to drive someone like him around but it wasn’t too bad (after driving him back and fourth about four times!). It turned out to be a great show and he had a lot of loyal fans there who were really excited to see him so close. The show went really well and the crowd loved him.
A couple of weeks after that, we had our fourth sold out show with comedian Paula Poundstone. She was hilarious! She was extremely friendly to us, but not so kind when it came to the audience as my mom was one of her victims. I tried to sit my parents at a table that wasn’t so noticeable to her on stage but my mom made the mistake of going to the bathroom. Nonetheless, it was an awesome show and everyone left laughing for more! She is definitely someone we want back again in the near future.
Now that March is over, we have a lot more exciting things to look forward to in the future. For anyone who is interested in folk music, we have Tom Rush playing at the Cotuit Center for the Arts on the Cape on July 19. We’ve already sold a bunch of tickets to that show, so I know it’s going to be another sellout. We also have the band Zebra booked for October 26 at Rock Junction in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. We’ve received a great response so far on them and the tickets are super cheap! They will be a doing an hour long Led Zeppelin set at the end of their show that’s going to rock. You won’t want to miss out on that one.
Another thing to look forward to is Limelight Magazine’s summer issue, which will be my first one as co-owner. I’m really excited about it! This one is going to be a little different than the rest and you’ll have to wait to see who will be featured in it. You know we’re always full of surprises! Overall, March was a great, successful month and we thank all of you for showing your support to both JKB Booking and Limelight Magazine.
Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!