Interview: Robert Randolph

Interview: Robert Randolph
December 28, 2006 02:55 PM
by Christina Fuoco
LiveDaily Contributor

With active airplay on MTV2, Robert Randolph and the Family Band are happy for the mainstream success they've had with the album "Colorblind."

"People are really tired of the hype and being let down by something that's not good and not different," frontman/pedal-steel guitarist Randolph said of that success during a recent interview. "People are really grasping on us because we bring a touch of a certain energy and joyful vibe to the music scene. A lot of people just kind of forgot how to be true to themselves."

That "energy and joyful vibe" was founded in New Jersey's House of God Church, where Randolph honed his skills as a steel-guitar player. Woven throughout "Colorblind" is a positive vibe that he feels is a vital part of his music.

"It's always important for me because I grew up in church. Growing up in church and having this outlook on life, we're taught how to be positive, stay positive. When you get down about something, you have to be faithful and prayerful. It helps you gain a certain mental thing. For me to be able to share that message and be positive with people and give the kind of things they didn't have growing up in their lives is a great thing for me to share with them."

A native of Orange, NJ, Randolph--who is joined in the band by bassist/vocalist Danyel Morgan, drummer Marcus Randolph and Hammond organ/pianist Jason Crosby--talked to LiveDaily about the making of "Colorblind," working with Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews, and staying humble.

LiveDaily: The album has a real live feel to it. Did you record it live?

Robert Randolph: Yeah we did it all in the studio live. We wrote a bunch of songs with a bunch of different people. We did the album in a lot of different pieces because we worked with so many different people--Clapton, Daniel Lanois, so many people. What we wanted to do was just get in and take a lot of the influences that we got from a lot of these people and write the songs first, and go in and create the most energy and the most sounds we could get out of it. It was a great time.

What was it like to work with such a range of artists?

We had been on tour, especially with Matthews, for the last couple years doing a bunch of shows with him and the band. Being with Clapton on tour and Santana on tour, we had learned a lot. For us, it was getting in and seeing the mindset these guys get into when they are making records and how to learn a lot from them. It was a great time. Working with Dave Matthews, he's so crafty I mainly wanted to get in his head and figure him out and see how his process was. That was a great thing. Doing a song like "Love is the Only Way" on the record, that was a song he had had for his band when they were making their last record. He was just like, "Man, I got this song and I think you could really turn it into something else. I think you guys could really do a different thing." We got in there and I listened to it and I was like, "Wow, this is cool. Let's see what we can do." Being with him helped us out a lot.

It must have been a really educational experience.

That's what this whole process was. We started out just coming from church and having the whole gospel background, and really just kind of going into clubs and playing and doing a lot of jamming. The last couple records we made were cool. But this one really taught us a lot in terms of having a song and how to really expand on a song, instrumentally, vocally and the whole mind frame of it. That was the key about doing this thing here.

What was the most important thing you learned?

Being with a guy like Eric Clapton and hearing about how he first was a regular guitar player and he had never really thought about having this long career. He saw himself as a guitar player and just really wanted to build on that. That's basically how I was at the beginning--just a guitar player. Really, now, I've learned how the guitar meshes together with the song and the vocal idea that you have. It's opened so many [musical] doors. Just having a conversation with him led to "Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That." You got the guitar first coming out, but then you surround the guitar with these vocals and make it big and joyful for everybody. That's one of the things I loved about it: not just playing guitar through the whole thing; having the guitar help you create melodies and a mood. That was the main thing that I learned from working on this album.

What was it like to work with producer Tom Whalley?

He doesn't really care about hit songs or anything like that. He just wants to see musicians and artists have really long careers and be true to what you're doing. He gave us the opportunity to do that--to be original. Every time we were worried about something, he was like, "Just be true to yourself and remember what you're doing. Twenty years later, you want to look back and say, 'Man, that was cool what I did.'" You don't want to do something to just be trendy. The label was really supportive of us the whole time.

As a child, what inspired you to pick up the guitar?

For me, it was mainly growing up in church. I grew up and saw a lot of older guys playing lap steels and pedal-steel guitars in my church, which was kind of like this original church. For me, growing up and watching them, that was the outlet I had to try to be original. My family is a big musical family. My sisters and brothers are all singers.

You've been called the "master of pedal steel guitar." How does that feel?

Well, I don't really claim myself to be a master or trying to be a master. That's cool when people say that. That means I kind of took something in a traditional way and kind of changed it around and tried to do something different. Hopefully, that could influence a lot of other kids and a lot of other people these days to do something just a little different. It kind of puts pressure on me to keep being creative.

Do you hear from a lot of kids that you've inspired them?

Oh yeah, there's a lot of kids from all over who have been inspired--a lot of kids, even a lot of inner-city kids who see me on TV. It gave them a sense of change and direction in their life--something they can do different. That is a cool thing when I get that.

What do you have planned for 2007?

Touring, making a couple more videos, really collaborating with a bunch of others like Daniel Lanois, Dave Matthews Band, working on their new record. Really, just working with a lot of people and keep it moving, keep the train rolling, and for me to continue to stay humble and open up a bunch of different doors.

Colorblind isn't an adequate title for this album. Randolph's follow-up to 2003's Grammy-nominated Unclassified is bright and energetic as a tie-dye-patterned pinwheel. Mostly its 11 tunes are about grooves plucked from the era of Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder, dappled with brilliant classic rock musicianship (think Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck) and driven by frenetic verve. When things slow down, it's usually to let the young pedal steel virtuoso revisit his roots in the Holiness Church, although the team of pop-world songwriters he collaborates with make the lyrics of Randolph's R&B hymns ambiguous between devotion to a woman or to God. Guests Dave Matthews (singing backup on "Love Is the Only Way") and Eric Clapton (lending second guitar to a hot-but-rote cover of the Doobie Brothers' hit "Jesus Is Just Alright") are oddly subdued, but neo-soul diva Leela James puts sex and smolder into her duet with Randolph on "Stronger." Ultimately, though, this album's all about Randolph himself, who has loosened his grip on the blues and gospel bedrock of his earlier playing to become a master of flashy funk and rock riffs and the owner of a tone so gargantuan it's earned him a place in rock-guitar Olympus--if not Heaven. --Ted Drozdowski

Interview: Taylor Hicks

Interview: Taylor Hicks
December 21, 2006 11:46 AM
by Christina Fuoco
LiveDaily Contributor

Soulful pop singer Taylor Hicks was crowned the fifth "American Idol" in front of 36.4 million television viewers May 24, including his legions of fans nicknamed the "Soul Patrol." So what was the 30-year-old thinking as confetti rained on him?

"Don't fall over and don't let your knees buckle," Hicks said with a slight giggle during a recent phone interview from New York City. "I'm very grateful for all those people who watched 'American Idol' and all the people who voted."

Those 63 million-plus votes have since been parlayed into Hicks' self-titled debut, which hit stores last week. It was produced by Matt Serletic of Matchbox Twenty fame; guest songwriters include Bryan Adams, Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Diane Warren and Kara DioGuardi (of Platinum Weird). The closing number, "The Right Place," was originally written by Adams and Jim Vallance for Ray Charles to record before his death.

"It's got some groovy stuff on there," said Hicks, of Birmingham, AL.

Just after a recent "Good Morning America" appearance, Hicks talked to LiveDaily about his album, his "American Idol" peers and his soulful side.

LiveDaily: What was it like to work with two-time Grammy winner Matt Serletic?

Taylor Hicks: Matt knew who I was as an artist, which was like a double whammy. He just kind of understood me. He took some time getting to know me as an artist. He came out and saw some live shows. He was really great at understanding who I was and the direction that I wanted to go musically for this album.

How would you describe that direction?

A soulful slant on modern music--modern soul music. Maybe a modern slant on modern soul music.

That's the vibe I picked up in listening to it. I expected it to be a little more old school, but was pleasantly surprised. It's something you don't really hear on the radio.

Well, let's get out and put it on the radio. I'm ready to do that. That's kind of what we wanted to do. The easy part is making an old-school record. The hardest part is making an old-school and a new-school record.

Are you prepared for the promotional machine--all the TV appearances and the tour that begins at the end of February?

Oh, yes. I'm very excited for both. I'm excited to get on TV again because I enjoyed performing visually. The tour, I'm stoked about as well. I'm learning how to be a recording artist, and I'm really trying to hone my skills as a live performer. I'm just trying to make it happen.

You said on "Good Morning America" that your tour begins Feb. 24. How long will that last?

Hopefully 10 years. [Laughs]

How was it to work with Rob Thomas?

Rob sent me a wonderful song, "Dream Myself Awake," and it was really cool. We kind of come from the same playground--that soulful, blue-eyed-soul singer. And some of his music fits me.

Did you instantly take to that song?

Yeah, I thought it was really good. It grew legs and it came to life. I was really pleased that it worked out the way it did on the record.

You really worked with some heavy hitters on this album. What was it like to have all these great people in your corner?

It was wonderful. It really helped the album out. It made the album go better, and it was one of those things where you have really talented people in your corner and it helps the whole project.

Tell me about the tour. Are you going to hit arenas, clubs, theaters?

I'm going back to my intimate music setting. I'm going back to theaters and really cool music venues that I think would be great for some really great live music. I've been playing music venues for a long time. I feel like the theater is the place for this album. The theater and the clubs.

How does the music on "Taylor Hicks" compare to the albums you released prior to "American Idol"?

I just think it's an extension of that, with more of a production value involved. I think I was able to expand on the production side of the music. I'm just very thankful for Matt Serletic and all the people who were involved in the album to help me get this modern sound out.

So, basically, your older fans would see this as a logical progression?

Yeah, there's a little more productive quality on this album but the journey's just beginning. This is one album that's going to be taking that route. I'm happy with it. You can definitely still hear Taylor Hicks on the album.

The album has a very live vibe to it. Is that how it was recorded?

Interestingly enough, we did. We took the old-school way of recording, which was recording all the instruments live and adding all the stuff later.

For this album, you had the opportunity to re-record new versions of the self-penned "Soul Thing" and "The Deal," two songs that previously appeared on your second indie album, "Under the Radar."

I've been having ideas to re-do those songs for awhile. Now that I've gotten the opportunity, I got to dig in with them.

For those who haven't heard "Under the Radar," how are the songs different?

Maybe we had a little bit of an extra verse, a bridge. Production-wise, some of the verses and the bridges are different and stuff.

Do you still keep in touch with fellow "American Idol" contestants?

I talked to Elliott [Yamin] not too long ago. I left a message for Bucky [Covington]. I saw Chris [Daughtry] and Katharine [McPhee] not too long ago. I run into them and talk to them.

The least you can say about Taylor Hicks is that he's not like prior American Idol champs: he already had almost a decade of gigging in bars when he won the fifth season in 2006, complete with songwriting experience, an ability to play harmonica and guitar, and a pair of self-released albums. On his major-label debut, the Silver Fox settles in a plush, comfortable sound framed by vintage-sounding soul and R&B, as well as classic rock--it's comfort food for the ears. The one thing that's not here is Hicks's first single, "Do I Make You Proud." Other than that, the songs are a well-balanced mix of oldies (Marvin Gaye's "Wherever I Lay My Hat"), newbies that sound like oldies (Rob Thomas's "Dream Myself Awake," Bryan Adams's "The Right Place"), the obligatory Diane Warren ballad ("Places I've Been"), and some party-fun anthems ("The Runaround," "Heaven Knows"). This last track actually is one of two paying tribute to Hicks's patron saint, Ray Charles--it references the piano riff from "What'd I Say," while "The Right Place" was originally written for Charles. Clearly, there are worse people to look up to. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

Interview: Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz

Interview: Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz
December 14, 2006 04:10 PM
by Christina Fuoco
LiveDaily Contributor

Multiplatinum rock band Fall Out Boy could play large venues in support of its forthcoming album "Infinity on High," but bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz hopes to teach fellow bands a lesson by gigging in clubs for diehard fans right out of the gate.

"I think it's arrogant for us to go out there and to assume that everybody loves our band and we're God's gift and that we don't have to go back out and earn it to some extent all over again," Wentz said during a recent phone interview. "To me, that's us sending a message to other bands--both bands we're friends with and bands that look up to us. You can't just sit there and let someone else do the work. You're going to have to go out and do that."

Thus, Wentz and his bandmates--singer Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley--will take to the club circuit in January with New Found Glory, Early November, Permanent Me and Lifetime.

"We've got these fans who are really loyal and really dedicated to us, and it's important for us to keep them that way," Wentz said. "We like seeing them there. We like feeling the heat off the crowd. We like seeing the sweated-out eyes in the front row. It's something that is indescribable, that we thought would be cool and fun to do and to do it with the bands that we're doing it with, like New Found Glory, who we looked up to and we wanted to play with for a long time. Early November are old friends, and Permanent Me and Lifetime are just cool bands."

Fall Out Boy's new album, "Infinity on High," is due in stores Feb. 6.. The group debuted the first single, "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," at the American Music Awards, and it is streaming on the group's official website.

Meanwhile, in perhaps the most blatant example of just how big Fall Out Boy has become, California toy manufacturer SOTA recently released a series of action figures depicting the group's members.

While in Minneapolis recently, Wentz talked to LiveDaily about the making of "Infinity on High," having an action figure of himself and being the "weird kid."

LiveDaily: How's the tour going so far?

Pete Wentz: Ummm, Interesting.

Why do you say "interesting" so hesitantly?

It's a little weird. It's a lot of radio shows that we have to get up at 6 a.m. to fly places, and that does not bode well for us, because we go to bed at like 4 a.m. Then we're always the oddball at every show. We're a bit too melodic for a lot of the heavier shows, and a bit too rock for some of the more pop shows. But it's fun being the weird kid.

How's the reception been to the new songs?

It's been very good. We've only been playing one ["This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race."].

It sounded really good on the American Music Awards.

Did it? My in-ears [monitor] broke so I couldn't tell. To me, it sounded so bad it was unbelievable. It's hard to tell. When you're cooking your own food, you always think it's bad, I think. It's a very human quality. Please don't let any of the readers know I have any human qualities.

Oh, I won't. I'll make them think you're some kind of god.

No, no, no. We're going for some kind of machine. I don't want to piss God off and not make it into heaven. Some kind of machine.

You may not be a machine, but you are an action figure. How do you feel about that? You're the hardest one to find, by the way.

I kind of consider them dolls. I'm like, "Watch out Ken. Barbie's got a new boyfriend." [Laughs] Since I was 8, I wanted to be an action figure or to be a doll. It's every boy's dream. I put them up next to all my other toys. I don't even really care what anybody else thinks. It was just so cool for us to be able to do that.

So what was it like to work with Babyface on the new album?

It must have been great for him. Um, no, it was cool. It's like when you date a girl for four years and then like all of a sudden you're single and you're, like, trying to kiss the other girl and you bump foreheads because you haven't kissed somebody new in so long. It took a little bit to kind of get used to. But he's probably one of the funniest and most talented people I've ever met in my life. It was a really good experience.

What was the most important thing that you learned from him?

Uh, you want to know the actual truth?


No matter how big your band gets or who you think you are, don't get a private jet because you'll lose all your money. [Laughs] That sounds about right. Not that any of us have had a chance to do that, but we were like, "Dude, private jets would be so cool." He's like, "Never get a private jet. That would be a waste of all your money."

Who else did you collaborate with on this album? I understand that a member of New Found Glory is on the album.

Yes. And our friend Ryan [Ross] from Panic! At the Disco plays a guitar solo on it. And then our boss, the president, Jay-Z is on the record as well, on "Thriller." It's an eclectic mix.

Did you write most of the songs on the album again? And did you write them before you went in the studio, or while you were in the studio?

Yes. It was about half and half this time.

Is it more difficult to do one than the other?

I think, for me, it's hard to ever say something's finished. I have a hard time doing that. I tend to focus on single words, you know, and they will just kind of drive me crazy. At some point, Patrick had to tell me "Enough is enough. You can't sit here and weed through every single little word. You're never going to be happy with it."

In the "Fall Out Boyz" video you have on your website, you say that the punk-pop thing is over. Do you really think that's true?

I don't know. I kind of don't. Green Day started doing it 15 years ago and was the biggest band again last year. I don't think it's really possible to say it's over. Do I think that the guys at labels sort of took notice of some of the rock bands that were bigger this year and it became a little more saturated? Probably. Whatever genre you put them in, there's a lot of bands that outstand and outlast their genre--everything from Linkin Park to The Beatles to The Rolling Stones. Everyone pegged them, put them in this category and they ended up rising above that. If anything, that's what I hope Fall Out Boy accomplishes.

Is that why you went for an R&B/classic rock sound on this album? That's what I've picked up from the songs I've heard.

I don't know. To me, it's like a misnomer; if you take any selection of songs and put them next to each other you can make an argument in any direction. I could tell you four songs to listen to and you could say, "Oh this could be on 'From Under the Cork Tree,'" our last record. Or I'll give you four and you'll say, "Oh, this is indie rock." I just think it's a natural progression. It's our growth as songwriters and our experiences in the world. All of a sudden, our eyes have adjusted to the dark and we can see different things. You realize there's other things in the room rather than when you first walked in the room and you just thought it was black.

Interview: Ziggy Marley

Interview: Ziggy Marley
December 07, 2006 11:47 AM
by Christina Fuoco
LiveDaily Contributor

Reggae progeny Ziggy Marley feels fortunate that he is on the road touring in support of his spiritual and emotional album "Love is My Religion."

"I'm lucky that I can spread the message of love," Marley said in a telephone interview this week.

"Love is My Religion" is Marley's second solo album, without his brothers and sisters who comprise The Melody Makers. For the 12-song collection, Marley wrote all the material, played most of the instruments and produced a fair share of the tracks with help from co-producer Ross Hogarth, a Grammy winner.
Marley penned most of the songs as he traveled the world, and filled out the album with a few leftover tracks from his youth. The album is filled with the Marleys' trademark reggae sounds, bolstered by danceable grooves and African percussion.

LiveDaily: The message of love and friendship seems to be a running theme on "Love is My Religion."

Ziggy Marley: It was some stuff I was writing about that came together. I wasn't meaning to write about those themes.

So it wasn't a conscious decision to write about friendship and love?

No, no. I wanted to write an album that was kind of more spiritual, more emotional.

Does that reflect where you were at the time you were writing the album?

We're trying to be. We're trying to get feeling of the alignment of the planets.

How long did it take you to record "Love is My Religion? And was it shorter or longer than your previous efforts?

It took one year to record the album. That's about [the same].

Tell me about the recording process. Did you record it any differently than you did your previous albums?

This one, it was a different process. I did it in a home-studio vibe, and it was me alone spending a lot of time with the music, trying to figure out the parts and arrangements and stuff like that. I wasn't working with a producer for most of this record. It was just me working late at night in the studio. It was different.

Was it more difficult?

No, it's more spiritual. That's what it's all about. There was more opportunity to realize that we're not alone in our existence. It's a coincidence how things happen. There's a lot more happening when you're alone in an environment. You can actually perceive the things you wouldn't perceive if you were around a bunch of people.

So you prefer to work alone? So do I.

Some people don't work like that. Some people don't like to be alone.

I understand you played most, if not every, instrument on the album.

Not every. I played a lot. I had engineer working with me, Ross, who played some instruments, too.

That must have been a lot of work.

It's not work. It's great fun. It's great enjoyment. It's experimentation and mystique that worked.

When you recorded your first solo album, "Dragonfly," why did you decide it was time to split from The Melody Makers?

The group was doing other things. It was just a time when everyone was searching for other avenues to express themselves.

Do you see any collaborations with The Melody Makers in the future?

Maybe not in that form. There will be family collaborations some time down the road.

Have any of your family members come out on tour with you?

Yeah, this year we did the "Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival" with me, my brother Stephen and Bunny Wailer. It was good.

2006 release and second solo album by Bob Marley's son, the follow-up to the successful Dragonfly album from 2003. Features 12 tracks total including 10 new songs plus an Acoustic Version of the title track and 'Be Free'

Interview: Paul Stanley

Interview: Paul Stanley
November 30, 2006 03:24 PM
by Paul Gargano
LiveDaily Contributor

In the world of KISS, there's no such thing as too much. While that line of thinking has served the band well for more than three decades, frontman Paul Stanley isn't afraid to admit that sometimes, less can be more.

Such is the case with his latest release, "Live to Win," his first solo album since the eponymous KISS solo efforts were issued in 1978. Absent is the bombast, pomp and pageantry that marks his full-time band. Present are the sweeping choruses and lavish songwriting that marked the band's more memorable late-'80s and early-'90s moments, as well as Stanley's signature vocal tone and unmistakable style.

Why "Live to Win," and why now? Paul Stanley sat down with LiveDaily to delve deeper into the new release.

LiveDaily: This is your first solo record in nearly three decades. Does the material span that time period?

Paul Stanley: Everything I wrote on this album was written for the album. I've never believed in recording old material, it's kind of like giving people old news, you know? I've always believed that, when you give somebody an album, it should be like a fresh newspaper, where you get ink on your fingers. It's today's news. So, for me, it's where I'm at now, things in my life, my perspective on my music as an individual.

Paul Stanley Live To Win -

You've got a core base of musicians on the album, but the lineup changes slightly, from song-to-song.

When I thought about doing the album, I wanted to approach it, partially, as the director of a film. Producing an album, for me, meant casting each song. As opposed to writing songs for a specific group of musicians, it was bringing in the right musicians to play on the songs. I had a core group that was really awesome and connected really well with me, and there was no reason to change the menu on every song. So the core remained the same, but it's a lot easier to stay true to form when you don't have to consider anyone else's opinion. I was very interested in what everybody had to say but, quickly and ultimately, it was about what I wanted to do, and my vision. What was really cool for me was that everybody who worked on the album not only understood the vision, but was fired up by the songs and what was coming out of the speakers. It was a labor of passion, and something where I was only concerned with turning out the album I heard in my head, without regard for having glitz and star power from other sources. It was purely about making the album I wanted to make. This was purely a labor of love.

Judging from a lot of the songs, it sounds like it was literally a labor of love, as well.

Well, you know, live and learn! [Laughing] I sing about what I know, what I experience. I try not to get too introspective and deep, but I think most of the things I sing about have always been fairly universal. Without making any effort, what I wanted to do on this album was purely sing about my life. My life is not that different than anybody else's. When you cut away all the trappings on the outside, life is life and it's ultimately what you make of it.

There seems to come a point in everyone's life where they strive to get back to the basics. Does this album reflect that?

Of course. In spite of all the folly of fashion, we ultimately find ourselves wearing our old blue jeans. What is there in life, and what is the core of life? It's relationships. Whether they're sexual, emotional, whatever the category, relationships are what make this world go 'round, and it's also what I think is most rewarding in life, the product of relationships.

With the overblown largeness of KISS, and the "Star Child" character, does it feel good to be able to express yourself outside those parameters?

Well, KISS is a facet of who I am, but it's not all of it. There is undoubtedly more freedom in doing something under my name and without either the politics or the dynamics and personalities of a band.

After decades of compromise in the band setting, did this album become a necessity?

Nobody should confuse being in KISS with compromise. It's a different format and calls for a different type of participation. It's not compromise at all. I wanted the freedom to explore my own abilities and boundaries, or break any boundaries I had and basically do what I wanted without any of the advantages or burdens of the history of the band. This was about me being free to not consider other people, not consider a balance of material from a band, not consider any type of equality, not to consider feelings of other people, just to make music. That's something you can only do under your own banner. This isn't about taking KISS fans someplace they haven't been, although everyone's invited along. This is really about me doing an album for me. First and foremost I had to please myself. I'd like to believe that, if I please myself, I'm going to please some other people. If you try and second guess the public or your fans, and you fail, you're filled with the sense of, "Why didn't I follow my heart?" I'd rather do things without any compromise, and if I fail, I still have that comfort.

A lot of the songs on "Live to Win" sound like they could have been on "Crazy Nights." There's a lush, melodic tone throughout the album.

I'm a product of a school of crafting songs. What's made KISS last, beyond the bombast and the iconic imagery, is songs that you can sing; that's what I'm comfortable doing, crafting a song. There's a certain comfort in hearing a chorus and knowing that the next time it comes around, you'll be able to sing it. Anybody can write a song, but that doesn't make you a songwriter. I know people that think because they've written a song, they're actually songwriters. Hate to break that disillusionment, but this is something I've worked my [entire] life on. I wasn't aiming for any kind of balance of material or type of material, but when I would write, I knew what I didn't want to hear.

"Live to Win," the song, has a "Rocky" or "Visionquest" soundtrack feel to it.

That's what I hear, that's what people are saying, we'll see .... Why's that the title of the album? My philosophy has always been to live with the philosophy that no one can get in the way or stop you from succeeding. You are either your best friend or your greatest obstacle. I'm living proof of living to win. One might say I'm lucky, but I tell you, the harder you work, the luckier you get. In life, you can either be a victim and bitch about the adverse experiences in your life, or you can take a deep breath and charge forward. If I had knuckled under to people telling me what was impossible and what I was capable of and incapable of, we wouldn't be having this conversation, there wouldn't be a KISS, and there wouldn't be a "Live to Win." Again, it's about believing in yourself, deciding what boundaries you have, and what life and goals you're going to strive for. My life has always been about, "You can go with me, or you can go behind me, but if you stand in front of me, you're going to be pretty sore." Obstacles are what you see when you lose sight of your goals.

Are the obstacles less, with the level of success you've achieved?

People ask me what I get from success and fame--I get freedom. I get freedom to do things my way. I've always done it my way, and that's what led to my success. At this point, my freedom is that much greater because what I have access to is that much greater. The ability to be able to go into a studio and go in and record without anybody telling you what you should do, or any direction or any feedback, man, that was worth the price of admission. And that's all it's about. In that way, that's what we all owe ourselves, to take care of ourselves. Be good to yourself, do what you can, do everything you want to do, because we don't get a second chance. This is the only life I think I'm going to know.

Live to Win is new the solo release from iconic KISS frontman Paul Stanley. The voice and songwriting force behind such KISS classics as "Detroit Rock City," "Black Diamond," Hard Luck Woman" and "Tears Are Fallin'," Stanley's career with KISS spans more than three decades and in excess of 100 million records sold worldwide.

Stripping all the legendary bombast away, what becomes starkly clear is that besides rocking relentlessly, the power of human emotion and conviction on Live to Win can rattle not only the walls, but also touch the heart and soul of the listener. "What I wanted to do on this album was sing about my life because my life is not that different than anybody else's," he continues. "The truth is, what we all deal with in life is pretty similar. You change the names and the story's the same."

"This album is purely a labor of love," says Stanley. "It is a labor of passion, and something where I was concerned with turning out the album I heard in my head, without regard for having glitz and star power from other sources. It was purely about making the album I wanted to make." While the heartfelt "Loving You Without You Now" was written without any outside collaboration, the remainder of the album reunites him with former KISS songwriting partners Desmond Child [Aerosmith, LeeAnn Rimes] and Holly Knight [Tina Turner, Pat Benatar], and introduces new collaborators including Andreas Carlsson [Bon Jovi, Britney Spears], John 5 [Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson] and Marti Frederiksen [Aerosmith, Faith Hill]. Seven of the ten tracks were co-written with Child and/or Carlsson, with Stanley and Child joined by John 5 on "Where Angels Dare" and Frederiksen on "Lift," and Knight teaming with the frontman on "It's Not Me."

Live to Win is self-produced by Stanley, who provides lead vocals, guitar and percussion alongside a studio core of guitarist Corky James, drummer Victor Indrizzo and keyboardist Harry Sommerdahl. Also performing on the album are former KISS bandmate Bruce Kulick and guitarist John 5.

"I've always believed that when you give somebody an album, it should be like a fresh newspaper, where you get ink on your fingers and it's today's news," says Stanley, who wrote and co-wrote the ten tracks on Live to Win specifically for the new release. "For me, this album is where I'm at now - This is where things are in my life, and my perspective on my music."

Entertainment News -- Network Archive


Restaurant Chain Launches New Country Music Collection

Restaurant Chain Launches New Country Music Collection

(NewsUSA) - Most people know Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores for their comfort food and gift items, but over the past few years, the chain has also become a player on the music scene.

Since launching its own music label in 2003, Cracker Barrel has sold more than 2.5 million CDs, including titles by Amy Grant, Sara Evans, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Johnny Cash, and the Charlie Daniels Band. Cracker Barrel has also introduced the Grand Ole Opry Live Classics series.

Using in-store play as a way to entice consumers to the cash registers, Cracker Barrel is carving a new niche in the music retailer sector. Its latest release is "Songs of the Year," which is available only at Cracker Barrel stores or

The collection features country music's top artists performing songs that earned "Song of the Year" recognition from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music or the Grammy Awards.

"Songs of the Year" includes Trisha Yearwood singing "Back Home Again," Trace Adkins performing "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and country legend George Jones teaming up with Dierks Bentley to deliver "Murder on Music Row." Deana Carter joins rock icons Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart for a potent version of Vince Gill's "Go Rest High on That Mountain."

Randy Travis, JoDee Messina, Blake Shelton, Lonestar, The Wreckers, Jack Ingram, Jamie O'Neal, Deana Carter and Michael McDonald are among the artists participating on the 12-song collection.

"This CD continues our tradition of connecting country music's past and present," said Simon Turner, Cracker Barrel's chief marketing officer.

Cracker Barrel collaborated with Vector Management on this project to generate support for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Cracker Barrel and Vector will donate $125,000 to the not-for-profit museum from "Songs of the Year" sales.

Interview: Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies

Interview: Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies
November 16, 2006 01:14 PM
by Christina Fuoco
LiveDaily Contributor

For 15-plus years, Barenaked Ladies have watched their fans become part of the band's family. Attending a BNL concert has become a rite of passage to some. The Canadian pop act, known for its witty and sarcastic lyrics, acknowledges this and honors those fans with the title of the latest album, "Barenaked Ladies are Me."

"I think fans feel a lot of ownership over this band," singer/songwriter Eric Robertson said. "They're very vested in what we do and how we do it. We see so much interaction from not just shows and our website but from the blog we maintain, and with the title we just wanted to reflect that.

"People feel we're their band," he added. "The people who come out to see us time and time again, it's their thing. It's what identifies them. It's gone beyond these five guys making music. It's people identifying themselves through it. We kind of wanted to reach out and embrace that a bit."

The band--which also includes singer/guitarist Steven Page, bassist Jim Creeggan, drummer Tyler Stewart and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn-- released the new album Sept. 12. It is the group's most mellow to date, marking a departure from its humor-filled collections that include songs such as "One Week," "Be My Yoko Ono" and "If I Had a Million Dollars."

On the eve of the Barenaked Ladies' tour, Robertson talked to LiveDaily about the change in tempo, adapting the new material for the stage and the potential downside of hosting a cruise.

LiveDaily: Are you looking forward to the tour?

Ed Robertson: Hell no. I'm excited about playing all this new music, but I'm very unexcited about sleeping on a tour bus again. It sucks a trailer load of a--. [Laughs]

I'm looking forward to hearing the songs from the new album.

We're all really happy with it. Oddly, I'm not sure why. Maybe because it's a very band-oriented record; we recorded it very naturally. All the stuff is translating really naturally to live. Where it seems like in the past the new songs took a couple weeks of rehearsal to kind of work them in and figure out how to play them, some of these songs, from the first time we played them, it was like, "Oh that sounds really good." It was a lot of work on the back-up vocals because we went a little back-up vocal crazy on this record. So that's been a lot of work. But I'm looking forward to playing them.

BNL Easy -

It must be really flattering to know that fans take such strong ownership of the band.

Yeah, flattering and frightening at the same time. There's this whole dominion of people who are in some ways reliant on what it is you do. At the root of it, you still need to be making music based on what moves you creatively, where your mood is at, what you're thinking about. Sometimes, it's daunting to realize that there are all these people listening.

Especially with this album. This seems like the most emotional album you've released so far.

I think for years, since we released "Maybe You Should Drive" [in 1994], every record we've put out, people say, "This is a much more serious record for you guys." It's just the fact that people don't think of us as a serious band. They only see us kind of clowning around and goofing around. That's certainly a huge part of who we are and who we've always been. Every time we release a record, people always say, "This is a much more mature record." For the first time, I think they might actually be right. This might be a more mature Barenaked Ladies record. We're older. We're 36 now. We're not 18 anymore. I think this record is more emotionally close, a little less guarded than records in the past. There's still wit there, but I think there's less sarcasm.

Why is that? Did that reflect the mood you were in at the time?

I think it's just where we are at writing right now, and what we wanted to say. It's a lot of music. We're thinking of it as all 29 of the songs [that were written for the album] that we released in various ways. It's kind of difficult to deconstruct and say what it's about. It's about a lot of things.

It's definitely a logical progression, though.

Yeah, absolutely. It felt really natural for us. That was kind of one of our main thrusts this time around--and to not worry about a collection of songs so much and not have to pare it down and say these are the 12 songs that represent where Barenaked Ladies are at right now. In the past, some really great songs have been left behind because they don't really hang with a small group of songs. It would shift the mood to too ballad-heavy, or too dark or too rock or whatever. This time around, it was very liberating to say, "We're going to work on all the songs and make each one as good as we can as a song, and we'll put them all out and not worry about it."

Was it hard to open up a little bit more, and make this a lot less guarded?

Um, yes. There are songs on this record that have been kicking around for a while that I was almost, maybe, too close to to finish them. There are some songs that are emotionally raw. Sometimes you just think, "Do I really want to go out there and play that song every night and talk about that song?" It was playing a part of one of those songs for a friend and having them say, "Wow, I think that's my favorite song I've ever heard you do." You realize sometimes things that are difficult for you as an artist or a writer connect the most. I think it was just not being afraid to let those songs in there. I know that some of the songs that I like the most are pretty emotionally raw. It was just having the guts or the abandon to let it go and let some of that stuff out there.

What song are you talking about?

Not telling.

BNL Wind It Up -

Fair enough. It seems like on this album there was a lot more of the sharing of the vocal and writing duties. Would you say that's true?

Yes. I think, if anything, it was a decision to not think about it too much. The one big sticking point on this record was a song called "Sound of Your Voice," which is a song that Kev wrote and, when we first recorded it, Kev sang it. Our manager came back to us and said, "Love the song. Steve's got to sing it." We never work like that. All that stuff, we do on our own. Like, take a song like "Too Little Too Late." I wrote it, and Steve and I finished it together, but I said, "You'd be a lot better singing this. Your voice is just stronger for this kind of thing." Those kinds of decisions happen very organically. Things that I sing, things that Steve sings. Songs just seem to be suited for one guy's voice or the other. When Kev brought "Sound of Your Voice" to the band, we all really liked it. We were playing it, Kev sang it, it was great. We were all really into it. And then our manager was, like, "Steve's got to sing this one." We were like, "Oh, that's, like, weird now. Now we have to have this whole discussion." Kev, right from the beginning, was like, "I don't care. Have him sing it. Yeah, it's great. I like the song. He'd be great singing it." But we were all weirded out that we were going to upset Kev. Kev totally didn't care. Steve felt he was stepping on Kev's toes. Kev didn't really care--or did he? That was the whole discussion. In the end, Steve sang it and it was f---ing great. I liked Kev singing it, and I was like, "I don't want to let management push us around." And then Steve sang it, and it was amazing.

Are you going to be selling live CDs of each show?

Yes, we are. We've got our main ProTools man with us. He'll be mixing every show and uploading it the next day. We're trying to find a way to be able to sell them that night as people walk out of the show, but it's really difficult to pull off. We want the mix to be better. To do it that night, it would pretty much have to be a board tape or a live mix on the fly. If Paul can spend more time with it and actually mix it the next day, I think people actually get a better product in the end. So that's the route that we're going. We'll see what happens. If we can get up to speed with him mixing it on the fly, that would be pretty cool.

Are you going to be playing any Christmas songs as you get closer to the holidays?

When we get closer to Christmas. Probably not on the tour proper, which goes up until about Dec. 5, I think. Then we're gonna do a swing of Christmas shows after that. Not a proper Christmas tour like we've done the last two years, but we're going to tour still the 5th through the 21st, I think.

I see that you're doing a cruise, Ships and Dip, with Guster and the Barenaked Ladies' side projects. That is becoming a popular thing to do among bands.

I haven't heard of anyone doing it like we're doing it though. After we do it, maybe no one will want to do it, including us. [Laughs] We'll see how it goes. The cruises I've heard about, people go on a cruise, they pull up to an island somewhere, they get off the boat, there's a rock show, and then they get back on the boat and it's like being on a normal boat again, and maybe there's some cool bands on the boat or whatever. Our idea is to be very present on the boat, doing poolside karaoke, Scrabble tournaments on the deck, jam sessions and songwriting workshops. Our plan is to make it be a fan--and especially a real musical fan--dream trip. It remains to be seen if it's stalkertastic or not. We have an area on the ship we can retreat to if we need a little privacy, I believe it's called the boiler room. [Laughs] We'll see how it goes.

Where do you see Barenaked Ladies heading in the next couple years?

My goal and the goal of the band is to be less record focused, and just put out songs when we have them. Not focus on spending all this time recording a huge group of songs. I think the time has come for releasing a song this month, and releasing four songs three months later. Just whenever we have them, record them and put them out there. I think it's a better way to do it.

15+ years after their winsome indie debut, Canada's Barenaked Ladies come full circle here, dropping off the major label merry-go-round to re-embrace a DYI sensibility with typically breezy aplomb. But, as this collection's strong songs and crisp production attest, that hardly means the band didn't learn a thing or three during its successful tenure in the majors. The gorgeous melancholy of "Adrift" is apt preamble to a collection that's more thematically balanced and graced by an expansive sense of artistic democracy. While mainstays Steven Page and Ed Robertson contribute such patently torqued, BNL-mirthful fare as "Bank Job," "Bull in a China Shop," "Rule the World With Love" and "Wind It Up," there's a growing maturity and sense of reflection in their work as well, as evidenced by Page confessing his own emotional disconnection via the evocative, banjo-accordion lament "Everything Had Changed." But it's the strong, equally literate contributions of fellow band members Jim Creeggan ("Peterborough & the Kawathas") and Kevin Hearn ("Sound of Your Voice," "Vanishing") that truly expand BNL's horizons at a career juncture when many bands are all too happy to rest on their laurels or hew religiously to the formula that garnered them.

Interview: Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach

Interview: Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach
November 09, 2006 12:13 PM
by Paul Gargano
LiveDaily Contributor

At face value, "The Paramour Sessions" may appear to be little more than a collection of songs that comprise the latest release from nu-metal survivors Papa Roach. But, below the surface, the album beats with a pulse as vibrant as the band that spawned it, and as haunting as the houses that made the recordings holy.

One of the most storied estates in the Hollywood Hills, The Paramour lent a sense of historic awe and paranormal fascination to an already tumultuous period in Papa Roach's decade-plus history. Long before the site played studio host to artists as varied as Gwen Stefani and H.I.M., it was the1920s home of silent-movie star Antonio Moreno and wife Daisy Canfield. But, when the oil heiress died in a tragic accident in 1933, it cast the property into a state of perpetual disarray, seeing time as both a convent and a school for girls before being devastated by an earthquake in 1987.

As Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix shares in the following interview, sometimes it takes one era's tragedy to help unleash another era's triumph. "Last Resort" may have tagged Papa Roach the poster boys of the nu-metal movement, but "The Paramour Sessions" cements their status as rock-and-roll survivors. From here on out, it's history in the making... ...

LiveDaily: You started gravitating toward more of a rock sound on your last album, and this record continues that evolution.

Jacoby Shaddix: Yeah, most definitely. When we wrote "Getting Away with Murder," we were trying to find who we were as a band. There was a level of confidence there, but after playing it live, touring, getting a solid fan base and getting our success back--not on the strength of hype, but on good songs and a good show--we went back into the studio and the writing of this record with a new sense of confidence. That was one of the key elements in writing this record, because we weren't scared of doing anything. We always wanted to live in a house together, because we're all Red Hot Chili Peppers fans, and watching "Funky Monks," the making of "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," when I was like 16-17, I was like, "That's a rock 'n' roll dream to be lived."

What were your expectations heading into The Paramour?

We went into that house knowing that we were going in to live a dream. It was kind of a rediscovery of who we are as a band, who we are as people, who we are as musicians... We wanted to write a real hard-edged, straight-ahead, four-to-the-floor, savage rock 'n' roll record. Then, when we started to jam, we had jam sessions that would last, like, seven, eight hours, and we tapped into something besides what we expected to come out of us. We wrote songs like "Forever," "What Do You Do," "Reckless," songs that are so far removed from anything we've ever done as a band. Stuff that's got a big-rock feel to it. There were moments where we were like, "F---, dude, what are our fans going to think of this?" but then the reality hit and we realized that we were doing something that feels right, and we couldn't not explore that side of our band because we feel we're going to disappoint somebody. We owe it to ourselves to explore, and that's the freedom of music. That's why I'm in this band. The way I look at it, the artists and the musicians that I look up to the most are the artists and the musicians that take the greatest risks to evolve, like Red Hot Chili Peppers when they released "Under the Bridge."

Did the house offer inspiration?

For us, this house had a spirit about it. There was something that was bigger than us. We have never jammed like we jammed when we got into this house. In the years and years that we've been playing together, we never stepped into a room and played for six-seven hours straight, just being creative. There were times I was just lyrically stuck, and I'd go down to Daisy's grave--the lady buried on the property there--and just write whatever comes to me. I wrote a song called "Forever" down there, and also "My Heart is a Fist." When I'd get stuck, I'd walk around the property and go find the lyrics.... We all went into the depths of our own fears and our own selves and ran from our fears, and faced our fears.

How was that?

We were in a pretty volatile state when we made this record, because a lot of us were going through a lot of personal s---. It all came out on this record. I'd say that this is the most personal band record, as a whole--there's love on this album, there's sexuality on this album, there's f---ing violence on this record, there's sex, drugs, and rock and roll, there's fear, there's f---in' strength. Every experience that we could experience as a group of people, we experienced in that house. We cried. We fought. There were sleepless nights. We kind of got scared of who we were for a little while in that house, and coming out on the other side of making the record, I think getting lost in ourselves was the best thing that we could have done.

How has your approach to writing changed with your evolving sound?

First and foremost, I want to write songs, lyrically and melodically, that you could sing along with. Going in with that intention and being able to execute that on this record was really f---ing cool. We weren't just writing heavy s--- for the sake of having heavy s---; it was heavy s--- because we wanted to write it. And good stuff, that you can sing along with, but with also a pop sensibility. We look at ourselves as the band that tries to walk that line between metal, hardcore, punk rock and pop music, you know what I'm saying? We do our best at trying to make it tasteful.

How has fatherhood affected your approach to the band?

My oldest is four, and my youngest turned two the day after the record came out. Those are my little sidekicks! Being a father is my rock. Being a father has taught me unconditional love, and that's extended to how I feel about the people in my band. I love them like they were my kids, in a way, you know what I'm saying? It doesn't matter what you do, I'm always going to love you. P-Roach, we put each other through the f---ing ringer. Go ahead and go off the deep end, and I'll still be here for you. And that's exactly what's happened lately. We have to look out for each other, and to that end, being a father has taught me a lot about being compassionate and understanding of people.

You're opening for Guns N' Roses now. How's that going?

It's going cool, man. We just jumped on and have done three shows so far. It's been a while since we've been on an arena stage, so it took, like, two shows to really become comfortable on that stage again. The first two shows were good, but the third show was magic, we f----ing ripped it up, the crowd was great, and the response was awesome.... In the beginning, we didn't know how we'd approach it, because we'd been in theaters for a while, but once we got the rhythm going, we slayed. To get back in that environment, it's like the carrot in front of the rabbit--I want to get here again!

Will that change your approach to your upcoming theater tour?

When we did our headlining run through Europe, we just had a killer set put together and it was a little bit different, because everyone's chanting "Papa Roach" and everyone's going off on every song and every vibe. To go from that to being an opening band again, it was like, "OK, how do we adjust?" So, when we go back to headlining, I think we're going to just go back to business as usual, because we ripped through Europe and had great shows. Going out and winning over crowds is fun, but headlining is where it's at. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be headlining arenas, but that's just not the case right now.

You were supposed to tour with H.I.M., but they canceled the tour at the eleventh hour. What happened?

They won't tell us... We got the news just as we were getting on the plane to go to Europe, and we were like, "What gives!" [Laughing] We still haven't gotten an answer--it would have been a good opportunity, but we've just got to roll with the punches.

What does your headlining tour hold in store?

We're taking out a band called Bullets & Octane, and Hed P.E. is our main support. It's cool; it's a diverse show. We're excited about this run, because we haven't done a headlining run in the States in a while now, and the ticket sales are going good. We're playing, like, an hour-fifteen; eight new songs off "Paramour Sessions," and pretty much three or four songs off each record. The new songs keep it fresh, then we flip it up a bit. Like, we give "Dead Cell" a more punk-rock feel. There's a good ebb and flow to the set. We just rip it up every night.

Interview: Cody Hanson of Hinder

Interview: Cody Hanson of Hinder
November 02, 2006 12:28 PM
by Christina Fuoco
LiveDaily Contributor

When Hinder penned the raspy rock ballad "Lips of an Angel," the Oklahoma City-based act immediately sensed it could have a hit on its hands. The record company, drummer Cody Hanson said, thought otherwise.

"You never really know if it's going to take off like it did," Hanson said via telephone from Boise, ID. "We hoped. But as a band we always felt it was a hit. The label, however, didn't think so. They didn't want it to be on the album. So we worked really hard and fought really hard for it to make sure it went on the album and to make sure it was a single."

Touche. "Lips of an Angel" peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs, No. 10 on Hot Modern Rock Tracks, No. 14 on Hot Ringtones, No. 3 on Mainstream Rock, No. 1 on Pop 100 and No. 3 on The Billboard Hot 100. The album ""that spawned the cut, meanwhile, hit No. 7 on The Billboard 200 album chart in September, nearly a year after its release.

Prior to his Boise show, Hanson talked to LiveDaily about Hinder's long-building success, working with Canadian producer Brian Howes and who's the cheater on which "Lips of an Angel" is based. (Hinder also includes lead singer Austin Winkler, guitarist/vocalist Joe Garvey, guitarist/pianist/vocalist Mark King and bassist/vocalist Mike Rodden.)

LiveDaily: How's the tour going so far?

Cody Hanson: [Laughs] It's been very busy. Ever since "Lips" hit Top 40 radio, it's been crazy. But we're accomplishing our mission of resurrecting rock "and roll.

Your goal is to resurrect rock and roll? That's a formidable goal considering there aren't that many testosterone-heavy rock-and-roll bands anymore.

A lot of rock bands are so dark. Half of the bands aren't really fun. It seems like rap has the party. We want to bring the party back to rock.

It took a couple weeks to set up the interview because Hinder has been so busy. What is a typical week or day like in the band's life now that "Lips of an Angel" has become so huge?

It's very busy. Today we went to five radio stations, did two meet and greets, a soundcheck party and a signing after that.

It's basically what it's like. It's just non-stop. But that's what we like to do. We like to go out and work, and meet a bunch of different people and shake the hands of the people who are supporting us, whether it's a radio station or magazines or whatever. It's something we like to do--say thanks.

You were talking earlier about "Lips of an Angel." Did it almost not make the album?

Um, [the label] didn't want it to. But, in our minds, there was no way that was going to happen. We knew the song had great potential. They tried to make it a B-side but we weren't going to go for that.

It's such a great song. It's such an obvious hit. And, it's sad to say, but I think everyone can relate to the lyrics about pining for an ex.

I don't think we were really aware of how many cheaters there really were. [Laughs]

So who's the cheater in Hinder?

Nobody's a cheater. Nobody's a cheater. [Laughs]

What was it like to work with Brian Howes (Closure, DDT) as a producer on your album?

Wow, man. He's one of my best friends. He's got such a great ear for the band's songwriting. He's just unbelievable. We were really big fans of his band Closure. I don't know if you're aware of them? We were big fans of theirs.

Were you friends with him before you recorded the album?

Before we recorded the album, we went out to Vancouver where we thought we were going to be [making] an independent album. It turned out to be demos. That was the first time we actually met. We got along so well and worked so well together. It was just kind of, like, undeniable. He's basically part of the band.

What is the songwriting process like with Hinder?

Well, on "Extreme Behavior," I would come up with a chord progression for a song. Then Austin would come up with a vocal melody. We get together and do the lyrics together. Once we have the basic structure of the song, we'll take it to all the guys and let them put their own little twist on things. For the most part, it's me and Austin creating the structure of the song.

Have you started thinking about a new album?

Yeah, we have, actually. We started writing a little bit. We've got a pretty good start. I think we have a lot better start than we did when we started writing for "Extreme Behavior." We probably won't go into the studio for another year, maybe. But we have a really good start with really good songs.

You said you're off to an easier start. Was "Extreme Behavior" difficult to write?

I just think we're more experienced songwriters now. We have more experience working with each other and writing with each other. Before "Extreme Behavior," myself and Austin wrote separately whenever we were writing. Now it's better, and I think it's going to be great the next time around.

How do you feel about opening for Aerosmith?

They're one of our influences, just like every other band out there. Whenever we're asked the question, "Who's a part of your dream tour?" The answer's always Aerosmith. It's just like, "Wow, it's unbelievable."