‘TH1RT3EN’ far from unlucky number for Megadeth

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

Business is good for the heavy metal band Megadeth because fans are sweating bullets for their thirteenth studio album appropriately titled “TH1RT3EN.”

Guitarist Chris Broderick, the former guitarist for the band Jag Panzer who replaced Glen Drover in Megadeth nearly four years ago, said he is pleased by the reaction of fans and critics alike. Still, he thinks it’s too soon to have the right to go insane about the feedback.

“I always wait until a little time has passed but I’m really happy that people are receiving it very well,” he said.

The album marks the last the band will make under Roadrunner Records and is the second in their history to hit stores on Nov. 1, as 1994’s “Youthanasia” was also released on that date. They are set to be killing it on the road with Motorhead, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil for Gigantour, the critically acclaimed package festival they founded in 2005, which is the same tour name Broderick made his live debut with Megadeth on Feb. 4, 2008.

They will make stops in New England states such as Connecticut and Massachusetts and they will also perform in nearby New York.

While he doesn’t have a favorite place to gig, he said he enjoys playing for fans that are “over the top” and “very vocal” when he’s on stage.

“At the same time, there are fans that like to sit back and listen and that’s nice, as well,” said Broderick. Either way he said, “I can’t wait to go on tour. We’ll be doing four or five songs from the CD.”

According to Broderick, the CD came together “quite quickly” and they composed some of the material while on tour for the band’s last studio album “Endgame.” They worked with producer John Karkazis, better known as Johnny K, who previously worked with Disturbed, Sevendust, Machine Head and Staind, among others.

“He’s concerned about the whole aspect of the song and that’s really his strong point,” said Broderick. “It was really cool to work with him.”

In addition to “TH1RT3EN,” Broderick also recorded guitar parts on “Endgame” shortly after he came onboard. He thinks the new album is more diverse.

“‘Endgame,’ with the exception of a song or two, was pretty in your face,” Broderick said. “‘Thirteen’ pulls from ‘Endgame’ but also from every other Megadeth CD.”

In terms of guitar riffs, he enjoys tracks “Sudden Death” and “Never Dead” best. “Never Dead” can be heard in a trailer for the fantasy action video game of the same name. With the record business not being what it used to be, Broderick feels having their song in a video game is an alternative avenue to reach new fans.

“It’s a great way to get advertising for your music,” he said. “The video game almost gives the song an infinite number of music videos.”

In 1983, the year frontman Dave Mustaine founded Megadeth, the band probably never envisioned their music would be in a video game nearly 30 years later. For Broderick, he never thought he’d end up playing lead guitar for them.

“It’s such an honor to be able to play with such an awesome band,” he said. “I grew up following them and to be on stage with the guys is pretty amazing.”

But Mustaine said he thinks of Broderick as the greatest guitarist Megadeth has ever had and compared meeting Broderick to Ozzy Osbourne fusing with Randy Rhodes. Hearing that, Broderick said, is humbling and terrifying at the same time.

“It’s great that he thinks that of me but it’s like, ‘Wow. I have to live up to that,’” he said.

“The funny thing is the first year and a half that I was playing with Megadeth I never really had time to think about the position I’ve been in. Only now have I been able to relax and step back and feel comfortable with what I’m doing.”

Celebrate the holidays with Lou Gramm, Mickey Thomas & Eddie Money

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

NEW BEDFORD – It isn’t every day that three music icons take the stage to perform classic holiday favorites. But Eddie Money, Lou Gramm and Mickey Thomas fans will get the opportunity to have themselves a merry little Christmas with a side of rock and roll this Saturday, Dec. 3, as the singers will bring joy to the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford for the Jingle Bell Rock tour.

In addition to opening and closing the show as a trio, they will also play their own hit songs individually.

“Eddie did a holiday tour last year and thought it would be fun to take the concept and expand upon it,” said Thomas, who fronts Starship. “Eddie is such a great entertainer and sax player and it doesn’t get any better than Lou as a vocalist. It’s a unique experience to be able to go out and perform with them.”

Gramm, the former lead singer of Foreigner, agreed and said he is excited because he enjoys the holiday season, as well as New Bedford. Previously to joining Foreigner, he played in the band Black Sheep, which often gigged in the area.

“We were regulars there for a few years and met a lot of good people,” said Gramm. “I have an affinity for it.”

For the show, he said he is looking forward to performing “Jukebox Hero,” “Midnight Blue,” “I Want To Know What Love Is,” and “Hot Blooded,” as well as holiday hits like “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “Mary, Did You Know?”

Thomas is set to sing “Winter Wonderland” in the style of Annie Lennox, Elvis Presley’s, “It’s Christmas Time Pretty Baby,” and “Silent Night.” He’ll perform Starship songs “Jane,” “Sara,” “We Built This City,” and “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” which he originally recorded with The Elvin Bishop Band in 1976.

“We might do ‘Nothing’s Going to Stop Us Now,’ if we have time,” he said.

Thomas and Gramm anticipate the show will help people get into the Christmas spirit. For Thomas, his favorite thing about celebrating the holidays is cooking and being with loved ones.

“I enjoy getting the family together because I have to travel so much that there’s nothing I like better than being in the kitchen whipping up an exciting meal with some good wine and a football game,” said Thomas, whose specialty is seafood and okra gumbo. “That’s the happiest time for me.”

Gramm feels the same and said it’s a great time to catch up with family and old friends. He especially likes the camaraderie everyone gets into if they are appreciating Christmas “the way it was meant to be.”

“You put differences aside and celebrate the birth of the Lord,” he said.

Of course, they’ve each made wish lists for Santa. In fact, Thomas is confident he will be getting a set of golf clubs this year, as well as a few films. Action and adventure flicks such as “Scarface,” “Goodfellas,” the “Indiana Jones” trilogy and the “Godfather” movies are his favorites.

“I’ve been golfing for 25 years and it’s one of the few things that I can do to leave everything that I’ve been worrying about behind,” said Thomas. “You can empty your head. And I love watching movies almost as much as cooking so hopefully I’ll be getting some DVDs.”

Gramm is keeping his fingers crossed for a new pair of glasses, as the pair he has is in rough shape.

“One side is broken to the point where it’s taped on,” he said with a laugh.

He’s also hinting around for a set of new tires for his’68 Camaro Super Sport, one of his four muscle cars.

“I’ve been driving it more and more lately and the tires have seen the last of the road,” he said. “I’ve been into muscle cars since before I was old enough to drive. My dad used to take me with him when it was time for us to get another car and we would window shop and he taught me about the high performance cars.”

But before Santa and his reindeer lavish them with gifts, they will share their holiday cheer with New Bedford. If the tour is a success, they said they would be more than willing to carry the tradition on next year.

“If this works out we’ll definitely be doing Jingle Bell Rock again,” said Thomas. “We might even expand upon it even more.”

Thomas said Starship frequently performs private shows at which his “singer buddies” Mike Reno of Loverboy; Bobby Kimball of Toto; Jimi Jamison of Survivor; John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band join him on stage. He’s thinking about bringing some of those guys on board next year, as he is fond of touring.

“In the early days, I just wanted to be in the studio all the time,” said Thomas. “Now, I enjoy being on stage and connecting with audiences.”

In the future, Thomas said Starship will be releasing a new album in February or March, which follows his recent solo recording of all cover songs, “Marauder”, while Gramm said he and the Lou Gramm Band will be putting out an album by spring. Their latest effort, which came out in 2009, was a self-titled Christian rock recording.

“This one will be straight rock,” Gramm said.

The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center’s box office is located at 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford, Mass. Tickets are priced at $69.50, $64.50, $55, and $48. Box Office Hours: M-F 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and one hour before each performance. For more information, visit http://www.zeiterion.org.

Jingle Bell Rock

‘Come Sail Away’ with Dennis DeYoung

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

Former Styx member and songwriter Dennis DeYoung looked into his “Crystal Ball” and said he predicts his Nov. 18 show at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford will not disappoint even the band’s biggest fans. He plans on playing classics like “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” and “Lady” as well as “Renegade” and “Too Much Time on My Hands,” two songs he didn’t sing on with Styx.

“We’re going to be doing all the songs the fans want to hear and give them something that’s just short of a reunion, which they’ve been clamoring for the last 10 years,” he said. “In the years that I was on the road, I was only doing the songs that I sang so we’re weeding out some of those. If you miss this show you’re missing out.”

With Styx, which had five top-ten albums in the 1970s and early 1980s, DeYoung wrote songs that serve as the soundtrack for a generation of people. Today, many of his hits continue to be played on the radio.

“I had no idea it was going to happen,” said DeYoung. “During the time, you don’t think your records will still be enjoyed 30 or 40 years later. When you’re doing it, you’re just trying to get to the next record or the next tour.”

Nevertheless, DeYoung is grateful. He feels humbled that he has been able to perform for the last four decades.

“When I started out there weren’t any rock stars in the world that were 64-years-old,” he said. “Audiences my age love nostalgia and they want to remember being 18. They’re the ones that allow us the privilege of playing these shows and it has been the greatest joy.”

While many bands are playing some of their classic albums in their entirety from start to finish, DeYoung doesn’t think it’s the best idea. He said he hasn’t considered it because he doesn’t believe his fans would enjoy it.

“If I were to do that, a lot of songs would be left out that people really want to hear,” said DeYoung. “I have to be pragmatic and perform the songs people love.”

With the addition of bassist Craig Carter and guitarist August Zadra to his band in 2010, DeYoung said he is able to recreate the sound of Styx, as both musicians are also vocalists. This, he said, was intentional.

“I purposely put this together to make that sound,” said DeYoung. “Together, we form a harmony that is unmistakably like the harmonies you heard on those records. You could put three great singers in a room and they still won’t sound like that.”

After a friend suggested Carter to DeYoung, Carter sent DeYoung a demo, which impressed him. It wasn’t long before the bassist was enlisted.

DeYoung then recruited Zadra after his son Matthew woke him up at 12:30 a.m. one morning and told him to check out a YouTube video he discovered online of Zadra singing “Blue Collar Man” in a Styx tribute band called Mother of Pearl. He said he knew he found the missing ingredient.

“The video was six years old and I didn’t know that but when I saw it I said, ‘Wow,’” DeYoung said. “The rest, as they say, is history.”

But it can’t be forgotten that DeYoung not only brings his vocals to the mix, he also contributes his keyboard skills. His main influences are John Lord of Deep Purple, Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, plus Jimmy Smith, who DeYoung described as the Jimi Hendrix of organ playing.

“I took accordion lessons for eight years before switching to organ so the way I play is like accordion playing,” he said. “I think that’s what makes it unique.”

Another aspect that puts him in a distinctive category is the fact that he’s a successful musician who has been married for 41 years. His wife Suzanne joins him on tour.

However, she doesn’t hang out in the audience or backstage. Instead, she gets up there with him and sings.

“A lot of people wonder why Paul McCartney had Linda on the stage. Do you want to know the answer to that?” said DeYoung. “He needed her there because being on the road is like being in the Twilight Zone. You’re here, there and everyone.”

DeYoung said they’ve been able to sustain their relationship by staying committed to one another. He referenced a quote made by George Harrison’s wife Olivia in Martin Scorsese’s “Living in the Material World,” an HBO documentary about the former Beatle, to illustrate his point.

“When she was asked what kept them together she said, ‘We didn’t get divorced,’” DeYoung said. “When she said that I thought, ‘there has never been a better answer to that question.’ I don’t think there’s any magic. There’s no potion. It’s easy to give up and I guess there are plenty of good reasons to get divorced but there are also many stupid reasons.”

Prior to becoming a professional musician, DeYoung was a music teacher at an elementary school in Chicago. At the time, he and Suzanne had one child. Now, the couple have two children, Carrie Ann, 40, and Matthew, 31, who joined them on the road in their youth. Like Suzanne, Matthew still takes part in the fun, as he operates the lighting for his father’s shows.

“I’m happy that he chose a position that allows him to be creative and make sure the lights are on his old man,” he said.

At the moment, DeYoung plans to put out a DVD/CD of the acoustic show he performs with his band. He also continues to write music.

“I just wrote a couple songs that I think are pretty good,” he said. “I wrote them with a couple artists in mind and I think it’d be great if there was someone who could give them to the right audience.”

Carl Palmer solo tour comes to the Narrows

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

FALL RIVER – Using classical music as his main vehicle, Carl Palmer, former drummer of progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), is performing instrumental rearrangements of classic ELP songs as part of a power trio for his most recent solo tour called “Pictures at an Exhibition.” On Oct. 22, he will be playing the 22-minute song of the same name, plus unique adaptations by classical composers, at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River.

“We have quite a comprehensive set list and will play for an hour and fifty minutes,” said Palmer. “We are doing a classic piece called, ‘Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends,’ and ‘Tarkus.’”

They will also perform “Fanfare for the Common Man,” by American composer Aaron Copland, as well as “Nut Rocker,” a song by the instrumental ensemble B. Bumble and the Stingers, which was inspired by “March of the Wooden Soldiers,” from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker, and covered by ELP.

By exchanging the synthesizer for guitar, Palmer said he thinks the music “stands on its own,” making it difficult to compare to ELP. He also believes guitar is a much better fit for him and holds guitarists in high regards.

“I didn’t really want to work with keyboards again and I wanted it to be as original as I could make it,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think it works incredibly well. It’s all about getting the right players because techniques of the guitar have really advanced compared to keyboards. The technology of keyboards has advanced, but the players are the same as they’ve always been. Guitar players have just improved immensely. They are really the leaders in musical expression. You can have two guitar players, give them the same guitar and they will both sound completely different. If you do that with two keyboard players, they’ll sound the same. That’s just the way it is.”

Palmer said finding the right musicians to tour with is important. Guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick join him.

“Paul has been with me for seven years now and Simon has been around since June 2010,” he said. “In England, we have lots of academies and institutes, so if you’re looking for a particular style of player there are many places to find them. I’ve got quite a few friends at various colleges in England, and I called them up and asked them who they had for students that were graduating that would like to come out with me and my band. The standards are so high at the schools that I can usually narrow it down to find the musicians I need.”

Because he respects music as an art form, he agreed to be featured in “The Solo,” a 35-minute film that portrays the drum solo as a work of physical art. Acclaimed U.K. filmmaker Andrew Cross asked him to be part of the project last year.

During its run in U.K. art museums, it received rave reviews from art and film critics. It just made its U.S. premiere on Oct. 8 at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as part of their Legends Series programming.

“Cross is a fan of mine and approached me saying, ‘Would you like to make an art film of you playing the drums, doing things you wouldn’t normally do in a concert environment?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I’d like to look at that,’” Palmer said. “I have various solos that could be filmed and mean much more on film than at an actual concert just because of the content of the solo, so we got together and made the film. It went very well.”

Additionally, he recently launched a new iTunes mobile application, Play Carl Palmer’s Drums, which was developed by Dynamic Websites. Designed for iPods, iPads and iPhones, the application allows users to download Palmer’s drum kit so they can use their fingers to play along to music through their iTunes program. It includes rare Palmer archives and instant updates from his site.

The application was originally featured on his website nearly five years ago. After it was removed, fans let him know they wanted it back.

“We had people request it so this time we released it as something you can put right on your phone, rather than having to go to my site like you did years ago to play the drums,” he said.

To further please his fans, he holds a meet-and-greet session after each show to give them a chance to introduce themselves to him. He takes pleasure in meeting them for a handshake or autograph.

“Not only do I enjoy playing concerts, I like going out and saying hi to the people,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing to do. It’s a big movement because over the years VIP tickets, golden circle tickets and general meet-and-greets have gotten more and more popular. Of course, there’s a financial aspect to it because I usually sign autographs near the merchandise but people have an opportunity to get the added bonus of me being there to sign it for them. It’s a way for me to say thank you to them. If they don’t buy anything I still sign their stuff and take pictures with everyone.”

While he believes the demand for meet-and-greets are at a high, he doesn’t feel that the progressive rock movement that ELP was a huge part of in the ’70s will ever be as popular as it once was. He enjoys the English band Porcupine Tree and the first album by Mars Volta, but thinks the genre won’t make a comeback.

“The music will always be there, but I don’t think the popularity it had in the ’70s will return now,” he said. “But, there will always be the odd breakthrough band that will exist and carry on, that’s for sure.”

After he wraps up the tour at the end of the month, Palmer will head to England to start a 10-day tour. In early 2012, he hopes to make a new album with the band Asia that also features John Wetton, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe, and tour later in the year for the bands’ 30th anniversary.

“I’ve played in Asia for the last six years and we did roughly six or seven tours of North America in that time,” said Palmer. “I try to make sure I’m fit and healthy as an individual to make it as professional as we can. I prepare myself mentally and from a health point of view, as well. The art of playing encourages me because I want to go out and see if I can do it better. It’s a continuous circle and I have fun doing it. I love what I do. If you enjoy doing something, you’ll do it, but the fact that I enjoy it allows me to carry on doing it and have fun with it.”

The Narrows Center for the Arts is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Tickets are $48 advance and $53 day of show. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ncfta.org.

Carl Palmer

Dream Theater: Keeping the “Dream” alive

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

When drummer Mike Portnoy made his departure from Dream Theater more than a year ago, many diehard fans of the progressive metal band thought it was a nightmare. But, with the addition of Mike Mangini on drums in April, plus last month’s release of their 11th studio recording, “A Dramatic Turn of Events,” fans seem to be resting well, as the album opened at No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts.

After gigging throughout Europe this summer, the new lineup just began a North American tour. On Oct. 10, they will take the stage at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, Mangini’s hometown. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess, who joined the band in 1999, predicts an energetic performance.

“There will be a lot of people out there to see Mangini play so I think it’s going to be a really fun show,” Rudess said.  “It’s always great to play in Boston, especially since some of the guys went to the Berklee College of Music. We have a beautiful stage set up and new music so we’re really excited.”

Rudess said their rehearsal process was “intense,” but believes the band is as solid as always. He is pleased that fans have taken a liking to Mangini.

“They are responding to him in such a great way,” said Rudess. “He’s an awesome drummer and he’s really funny. We’re unified and working together so it’s been a good thing. What’s interesting is that at this point it feels good to know that we’ve survived that change really well. We’re feeling really strong.”

In fact, Rudess said the alteration allowed them to figure out what “makes them tick” musically. It gave them the opportunity to think about “who they are as a band” and motivated them to compose new material.

“There’s a lot of positivity and good music coming from it,” said Rudess. “We wanted to create a very melodic, harmonic, progressive album and withdraw from the angry-style metal that we did in some of the last albums. We had a vision of what we were aiming for and the reaction from fans has been awesome. We care what the fans think and we want them to be happy.”

Not only are the fans ecstatic, Rudess is thrilled the album is getting so much favorable attention. He feels “lucky” it’s a big hit.

“It’s awesome,” said Rudess. “You look at the numbers on the charts all around the world and it’s number one in many countries. We’re nothing like what’s happening in the pop music world and it’s really amazing to be able to get that kind of response from across the globe. The world generally doesn’t support musicians that aren’t doing the commercial thing. It’s an encouragement to keep on doing what we’re doing.”

In addition to their latest album earning top slots on the charts, their video for “On The Backs of Angels” is the number one most-streamed video on Yahoo! Music for the week of Oct. 1. Rudess said he doesn’t have a favorite of the nine tracks, rather, his preference changes depending upon his mood. Yet, he mentioned “Outcry,” and “Breaking All Illusions” as gems. The songs are the album’s lengthiest recordings with “Outcry” at 11-and-a-half minutes and “Breaking All Illusions” lasting a minute more.

But this should come to no surprise to fans, as the band is widely known for longer pieces of music, not to mention intricate time signatures.

“If the music is building and progressing and the ideas are flowing, the music turns into what some people would describe as epic songs,” said Rudess. “There are no time limits on our songs when we are writing. We have a lot of respect for compositional space, especially with this last album where we didn’t have a drummer in the room. We would work on something and then go from there.”

They began writing for “A Dramatic Turn of Events” in January at Cove City Sound Studios in New York. Despite rumors that Mangini’s drum parts were written for him, Rudess said that wasn’t the case. He was still able to incorporate a few ideas.

“We created something to fill in the space to be like a guide for us, but Mangini knew where the accents were and what we were thinking,” said Rudess. “He looked at what we came up with and added his own parts to make it work.”

Rudess, along with John Petrucci, Dream Theater’s guitarist, crafted a majority of the arrangements. They bounced ideas off one another, as vocalist James LaBrie and bassist John Myung collaborated.

“We were totally comfortable composing this album,” said Rudess. “We usually write our music together in the studio and it comes out of a few different methods. We’ll come up with something and all start playing it and say, ‘Wow. That sounds cool.’ Then, we’ll talk about the direction we are looking for with the song and just bang it out. A lot of it was John and I doing that type of process. We were going back and forth where he would play something and inspire me and then I would inspire him. A lot of times he’d say, ‘I have this cool, chunky riff. What kind of theme can you put with it? Do your Jordan thing.’ That’s how it happens.”

The album was produced by Petrucci and mixed and mastered by acclaimed studio engineer, Andy Wallace, who has worked with Paul McCartney, Prince, and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few.

On October 18, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release “Live at Budokan,” the band’s first Blu-Ray release. Filmed at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall in April 2004 in support of their 2003 album, “Train Of Thought,” the 18-song concert is more than four hours of music, plus bonus features that include a documentary and solos from each member.

After they wrap up their North American tour at the end of the month, the band will visit South America, Oceania, Asia, and again head to Europe in 2012. Rudess said the band is optimistic about the future.

“We’re looking forward to continuing Dream Theater.”

Dream Theater

Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone teams up with brother to create Hurtsmile

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

While the Boston-based rock band Extreme is in-between touring and recording, lead vocalist Gary Cherone has been busy with his latest venture Hurtsmile. The singer, who also fronted Van Halen for three years during the late 1990s, said he is pleased he finally has the opportunity to collaborate with his brother, Mark Cherone, the guitarist for his new band.

“The project actually started in 2007, just before Extreme reunited,” Gary said. “It was a long time coming. Mark and I always talked about it over the years but never wrote together. I’ve always been a fan of his guitar playing and when we found ourselves in the same area, we wrote some music. We didn’t know it would turn into a full band, so we made some of the music available on the Internet.”

The following year, Extreme released Saudades de Rock, their fifth studio album. They went on tour in 2009, so Hurtsmile was put on hold. But, after Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt joined R&B recoding artist Rihanna on tour last year, Gary thought it was the perfect chance to pursue the project.

He and Mark recruited bassist Joe Pessia, an alumnus of Bettencourt’s band, DramaGods, as well as the guitarist for the Boston-based band, Tantric. Dana Spellman, who was once a student of Extreme’s former drummer and current Dream Theater drummer, Mike Mangini, handles drum duties.

“The time was right so Mark and I decided to pitch a record,” Gary said. “It was such an easy process. Mark and I came up with initial ideas for songs with lyrics and music and presented it to the band. Then, everyone threw in their two cents. I’m really inspired by the people I play and write with.”

The band’s self-titled debut album was recorded at Gary’s Massachusetts home and released shortly after in the United States on February 15th via the Italian-based Frontiers Record label. Pessia co-produced the album with Gary.

“He also engineered the whole thing,” Gary said of Pessia. “He has an objective opinion of the songs outside of what Mark and I think. And Spellman has an incredible memory. We can throw him three or four ideas and he remembers all the arrangements that we forget. He plays like a Manic and he’s always up for anything. You could say that about a lot of drummers but he brings a lot of passion to it. Recording with these guys was a lot of fun.”

Of the 12-tracks, Gary said “Stillborn,” “Just War Theory,” and “Love Thy Neighbor,” are among his favorites to sing at shows. He feels other songs are tougher to do live.

“I like the trilogy at the end of the album, ‘Slave’ and ‘Beyond The Garden/Kicking The Goads,’ but those are harder to perform,” he said. “It really depends on the environment you’re in.”

He said their brief tour of Japan earlier this summer helped them develop and fine-tune their music, as they performed eight shows in ten days for the tsunami and earthquake fund, Rock n’ Relief.

Additionally, Hurtsmile played a few gigs in the East Coast this summer and made a stop at Showcase Live in Foxboro, which is not too far from Gary’s hometown of Malden.

“It’s always good to play home,” Gary said. “They are always special shows.”

He said Boston gigs also tend to feel a bit nerve-wracking for him, as he lost his voice during a Van Halen show at what is now the Comcast Center in Mansfield in 1998. He sometimes feels unsettled prior to performing as a result.

“That show comes up in my mind every time I play in Boston,” he said. “The reason I lost my voice was because I didn’t have my game face on. I wasn’t prepared that night. The tour was successful and the fans were great but there were a few groups of loyal Sammy fans and Dave fans that sometimes got in my head when I was up there on stage.”

Nevertheless, he enjoyed his time with Van Halen and is proud of 3, the album he wrote and recorded with them. “Josephina” and “A Year to the Day” are two songs he enjoys most.

“Those three years with Van Halen were awesome,” Gary said. “They were great to work with. A lot of people think he has a crazy persona but Eddie Van Halen is very sweet and generous. He’s one of those guys who puts a guitar on and you can’t keep up with him because he’s a genius. The ideas just keep flowing out of him. Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen were great to me, too. We had a lot of fun doing that record and being on the road.”

When asked what he thought about Mangini taking over on drums for Mike Portnoy in the progressive rock band    Dream Theater, Gary said Mangini is certainly capable. In fact, he described Mangini and Portnoy as two of the “best drummers on the planet.”

He also said Mangini is in a position he can parallel to his experience with Van Halen.

“I know what he’s getting into,” said Gary. “There are a lot of loyal fans that are going to hate him just for replacing Portnoy. But, it’s the perfect band for him because they are progressive and Mangini can bring some craziness to it. He’s one of a kind.”

Currently, Hurtsmile is working on new material. In 2012, Gary plans on picking up with the members of Extreme, including Bettencourt, bassist Pat Badger, and drummer Kevin Figueiredo. The band last performed in 2009 at the House of Blues in Boston.

“Right now, Nuno and I are writing material separately but we’ll get together when he finishes up with Rihanna and we’ll write for the next record,” he said. “We’re hoping to get music out before we tour but you’ll probably see us before you hear new material.”

Before the interview ended, Gary cleared up a humorous misunderstanding that was documented about his athletic aspirations. During a question and answer segment he had with a reporter when Extreme debuted, a reporter asked him what he wanted to do for a living when he was a child and he said he hoped to be a professional basketball player but a knee injury derailed his dreams. He didn’t think the reporter took him seriously.

“It was a joke but it’s been following me my whole career,” he said. “When you’re a kid, you want to be a sports hero but we both laughed during the interview because I’m not very tall.”

Hurtsmile

An open letter to our readers

Hello Everyone,

As all of you know by now, even though I will keep my position as Director of Marketing, I am a 50% owner of Limelight. I’ve always enjoyed marketing because it’s different than anything I’ve ever done. It’s fun, exciting and it’s not your typical office job. I especially enjoy promoting the local music scene. I know talent when I see it. I must say that just from this year’s Limelight Music Awards, there’s a lot of tremendous talent out there. In my capacity as co-owner, I would like to help all the amazing bands in New England get noticed and be heard. Just because there is a slight change in ownership doesn’t mean Limelight is totally changing, the only thing changing is that Limelight will be better than ever! We will continue to provide the same coverage that we’ve been known for and are still going to have our amazing and talented staff that includes Jessica A. Botelho (Managing Editor), Kristen Pierson (Photographer) and Gorette Sousa (Graphic Designer). Some new faces will be added to the fold in the upcoming weeks. As to the future, we hope to upgrade the Limelight website and we have some exciting events planned throughout the region to showcase local musicians. Furthermore, our five year anniversary concert will be coming up soon so make sure to keep posted for that! Thanks for reading and I appreciate all of the support I’ve received so far…you rock!!

Sincerely,

Katie Botelho

Co-Owner, Limelight Magazine & JKB Management & Booking

PHOTO BY KRISTEN PIERSON

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!