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  • Black Country Communion 2

    Black Country Communion 2
    By: Black Country Communion
    Label: J&R Adventures
    Reviewed: January, 2012

    Black Country Communion 2 is the second cannon ball to come out of the powerful artillery known as Black Country Communion – and what a powerful blast of an album it is.  One never knows exactly what stereophonic delights will come out this band but you do know that it’s going to be incredibly good.  BCC2 solidifies that repution.

    The songwriting is as crisp and tight as the musicianship of each and every member of this band.  Produced by Kevin Shirley (as was the first BCC album as well as other Bonamassa projects and other great artists), BCC2 showcases a super band that shows that it’s comfortable in its own skin. 

    Glenn Hughes’ voice and bass work is as good as, if not better than, ever.  Why this guy isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I don’t know but he should be.  Joe Bonamassa’s axe work is par excellence.  The always intricate and intriguing keyboard wizardry of Derek Sherinian is at a whole knew level.  Jason Bonham once again demonstrates that his drumming is worthy of its own accolades instead of relying on DNA-based praise.  He’s definitely his own talented musician.

    Comments on a few cuts of the album:

    The Outsider: This first tune will wrap you up tightly in a musical cocoon that keeps the listener in place for the rest of the album.  Fast, tight and intricate, the song leaves you exhausted at the end but there are ten more songs to go.

    Man In The Middle melodically brings to mind Alice Cooper’s Lost In America with Hughes’ signature funk mixed in for good measure while Faithless has a funky Kasmir-esque vibe to it.

    As always, if a favorite had to be picked from this album, the Boomerocity favorite would have to be the incredibly bluesy Little Secret.  This tasty little tune resulted in me flogging the repeat button countless times.

    One may be tempted to say that BCC2 is an album that Led Zeppelin would’ve made if they were still together.  Perhaps.  However, I prefer to think of it as another landmark album by an incredible band that I hope is around for a very long time while leaving plenty of room for Zeppelin to come back on the scene.

  • Derek Sherinian

    Posted September, 2011

    As a teenager growing up in Phoenix in the seventies, it seemed that music was alive everywhere and boundaries were being both explored and exploited.  Rock and roll was no longer relegated to three or four piece bands that were made up of a drummer, bass player and one or two guitar players and/or a vocalist.

    Keyboards – and by that I mean the new fangled synthesizers that were sweeping the entertainment industry – were beginning to make their presence known in the music business and on our stereos.  Keyboard-heavy bands like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, and Deep Purple commanded our attention and filled our ears with incredible, intricate sounds that seemed to permeate every cell of our mushy brains.  The keyboard wizardry of Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, and Jon Lord, respectively, took the tickling of the ivories to a whole new, mind blowing level.

    In the new millennia, an artist who has the same kind of keyboard genius pulsing through his veins and is of the same superior level of talent and creativity is one Derek Sherinian.  Beginning his affair with the piano at the age of five and, after three semesters of attending the Berklee School of Music on a scholarship, Derek found himself playing the keys with the legendary Buddy Miles, learning the ways of the road and sharpening his performance skills.

    Sherinian then went on to work with the likes of Alice Cooper (who called him “the Caligula of the Keyboards”), KISS, Yngwie Malmsteen and Dream Theater.  He’s currently the keyboard maestro for the super group, Black Country Communion (with guitar great, Joe Bonamassa, bassist, Glenn Hughes, and Jason Bonham on drums) as well as for Billy Idol.

    When he wasn’t working with these rock power houses, he produced an incredible body of solo work over the years with albums such as his first release in 1999, Planet X, which was followed by Inertia two years later.  In 2003, he released Black Utopia and Mythology the following year.  Between then and now, he produced Blood of the Snake  and Molecular Heinosity.  These albums still stand very well on their own and are a definite must for the discriminating listener who loves exceptional music.

    On the 27th of this month, Derek releases Oceana and it is his best work yet.  Co-written with his good friend and drummer, Simon Phillips, the project also enjoys some great musical muscle from friends like Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather, Tony MacAlpine, Tony Franklin, Steve Stevens, Doug Aldrich and Jimmy Johnson.

    I got to chat about Oceana with Sherinian recently.  Despite the fact that he was enduring a gauntlet of interviews, Derek didn’t act at all tired from the grueling chat-fest schedule. In fact, he sounded enthusiastic to be talking about his new album.

    I started off the interview by asking Derek how he would describe Oceana to any of his fans or fans of the various bands and artists he has worked with, or are currently working with.

    “I think Oceana is the most melodic and the most grooving of my solo records – and the most focused. I’ve always been very adventurous with the genres and styles of my past records. I’d say that Oceana has the most emphasis on the strong melodies. It’s less heavy metal and less progressive than its predecessors. I really think it’s my best work to date. I know that’s a cliché that artists will say but Simon Phillips and I really but a lot of time and care into the composition, the playing, the production and the choice of players.  We’re very happy with the outcome. The record’s getting rave reviews all around the world so we’re very excited about it.”

    I asked Sherinian if he and Simon wrote all the parts for the various artists to play who appeared on Oceana or did they listen to the song and come up with their own magic, he said, “Well, all the songs that I wrote with Simon where it was just the two of us, we brought Steve Lukather in to play guitar because we always hear his guitar – it’s just always there in our minds. He always comes in and exceeds our expectations.

    “Then, the other songs where I co-wrote – I did two songs with Steve Stevens  where we came up with the stuff and then put everyone else behind what we wrote.  One song I wrote with Joe Bonamassa and the other with Doug Aldrich – it basically works out that, if I write with a guitar player, that’s who winds up playing on the record.

    In this day and age where albums are often made by way of e-mailing tracks back and forth between artists who then add their track in at a studio more convenient to them, I asked Derek if there was much in the way of face time in the studio with the other artists or were they e-mailing tracks back and forth?

    “Oh, no, there was no e-mailing.  Everyone came into Simon’s studio – all the guitar players and we tracked everyone. It was great! The cool thing about living in Los Angeles is that you have the best musicians in the world within a five mile radius from my house. They’re all here.

     “The album took four and half months from the first day of writing to the mastering. It usually takes three to six months depending on everyone’s schedule because everyone’s busy in their own band or making their own records. It’s a challenge to coordinate and schedule everyone to come in.”

    I figured the toughest part of making an album would be sweating over the finer points of engineering the album, finding a producer one could trust or work well with, or trying to nail down the precise sound one was looking for.  When I asked Sherinian what he thought the toughest part of producing an album was, his answer surprised me.

    “The toughest part is coming up with names for these instrumental songs with no lyrics and then naming the album. That really is the toughest part. That really is the hardest part and the biggest struggle.”

    Musical geniuses all derive inspiration for their music in endless ways.  Derek said that, “I get inspired by whoever I’m collaborating with. I do write some songs by myself but I get much more enjoyment by going into a room with nothing with someone else and then yanking something from nothing and watching it evolve – the feedback, the back and forth. That, to me, is exciting and I get inspired by working with people that I really respect.”

    I followed up that question by asking if he has a particular person or audience in mind as he crafts his music.

    “I don’t know. I all just comes down to just closing your mind off and letting your hands move and let your ears rule what’s going on. It all just works out how it’s supposed to.”

    I found it interesting that Sherinian co-wrote Oceana with a drummer (Simon Phillips) instead of, say, a guitar player.  I asked him why that was.

    “Well, Simon and I first started working together on my Inertia record in 2001. For one thing, Simon is my favorite drummer. I love his choice of beats and groove.  But he’s also very melodic. He’s very capable of going on a keyboard and writing and comes up with great ideas. We just have a connection when we write – a chemistry and it always flows very nicely and we always come up with great stuff together.”

    As mentioned earlier, the “Caligula of the keyboards” has worked with some great people throughout your career.  When I asked Sherinian who he hasn’t worked with but hasn’t yet, his answer appeared to be very much at the forefront of his mind.

    “I haven’t worked with Jeff Beck yet. He’s on my list and it’s going to happen at some time. I don’t know when but it’s destined to happen. That’s on my bucket list. I’d like to play on his record or, more, I’d him playing on my record with me and Simon writing and playing – or tour with him – in any capacity would be great. But I think that would be the best if he agreed to play on one of my records and have Simon co-write and produce.

    “It would also be great to get Edward Van Halen to come in play on one of my solo records. I got a chance to play with him live in 2006 at a private party. That was very cool but it would be nice to write a killer instrumental with him and have him come in and track it.”

    With someone who is as intricate in their playing guitar as he is on keyboard, I asked if creating music with a Lukather, Stevens or Bonamassa proved to be more challenging or more synergistic.

    “It doesn’t matter. I’ll go in and do something with someone like Tony MacAlpine, who has amazing chops. I just blend. I’m very chameleonic but at the same time I keep my signature sound with whoever I’m playing with. So, it doesn’t matter.”

    As for tour plans in support of Oceana, Derek shared that, “there’s talk of us doing some stuff in Europe next year. We’re trying to put that all together. Just stay tuned to my website, DerekSherinian.com for updates on that.”

    Sherinians said that, as for plans for the next year, five years, beyond, “I know that next year I’m going to do some more stuff with Black Country Communion – another record.  At the end of this month I start rehearsing with Billy Idol. We’re going to do a short run.  Beyond that, it’s just broad strokes. I just try to stay musical and creative and surround myself with the best players in the world and keep moving forward.

    “I would love to get to a place where I sell enough records that I can go tour my solo stuff around the world so that I don’t have to do anything else. That would be an awesome place to be, career-wise, and I’m not there yet.  That’s what I’m working on.”

    As our call was wrapping up, my final question to the keyboard genius was the one I often ask at the close of an interview these days: How do you want to be remembered and what would you like to have accomplished when you’ve gone to the great keyboard in the sky?

    “I want to be remembered as one of the greats and I want to be known that influenced a whole legion of young – not just keyboard players but musicians. I want to be known as someone that was the architect of metal fusion through my albums, my legacy of who I’ve played with. I just want to leave a mark.”

    No doubt, Derek Sherinian will be around for a very long time and will build just such a legacy.  You can pre-order/order Oceana or Derek’s other great solo work by clicking on the icons on the right side of this page.  Every serious rock music library should have these albums.
    Also, as he mentioned, you can keep up with his solo tour schedule as well as with Black Country Communion, Billy Idol and others buy visiting www.dereksherinian.com.

  • Glenn Hughes Resonates

    Posted February 2017 

    glennbackcoversingle copyI don’t know what songs kids play air guitar in their rooms these days but “back when I was their age” (did I just say that?!), one of the bands on my air guitar short list was most definitely Deep Purple. Their Made In Japan album was, by far, THE album (if a kid couldn’t play anything else on guitar, they could play the intro to Smoke On The Water) and when their studio album, Burn, came out, Purple fans emptied store shelves of it. 

    The band has had four different line-ups (referred to as Mark I, II, III, or IV) and have reportedly collectively sold over 100 million LPs globally. The bassist in Marks III and IV was Glenn Hughes who, along with other members of Deep Purple, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. 

    While on the subject of the RRHOF, I contacted its CEO, Greg Harris, for some comments about the legendary bassist.

    “An overall thought is what an incredible rock and roll life and what an incredibly warm and open person. It says a lot to be such a great stage presence in rock and roll, through and through and having been so well traveled. He relates to people. I’m very impressed with his friendship and generosity to everybody. If you think about his lineage in the bands he was in before Deep Purple itself and then afterwards, it’s just amazing. So, whether or not you knew the name of the guy playing bass in some of these bands – that unmistakable sound is Glenn Hughes.”

    When I asked Greg if Glenn had been involved with the Hall with regards to contributing any memorabilia, he said, “He has. He’s been, first and foremost, involved with the induction. Then, subsequent to that, he’s actually served as our Hall of Fame ambassador at a few events. He’s such a great spokesperson for the museum. He was generous in providing items for the exhibit. With such a long career and so much movement, he doesn’t have a lot of things left from those early days. But he shared with us a real period piece: a pair of platform shoes that he wore during the Deep Purple era.”

    Mr. Harris closed his comments about Glenn by adding, “Not only is Glenn an inductee into the Hall of Fame but he has also become a member of the Hall of Fame family. He truly has been a great ambassador and he and his wife, Gabby, are just terrific individuals.”

    glennbw copyGlenn not only played in the Deep Purple, but he was also part of Trapeze, California Breed, Black Sabbath, and super group, Black Country Communion (with Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, and Derek Sherinian), along with scores of others over the span of his lengthy career.

    In addition to working with so many great bands and artists, Glenn has also recorded solo projects of his own. It was for his latest CD, Resonate, that I called him up at his home to chat about it.

    We started out by chatting about his induction into the RRHOF and his thoughts about it and the Hall.

    “I’ve been watching the Hall of Fame since it first started out thirty-three years ago. It’s been something I’ve been doing living in America every year. It’s a grand and glorious event, you know. And to finally be inducted with my friends in Deep Purple was a momentous occasion for rock fans, in general, not just people on stage but in general. When you think of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it really is about rock and roll – or it’s supposed to be for the bands you would think of from the seventies: The Who and the Stones and the Beatles and Zeppelin and Sabbath and, now, Purple. Then, of course, a grand splattering of newer artists. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pearl Jam gets in this year (he was correct in that prediction). The door opens for other artists from Seattle and New York and London.  It’s a case of longevity and records sold, fan base and whatever grand scale of things happen.”

    Turning to the subject of his new CD, I asked Hughes why the title, “Resonate”. glennfinalpurple copy

    “Because I wanted to call the album something that meant something to me. It’s not very often that I will call an album after a song. I’ve only done it a couple of times. The album title, for me, is about what it means; about how I’m feeling and the recording and the songs. That word, ‘resonate,’ kept popping up in my head and it spoke to me. So, I was happy to call the album, ‘Resonate’.

    With recording methodology and technology changing radically over the years, I asked Glenn how this album was different for him to make than all of the other albums he has worked on.

    “It’s the first album where I went into my home studio and wrote each song in its entirety – both musically, arrangement wise, and lyrically – and then I’d sing it so that the demo would be completely done before I would turn to the next song. And, then, in the studio recording the album a couple of months later, what I did with my band is I played them one song at a time and we would do the song in its entirety and finish the song and then move to the next song. I had never had it in my head to do that before but it worked really well – to actually complete a song. Therefore, you can move freely to the next one.”

    When asked what led him to work with the group of guys that he did on Resonate, Glenn said:

    “Because they’re guys in my live band and they’re great musicians that I love working with. It’s so important for me to play live with the people I have on the record. Chad (Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) has actually been on five of my solo albums and he’s my best friend. It’s always a pleasure to have him around not only – in my opinion – that he’s the greatest rock drummer but he’s funny, kind, considerate young man. Really amazing.

    To ask an artist what song of theirs is their favorite is much like asking them who their favorite child is. However, I did ask Hughes which song would he point to as a calling card for “Resonate” for people to listen to in order to entice them to purchase it.

    “Oh my god. It’s so difficult because they’re all little movies in their own right. But I think when you hear ‘Heavy,’ I mean, it’s got it all in there, you know? But then, again, people are saying that about ‘Long Time Gone.’ They’re saying that about ‘God of Money.’ They’re saying that about “Let It Shine’ and they’re saying it about ‘Flow.’ There are so many song titles that comes to mind that I’m so engrossed in what the songs are. They’re so meaningful to me and, hopefully, they will translate to everyone.”

    Is there one that is any more personal than the rest?

    “They’re all autobiographical. Every single one is something that happened to me. I say ‘autobiographical.’ These things are about the human condition. Every song I write is about what happened between birth and death and what happens in between and the seven deadly sins that involve faith, fear, hate. It’s all hear. There’s some angst on this album. There’s a moment there where I’m really upset. I left it on tape. I don’t want to erase something that people need to hear. The way that I feel is important so I don’t want to cover up my feelings. I want people to know or feel the real emotional side of who I am.”

    As for tour plans this year and other career items on his radar, Glenn shared:

    “We’re touring next Spring. We will play throughout America in August, coming back in the Spring and we’ll come back again next September. Oh, another album from me that will be recorded late next year. Black Country Communion are making another album in January. Joe Bonamassa is at my home tomorrow. We’re almost done writing that album. Then we go into the studio in January to record that. It’s going to be a very busy year next year for me. I’m very, very busy touring. I like to tour as much as possible. A lot of my friends that are my age have stopped touring or they’re slowing down. But, for some reason, my career seems to be picking up some speed so I’m just going to go with it.”

    Wrapping out up our chat, I asked the legendary bassist how he hoped to be remembered what he hoped his legacy would be.

    “I am a messenger. That’s what my message is. I continue to be a messenger throughout the last few decades about giving love to people and giving music back and making people feel free. I like to think that my music can heal people and help give people comfort. So, at the end of it, then, I was a messenger – I AM a messenger – and I’m a healer. That’s the most important thing to me, is to carry that message.” 

    You can keep up with Glenn atwww.glennhughes.com

  • Glenn Hughes: the Autobiography: From Deep Purple to Black Country Communion

    glennhughescoverGlenn Hughes: the Autobiography: From Deep Purple to Black Country Communion
    By: Joel McIver and Glenn Hughes
    Publisher: Jawbone Press
    Reviewed: January, 2012

    If you mention the band, Deep Purple, to any baby boomer, you will likely hear instant mouth-generated riffs of some of their huge hits like Hush, Smoke On The Water, Space Truckin’, Burn and many, many more.

    One of the most flamboyant and remarkable members of the band was bass player, Glenn Hughes, who joined the band in 1973, making up what is referred to as the “Mark III” and “Mark IV” band line-ups. To be sure, Hughes made his first mark with his band, Trapeze, but his first huge success happened when he joined Deep Purple. Hughes went on to work with many great artists and bands, as well as doing his own solo work, and is currently thumpin’ the bass with the super group, Black Country Communion.

    After over forty years in the music business, it was high time that Hughes came out with a book to tell his story up to this point. He does so (along with the excellent help and guidance of Joel McIver) with Glenn Hughes: the Autobiography: From Deep Purple to Black Country Communion.

    I don’t want to ruin any surprises in the book but I will say that Mr. Hughes is pretty darn lucky to be alive. I wasn’t surprised by the drug use. I was surprised by extent of his addictions and the distance of his fall.

    The book is chock full of entertaining stories from his days in Trapeze and Deep Purple as well as his work (or attempts at work) with greats like Tony Iommi, David Bowie and Gary Moore, to name but a few. Woven within those tales is the story of a severely addicted but incredibly talented artist. I found my stomach turning into knots as I read his many, many accounts of drug-addled living. The vast amounts of money spent and the great opportunities lost can neither be recaptured.

    That all said, Hughes tells his entire story, warts and all, from the vantage point of one who has finally come to grips with his disease and knows his life of sobriety is a rare second chance at life. It’s obvious that he’s now living life to its real fullest, with the love of life, Gabi, and the renewed passion he has for writing and making music. No, he can’t recover what he has lost in the areas of time and money but that only fuels the intensity to make every moment of every new day count. And, while I’m a huge fan of his work and love the stories behind the music, my biggest take-away is the insight Glenn Hughes provides by baring his soul regarding his disease and his sobriety.

    One interesting thing about this book besides the incredible stories: All the photos provided are in the front of the book instead of in the middle or scattered throughout. I’m not saying that it’s better or worse that way – just interesting.
    Glenn Hughes: the Autobiography isn’t just a must-have book for the rock music fan, it’s a must-have book for anyone who wrestles – no, make that “battles” – with addictive demons.

  • Jason Bonham

    Posted May, 2011

    I remember the first time that I saw the epic Led Zeppelin movie, The Song Remains The Same. It was during the long Thanksgiving weekend of 1976.  I distinctly remember the collage of family footage of the Bonham family that were intertwined within the footage of John “Bonzo” Bonham’s signature drum solo during Moby Dick.

    Among the various scenes of Bonzo with his lovely wife, the lovely Pat Phillips, walking the country side or driving one of his favorite hot rods or chopper.  What I found (and still find) particularly cool, though, is scenes of his young son, Jason, playing on a miniature, clear drum kit with all the coolness, seriousness and confidence in the world.

    Fast forward to 2011.

    Watching footage of a now 45 year old Jason, on a near exact, “grown up” version of that drum set, one still sees the same coolness, seriousness and confidence as he plays for his own band as well as a wide variety of other groups.  The most notorious performance being, of course, the one show reunion of his dad’s Zeppelin band mates for the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert in 2007 in London.  Clearly, his dad would continue to beam with uncontainable pride watching his son pound the skins.

    Bonham Sr., would also be very proud of Jason’s show, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, currently touring the U.S.  One would be sadly mistaken if they thought that this was some lame attempt of a Zeppelin tribute band.  In fact, Jason addressed that question during a recent phone interview.

    “Well, one thing I kind of give it is that I’ve actually played with the band a couple of times and had some moments in authenticity. First and foremost JBLZE is a concert. But I give it a slightly different angle from the story content of the show and I release and show some very tender and pure moments that not many people have seen such as my dad as a child growing up with his father and interacting with his own family and his brother and his children.

    “And, you know, this is a man that would grow up to be the Beast, the guy--Bonzo, the legendary guy that was one of the first to throw a TV set through a window. But realistically he was my dad and just an everyday guy, really. So within the context of the show I talk a little about him as a personal person, you know, as a guy that I knew not so much as the guy that you know as ‘Bonzo’, but as my father. I show some of the moments we shared together which were and are, you know, very cherished now.

    “We didn’t live in the era of everything being recordable on your phone and very easily accessible. So when you see these moments, they’re very few and far between as my Dad could record and capture. And also, I like to touch on the love I have of the music, playing with the guys every kind of song that has a different story, a different element of where I put it in the show. And each song is chosen for a reason. There’s nothing we’ve put there because it was a popular song or whatever.

    “I have a story for each one. But the music does the talking in itself and I just, tell a few moments that were not spoken too much about, the reasons I do certain songs in the set and my own personal take on when I played them with Led Zeppelin.

    “So that’s why it’s my, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and this is where, I suppose, it’s different from the others. But obviously one of the major differences is I have been lucky enough to have played with the band a couple of times. Not many of them can say that . . .”

    For most of us who love music, certain songs serve as benchmarks to our soul, tied to memories and events that are burned into our minds that turn up, front and center, and the sound of the first notes.  Bonham shares his personal memories behind his choice of songs for his Experience show.

    “Well for me the song choices had to be everything that meant something to me. From my first memory of hearing Zeppelin, which was Your Time is Going to Come. The song is in the show, all my life from the first moment I ever heard that song it stood out to me, since as a child I was terrified of church organists (re the song intro). Other key early memories of Led Zeppelin for me, was the black and white TV Danish TV special which included, Babe I’m Going to Leave You. That was a key moment and I always thought Lemon Song was a key moment for me from the early days of Zeppelin.”

    While those are Bonham’s “special memory” tunes, they are aren’t considered his favorite songs.  When asked what his favorite Zep song is, he replied, “Well, there is always going to be two, there’s number one which is Kashmir and The Rain Song. And while I didn’t do The Rain Song on the last tour and this time around, I never really imagined this thing to be taken in as well as it has been, to be honest. But since we’re in this position now where we can go out there with our heads held high, I wanted to make sure that this time we have some of the later Zeppelin.


    “On the second half of the show this time we’re having songs like The Rain Song, Achilles’ Last Stand, and In the Light, which is another rare one which Zeppelin never, ever did live. So I always come and try and keep some element of a natural show and make it a little unique.”

    With what I consider to be the most touching statement by Jason, he shares the story behind the more surreal parts of the show.

    “We do When The Levee Breaks, which is a wonderful part of the show and one of my favorites, because I get to play with Dad like when I do Moby Dick - it’s a moment when I’m actually playing with my father.

    “We didn’t have two drum kits in our house. So when I get to do this these days it’s, you know, really for the first time ever that we actually get to play in tandem together because, sadly, we never did in real life. We never actually got to experience that. I’ve read in many articles that my father had said, ‘My son plays drums and I’d really love for him to play next to me at the Royal Albert Hall.’

    “That means so much to me, especially when, at the start of the tour I had no idea that the first part of Moby Dick that I use to solo with dad on the screens where we play in tandem is his original performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

    “So in essence I actually get to fulfill one of his wishes as well as mine: to play with him. And then somebody pointed out, ‘Well, what’s it like being the kid who’s now the old man playing with the young kid?’ Because now I’m playing live along with my father, who’s 22 years younger than me in the clip.

    “It’s kind of a twist on things but, you know, I try and give it a - make it as real as possible to make it. There’s no fake in the show, you’re there.  You’re exposed to all the elements that could go wrong, but it’s heartfelt and that’s what makes it very unique.

    “Each night’s a different feeling, and a different experience to the people coming. The people that come share stories with me after the show as much as I share stories with them during the show. And that’s been one of the key elements of keeping this thing going: the story, the fans, the letters I get and receive and it’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience for me. The tour is something that I will treasure because I’ve learned so much about my father, more so than I ever imagined I would know - from just the moments where people met him in their life and captured, photographs of them together and - yeah, it’s been very special."

    Closing out his thoughts about his song choices for the show, Bonham says, “The song choices will always be a key part of this because I listen to what the fans say but I also want to keep it as true as I can. We’ll never do a song we don’t think we can do well. So, if for some reason there’s certain songs we don’t do in the show, we probably haven’t tried it yet or we have tried it, and it wasn’t up to standard. We’ll only do the best ones we can so they sound the best.”

    When asked how he feels playing his dad’s part on the songs, expecting a short answer like, “Weird” or “Surreal”, I’m surprised at the thoroughness of his answer.

    “To go out and play these songs on a nightly basis on a tour like this is a big task to take in and I try and stay as true as I can to what I grew up on. Most of that is generally The Song Remains the Same version, which is a major part of my performance. The people who really know the movie, they’ll know some of the things that I might change from the album which would be the live version to what I remember, you know? Like my version of “Kashmir” is more from the version of how dad would play it.

    “In my head I have all these, outlines, sketches of what I’m taking different versions of Dad actually performing. And I try and stay as true as I can to those - mixing up the different styles as he evolved. One thing it was made clear to me at one point and something that Dad could never do- was go back through time.

    “Now I can play a song like, A Whole Lotta Love, and sometimes I like to put drum fills in that he did from the Presence period, so I get to mix the two together. It’s something that he hadn’t done yet, I mean, he hadn’t starting playing that way. So you can incorporate the two different styles of how he progressed as he got older as a player and mix them into the one time period. At the same time I try to stay as true to the original groove as I possibly can which, with the wonders of bootleggers now, there’s copies of the drum track of Whole Lotta Love on the internet. I get a hold of those and listen to the nitty-gritty of what actually was playing and it’s very funky. It was a lot funkier than people really remember.

    “So, it’s been a wonderful learning experience to actually go back and study the music again. I really do feel like sometimes I’m hearing it for the first time - it’s been that much of a learning curve. Recently, we just added a couple of different songs into the set which we started before I left to come to England.

    “In just the very first rehearsal for the spring shows, I said to the guys, “If we get it that good on the first night, I’ll be happy. We did The Rain Song first and it sent the hairs on the back of my neck up. It’s such a beautiful piece of music; I can’t wait to perform it live. Such great drum parts, such beauty within a song in itself, these days you don’t write a song where you go right into the next segment and don’t have any vocals for another minute and a half. Nobody does that anymore.

    “As I said, I try and stay as true as I can to the different performances and I think on the next tour what we’re going to, hopefully, do is have some kind of description of where we get the ideas from within a program or something. So people can actually do their homework after and go, ‘Well, yeah, I see why he did that version.’”

    Later in the chat, Bonham shares who the band is made up of.

    “On guitar is a friend of mine Tony Catania who’s been playing on and off with me for 20 years or more now, he is from Long Island. Big Zep fan, big Hendrix fan, big Floyd fan - just an all around good guitarist that really excels on these songs. I know some people have seen the YouTube clips that people have put up and now obviously the news is out there but before we did the first tour, we did not tell anybody who was in the band. I didn’t want anyone to have a prejudged idea of what we might sound like until we actually played because then people could make their own judgments. This worked because there was no preconceived idea.

    “The singer himself, James Dylan, I found on the internet through a virtual Zeppelin Website. He’s now fantastic if you go onto YouTube clips look him up doing That’s The Way. I saw it and went, ‘Okay, he’s in.’ What really pleased me was the fact that he didn’t have brown curly hair and he wasn’t, you know, a look-alike. The last thing I wanted to do is go out there and do a dress up that would have felt weird."

    “I’ll play on my Vistalite which is a play on what my Dad used to use but it’s a slightly different color, it’s yellow rather than amber. I wear the bowler hat for a couple of songs as a tongue-in-cheek reminder and a tip-of-the-hat to the master himself. As far as the dress up, no, it’s about the music and the love and the passion that we all have for it.

    “On keyboards is Stephen LeBlanc - another fantastic musician all around. He plays guitar and he plays rap steel - he plays numerous instruments. We all agreed that everyone had to have the knowledge that we all had musically, if we called it out, we could play it, you know?

    “On this leg of the tour I have a friend of mine that’s had prior commitments, some scheduling issues and he actually auditioned another bass player for me that’s going to be on this tour: Dorean Heartsong. Dorean is a wonderful bass player who was found by my original bass player, Michael Devin, who had a prior commitment with his other band, Whitesnake. Michael found me a phenomenal bass player that gelled with us all from the get-go.” 

    The subject of how long this show will be offered came up.  One can tell that he’s given this matter some careful, serious thought.

    “Well if you’d have asked me that about a year ago I’d have said it was going to be a one-time deal. The stories that people have shared with me over the last 12 months, and onward since the first round, inspired me.  I spoke to my mom and she said, ‘Listen, you’re representing the family here and I appreciate you doing it.’ She came out to see the show and said, ‘You know, I was a little skeptical at first, but the show is so wonderfully put together and it’s very special.’ She said, ‘Please continue this for me as long as you feel comfortable doing it.’”

    “I’m, hopefully, filming one of the shows on the tour. I know we’re doing the Greek at the end of the tour and that would be a wonderful thing to document. I was very overwhelmed when they told me we were going to do the Greek because I’ve seen so many great bands there over the years. I was like, ‘Wow! I’m doing the Greek!’ Especially with the way it’s been going this year and I just look at it like this: as long as the demand’s there, I enjoy playing this music and as a representation of my father and the family and the music he created with Jimmy and John Paul and Robert.

    “I feel very honored and blessed that people want to go and see it, as I say, we will only do it while people want to experience it. The last thing I want to do is tarnish something so beautiful that is held so highly in my thoughts. So it’s one of those things I always say, ‘Come and see it because it might not be here next time.’”

    Since the subject of his mother came up, Bonham was asked to share some thoughts about his dad.

    “Sure. A lot of people always ask me what kind of music I was into when I was younger, you know, when dad was alive. My dad got me into a band called The Police, which, at the time, my dad had a blue vinyl version of Outlandos d’Amour, which we still might have somewhere so I’ll keep that - treasure it. But he took me to see The Police and it was a cool moment. I had never, I mean, I had never been to a concert with my Dad ever before.

     “I remember we also saw the Osmond’s and Bay City Rollers. Yes, Dad did take me to see the Osmond’s and I saw Marie Osmond with her hair in curlers which ruined the illusion at the time. But I fondly remember The Police and it was a very, very cool concert and I remember my Dad put me on his shoulders so I could see the band better.

    “He got us backstage afterwards so we could say ‘hello’ and it was just a great moment when my Dad stepped on Sting’s foot and he was wearing blue suede shoes at the time and Sting said something like ‘Don’t step on my blue suede shoes’. My Dad turned to him and said ‘I’ll step on your head in a minute.’ So that was a nice father, son relationship - the meeting of old and new. It was quite funny looking across and seeing Andy and Stewart sniggering underneath and I’m thinking, ‘Dad, come on! Don’t cause any trouble!’

    “We had some very special times. Dad was a gentle giant really. He was a sweet, you know, nervous kind of guy. You’d never imagine that we’d sit and drive. I used to race dirt bikes, so on the weekends, when he was home, he would always be the first one up making the sandwiches in the morning. We’d get in the Range Rover and head off to the race.

    “If it was a three hour drive we’d listen to Rumours (by Fleetwood Mac) about four or five times on the way and he was very into his, you know, it was usually Rumours and Steve - Buffalo Springfield - Stephen Stills album or Neil Young or Crosby, Stills and Nash and, Abandoned Luncheonette, Hall & Oates’ first album.

    “I found some footage now which I’ve got on film and also audio of Dad being interviewed in ’72 which is really special. One of the extra special ones is the interview from 1970 is a reporter asks, ‘Do you have any family?’ He goes, ‘Oh, I’ve got a wife and a son called Jason and he’s a drummer.’ The interviewer says, ‘Oh, really?’ ‘Yeah’, he says, ‘He’s four years old now. His technique is crap, but he’s got good time. My ambition is that one day he’ll play next to me at the Royal Albert Hall.’ And just reading some of those moments were very, you know, kind of things that you, well I had forgotten what he sounded like."

    “You know when you suddenly take things for granted somebody says, what did he sound like and I went, I have no idea. I can’t remember.  That hurt me, that the fact I couldn’t remember his voice. So when I found this audio of him talking and the strangest thing was at first I thought it was me because we sound very similar.

    “But yeah, this tour, no matter how old I get I don’t know if it’s because I’ve just become more of a sensitive kind of person, but the hardship is some of these songs to perform them live, they just trigger emotions off of me, memories that some people won’t understand what are you crying for. It’s just moments in my childhood or my past where I go oh my god, I remember doing this.

    “We started doing My Brother Jake in the show - which is an old Free song - and I remembered when my dad used to put it on the jukebox and make me play it when I was eight years old. It sent me back to when I was a kid. I closed my eyes and I was looking out and my mom and dad were watching me. It was very special.  These songs mean so much to me, they really do.  There isn’t any other way of doing this but honestly and people see this in the show.”

    “So yeah he was a very sweet guy that, as I say, you all know as this ‘Beast’, this animal, but he was actually kind of a quiet chap at home.”

    At the tender age of 11, one would have to wonder if Bonham really understood what a big deal his dad and his band mates were at the time.

    “Yes and no.  I was 11 years old and I remember coming over to the Tampa Bowl Stadium when the riot happened and 78,000 people suddenly decided that’s is wasn’t not fair and if they weren’t coming back on stage we’ll have a piece of them.  As an 11-year-old you still don’t really get it, you’re like okay, that’s what my Dad does. I didn’t know anything else.

    “It was normal that Dad played in the band. That was normal. So for me when the real thought process came about, it was much later after he died and much later still - not till I was about 30 - that I suddenly appreciated it, as well, and understood what dad had done in his life.

    “When I got the chance to play with them in 2007, which is four years ago now, I had just turned 40 so for me to do that, it was a great feeling to get the chance to go back in there, listen to it all again, study it and to know I’ve really done my homework this time.

    “So yeah, that was the realization, full circle. That’s when you suddenly go, ‘Wow, they were good!’”

    The conversational gears shifted from the Experience tour to his work with former Deep Purple bassist, Glenn Hughes, keyboardist, Derek Sherinian (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Alice In Chains), and guitar phenomenon, Joe Bonamassa, in the super group, Black Country Communion.  Jason is, obviously, very stoked about the band.

    “Yeah, I have a new album coming out with Black Country Communion which comes out in June which is going exceedingly well. I am very, very pleased with the new album. It’s definitely more of a group effort on this project. It went from a side project to a band which definitely on the second album I was able to get involved more with the writing part of it this time and became a lot more - felt a lot more - comfortable as a person in the band. And it went very, very well.

    “There’s a song (on the new album) that started off as an idea that I worked on with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, so I was happy to finish it off with this band and have it come out. I’m looking forward to hitting the road in June. As soon as I literally finish with (Paul Rodgers) on Friday here in England, I’m starting the tour with JBLZE . . . and then, when it ends, I jump on with the Black Country Communion.”

    Asked about the song he originally collaborated with Page and Jones, Jason adds, “Oh on the new album, it’s called Save Me.  You’ll notice it in the rift. You’ll hear a slight Zep-esque rift and you’ll go, ‘I wonder if that’s the one he meant?’ and, yes, it’s got a definite feel to it.”

    Naturally, the question that begs to be asked is: What about working with Page, Plant and Jones on another project?

    “Well, I was very much under the illusion for what it’s, that we were going to write an album and we were going to put together a new project. Whether it be under the banner of Led Zeppelin, which I doubted, but it was going to be a new project that would feature Jimmy and John Paul and myself.

    “It was the winter, like early December of 2008, when it kind of came to a halt - which was a hard thing for me to get over for a while. You know, I had just played the concert of my life. Playing with them was a great point, one of the greatest points of my life.  Then when I got the call to come back and do some work with Jimmy and John Paul in the writing environment, it was fantastic. I believed it was eventually going to continue on and be whatever it was going to be.

    “But, you know, who knows? There are a lot of things I will never understand and it’s purely, as I say, you’d have to ask them. But on my end, I enjoyed every moment. Anybody would when you get a chance to again. You get the phone call from them to go and jam and in a writing element and go over ideas. It was fun - a lot of fun.”

    A question that die hard musicians and rock historians would want to ask Bonham is what did he learn from the couple of Led Zeppelin reunion gigs he sat in on?

    “What I managed to take away from the last one was the element of ‘Wow!’ because I was at an age where I was just honored and humbled to be up there. I was such a fan at this point in my life that I always felt that, early on, I’d taken things for granted. When I got the chance to go up there and have a go at it, it was a very special time.  Just to play with those guys and to play their songs and to do the show that we did at the O2 - it was a very special moment that I will treasure forever. Being in the rehearsals and hanging with them and getting to know them as adults - you know, I always knew them when I was a young kid so to relate to them on another level now, in another element was phenomenal.

    “I felt like a journalist because I barraged them with questions. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, but you know this in 1977 well now what did you really think when you did this and, you know, did you know at that point you were really special? And if so, how special did you really think you were and - and did you kind of  . . .?’ and they were like, ‘Okay! One question a day from now on!’ But it was a great moment, let me say that”, Jason says with a laugh.

    Relative to the “O2” Zeppelin gig and the lead up to it, shares some insight into the decisions that had to be made and how it has impacted his Experience tour.

    “When they were thinking of doing the reunion in 2007 it was a key element of where they were thinking of putting it because you can imagine there was talk of the Wembley and the stadiums because, you know, they could have easily done that.

    “But to make it as true as they could be in an intimate way they chose the 02 Arena which can be as, you know, for them, an intimate moment and there were moments when you could hear a pin drop when we were talking and Robert was talking to the audience and moments when we bring it down. You can almost hear the squeaking element when you drop the pedal.

    “One thing I wanted to come across with in the (Experience) show is the intimate stories and the moments when you’re talking to an audience - when I’m kind of loss for words. In the audience, somebody may shout something and it’ll just stay with me for a moment and I’ll get slightly distracted and lose my track of thought and get a bit emotional. Each night is a different experience for me as much as it is for them, for the band, for everything.

    “I mean even then to some nights we would kind of have a song when we were supposed to be doing something else. Much dismay turned out to be the lighting guy who was like, “I have no idea what they’re playing there. What do I do?” We kind of improvised and one thing we changed on the set was we had to be able to switch it up any time we wanted - we had to be able to alter to the mood because that was one of the key things that LZ could do. They could change things up. They weren’t afraid to change and change things around midstride. And if I’ve learned anything from trying to perform something true to the meaning of the song is, be aware of the audience and the environment you’re in. You change the music to suit the environment, the compassion, the personal moments, the energy, the light and shade, the intimacy. You have to take everything in consideration when you’re performing these songs to make them feel believable because if you’re getting out there and just go through the motions, you know, you might as well put the wig on and the dragon suit and go out and do it.

    “To play the songs with somewhat of a knowledge of Led Zeppelin, you have to kind of take everything you can from every version you’ve ever heard of them playing live from the bootleg to the song that you sing to the DVDs -  everything - mix it all together and you come out the other side.  Hopefully, everyone so far, seems to keep understanding what I’m trying to do. So, the setting, when we came to choose the tour dates, where we were playing, it had to be an intimate thing.”

    Concluding his thoughts on those gigs, he adds, “I treasure it very much and I’ve had the greatest privilege to play with them more than once. When I look back at my wedding video, you know, it’s hard to believe but, yes, they were there and they got up and jammed on the local band’s equipment and we did some Zeppelin songs so that was very bizarre.”

    What do the remaining Zeppelin band members think of Jason doing the Experience?  Does he have their blessing?

    “Oh, yes, I didn’t want to piss anybody off. So there was one incident and I remember somebody forwarded me something another person I know had said, it was a potshot and it was quite hurtful. I was upset it came from kind of a family friend of the whole band.

    “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t like this.’ I just want to be liked; I don’t want to be disliked. I hate the haters, but honestly, you’re going to get them no matter what you decide to do.  I actually called Robert and spoke to him about it. Robert told me not to be concerned and then we went on an interview together and then a DJ tried to throw me under the bus saying, ‘Hey, what did you think about Jason doing a Led Zeppelin tour without any of you guys?’

    “Robert turned around and went on the defensive for me and said, ‘Well, Jason can do whatever he wants, when he wants.’ He said, ‘Jason plays these songs like nobody else.’ He said, ‘There’s a few people that think they can play them like him but nobody can and they know who they are.’ He really went on the defensive and he said, ‘And as long as Jason does this with a smile, he has my blessing.’  So it was kind of like, ‘Leave him alone!’

    “That was a big step for me when Robert came in there and said, ‘You know what? This is Jason representing his family and his father. Just let him be.’

    “There was a big interview with me on a TV show in England and it was about drummers all over the world and I was quite open about what it was like growing up with dad as a drummer.  Robert suddenly went, you know, ‘I just forgot what it would be like for you. I really did, you know, having missed having a hero around to grow up to and him being gone for so long.’

    “I think about this more now, when I make certain decisions in my life now that I have my own family, and my son is the same age that I was when I lost my dad.  So it’s a tough one to be in that situation when you haven’t got the advice of a father to give you. So I sometimes miss him there. I miss him when I go, ‘Dad, what should I do?’  And what I said to Robert was, ‘Sometimes when I don’t know what to do I call you because you are the closest thing to dad for me.

    “Yeah, I would say I speak to Robert more on a regular basis than I do to Jimmy and John but I find that there’s still kind of that closeness when we all see each other. It’s like we haven’t been apart for years and we carry on the conversation like we just left off, that’s how it has always been.”

    Over the years, much has been rumored about an alleged pact that Jimmy Page supposedly made with the devil.  Of course, the rumor wasn’t helped by the fact that, at one time, he owned an occult paraphernalia store in London. He was also widely known to have been an admirer of British occultist, Aleister Crowley – so much so that he, at one time, bought one of Crowley’s former estates.  Did Bonham, Sr., ever talk about any of that with Jason?

    “We never talked about it, to be honest with you. That whole side of him - it was never brought up or even talked about in the British press. So, it was of a bit of a far-fetched thing which they probably wouldn’t deal with. I mean, I’ve talked to Jimmy many times about that home and I said, “Have you ever been there?’ And he goes, ‘I went once, kind of freaked me out.’ So he didn’t own it any longer but I never really imagined him being that guy anyway. I mean when you see him with children, he’s just way too sweet. He’s not that guy.”

    Still on the subject, but much more philosophical, Jason, adds, “Yes, they had bad luck at certain times but they had success and the price of fame, you know? It’s a similar tragedy and success story that Def Leppard had, from the moment Pyromania became such a huge entity, the next thing you know, the drummer lost his arm. They finally get themselves through that period then they make another fantastic album called Hysteria. It sold millions and millions and millions again, even more than Pyromania and then their guitarist died.  There’s another great band from England that with a double-barrel name that seems to have had the success and the tragedy.

    “There was a lot of success and tragedy in Led Zeppelin when you think about it, in ’77 when Karac died and then my Dad, you know, three years later. But, you know, I wouldn’t say the deal with the devil thing was anything. And I’ve been around the boys enough to know.”

    Talking about the British press brings up the question of difference of perceptions about Zeppelin.  Does Jason think there’s a difference of perception about the band in the U.K. than there is in the U.S?

    “Oh yes, very much so. What I love about the American press and people is regarding, Led Zeppelin, you can’t drive anywhere in America without hearing the unsung form on a station. Where here in England, you know, it would be very difficult to actually hear it at all. I love the fact that America holds on to what is great and classic, you know, it doesn’t move past it and go, ‘Okay move on.’ America pays homage to it.  America took in Led Zeppelin at the start when England didn’t. Only then, once America found them successful, then England started in on the band. Different stories were more important, you know. Hardly any of the stories of the incident of my dead and Peter beating one of Bill Graham’s people really made it to any form of press here (the U.K). There was a big entity there (the U.S.).”

    Surely, being the son of the drummer in the band, Jason had to have seen more Zeppelin concerts than he could count . . . didn’t he?

    “I didn’t see them often and one of my mates was so shocked that he said, ‘How many Zeppelin concerts did you actually go to?’ I went to Tampa Bowl Stadium which was then (Rain Docks) so I only got to see the first three songs. I went and saw a show in ’77 which was at Madison Square Garden. I saw the show in Earl's Court in ’75; I saw the show in Knebworth in 1979.

    “I don’t actually remember seeing the show in ’72 in Birmingham but this is the show they let me see which really stood out for me. I mean Knebworth, I still - when I look back at Knebworth it was such an amazing experience I really remembered, and still love it there when I watch the “Kashmir” version that Dad did in Knebworth then.”

    In his autobiography, Steven Tyler recounts a little bit of coming over to audition with Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham. Jason comments about his memories of the event.

    “My memories of Steven coming over? I had no idea he was coming because the guys knew that I couldn’t keep my mouth shut half the time because I felt like I’d got the golden ticket but I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody. I remember having an incident while kind of - which is one of the reasons I don’t take it anymore - I used to have trouble sleeping touring on the road and I’d been given an Ambien by my doctor.  All I remember was I kind of got woken up after only going to sleep for two hours to do a radio interview. I did it and thought nothing of it and then suddenly to have my email alert, come up with all these different emails going, ‘Oh, my god! What did you say?

    “I’m thinking, ‘What did I say? I didn’t say anything bad.’ I had no memory of telling the world that I was working with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones again. So they weren’t going to tell me that Steven was coming in. Believe it or not, I’d just tied a bunch of scarves to my cymbal stands on the weekend prior to being there on a Monday.  So, he must have thought I knew but I had scarves tied around all my drum stands and obviously that was the thing that Steven did then. When he came in, he sounded great. I remember him being brilliant. I was a big Aerosmith fan. I remember him getting on my drum kit and playing and then he got on the keyboard and played a bit of “Dream On” and, you know, I enjoyed it immensely.

    “He kind of went for it the first day, but then when he came back in a couple of days later it was good. I mean for me, my take on it is it sounded like Steven Tyler singing Led Zeppelin songs. You know, there was no mimic, there was no mime. He was Steven Tyler singing Led Zeppelin songs and there was something quite cool about that.

    “See, to me I thought that’s the way it worked, you know? Because if you’re going to do it, you can’t replace Robert, you know. If you’re going to do these songs then you do them to the best of your ability. The best of Steven’s ability to me is for him to be himself and that’s why it sounded cool because he wasn’t trying to be somebody else. The music still stayed the same, as close as it could with me on drums.  So I enjoyed it. I must say I had a good feeling about it.”

    There have been a lot of bands where, when a band member has passed away, the band ends up replacing them with the usual comment being, “They would have wanted us to carry on and to continue on the way that we are.”  Led Zeppelin called it quits when John Bonham passed away.  With all that has happened with the band since his dad’s passing, Jason shares his thoughts about the band’s decisions and actions.

    “Well, I definitely I love the fact that they stood by their word.  It was a respect thing, very much so. It was wonderful when they finally came out and said, ‘We cannot continue on without our friend and colleague, John.’ It’s one of the hardest things to listen to, one of the last-ever things of Led Zeppelin broadcasted was that statement.

    “And many years later, after the ‘02’, Robert’s said to me, ‘Jason, as much as you are your father’s son and you play like nobody else, for me, when I revisit these songs, it’s not just revisiting the song, it’s revisiting the whole bunch of memories.’ And he adds, ‘For me Led Zeppelin was with John on drums, not Jason.’  He says, ‘I hope you don’t hate me for that.’

    “I said, ‘No, I get it, and there’s a whole bunch of fans out there which are actually okay with it now.”

    And that they are.

    You can see if Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience is coming to your town by visiting www.jblze.com.  You can also keep up with him by visiting www.jasonbonham.net as well as his work with Black County Communion at www.bccommunion.com. 

  • Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience - Knoxville, 2015

    Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

    Bijou Theater

    Knoxville, Tennessee

    May 5, 2015

     

         

    It’s been over seven years since the remaining members of Led Zeppelin assembled together for their historic performance at London’s O2 arena. At this time, it appears that a tour from the mates isn’t going to happen. 

    However, what we do get to enjoy is Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience which hit Knoxville on May 5th and what an experience it was!

    The band was greeted by a sell out, enthusiastic crowd at Knoxville’s Bijou Theater as they hit the stage playing “We’re Gonna Groove” and went on to blast through Zep favorites such as “Black Dog,” “I Can’t Quit You, Baby,” “Dazed and Confused,” and a bunch of others.

    The band did especially great covers of “Since I Been Loving You,” “Kashmir,” “When The Levee Breaks” and “Stairway To Heaven.” The crowd often sang along and didn’t seem to notice some of the technical difficulties that Bonham would comment about. 

    Guitarist, Tony Catania, was amazing in his treatment of the Zeppelin classics and James Dylan killed it on the vocals.

    A first for Boomerocity: Seeing a drummer actually break a brass cymbal. Yup, Jason did exactly that to which his drum tech quickly replaced while the band left to cheers for an encore. Yes, the band did encore with “Whole Lotta Love” and 

    Jason tours with LZE through the end of May. If you get a chance to get “Experienced,” do. You won’t regret it. 

  • Oceana

    oceanacoverOceana
    Derek Sherinian
    Label: Mascot Records
    Reviewed: September, 2011

    LISTENER BEWARE! Upon commencement of playing Derek Sherinian’s Oceana, one will be diluged with a symphony of progressive metal fusion the likes of which haven’t been heard in quite a long time.

    Oceana is the seventh solo effort by keyboard genius, Derek Sherinian and, honestly, it is his best album yet – and I didn’t think that it would ever be possible. “The Caligula of the Keyboards” (as labeled by Alice Cooper) brought in some of the best and brightest of his vast musical circle of friends to put together this incredible collection of music. Friends like Simon Phillips, Joe Bonamass, Steve Stevens, Steve Lukather, Tony MacAlpine, Doug Aldrich, Tony Franklin (Roy Harper, The Firm, Jimmy Page, among others) and Jimmy Johnson (James Taylor, Allan Holdsworth, Lee Ritenour) bring their remarkable talents to the project to come up with a sound that is like no other.

    The album bombards the listeners eardrums with the intricately tight Five Elements and drags you along for a fun-filled musical journey that guarantees that you’ll have this disc on “repeat” for days to come. I’m hard-pressed to identify a favorite because I love all the tunes on this disc so I’ll narrow it down to three . . . for now.

    El Camino Diablo is a struttin’ tune that Sherinian and Phillips co-wrote with Doug Aldrich. The guitar work is phenomenal and tight. Put this tune on while you’re driving and I dare you to stay within the speed limit.

    I Heard That was co-written with Derek’s Black Country Communion band mate (and another Boomerocity favorite), Joe Bonamassa. JB’s fingerprints are all over this tune is sure to be a crowd favorite. Beautifully written and produced, I found myself hitting “repeat” . . . often.

    The last in my trifecta of favorites is one of Sherinian/Phillip’s three collaborations with another guitar great, Steve Lukather. The tune is Seven Sins and is indescribably smooth – especially the great bass work provided by Jimmy Johnson.

    Oceana. You’ll definitely want this one.

Featured Photo

alessandroampsreduced

Our Featured Photo by Boomerocity friend and famed rock photographer, Rob Shanahan (robshanahan.com), is is a bit different from past featured photos.  This Featured Photo is one used in a new Alessandro Amps – a line of high-end amps that musicians love and covet.

 

 

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