LOVERBOY KEYBOARDIST DOUG JOHNSON’S NOTES TO SELF:
Indie release available on iTunes, CDBaby and his own website is an homage to Beethoven, Bartok, Chopin and Ravel featuring pieces he composed and arranged himself.
Los Angeles, April 30, 2014-The distance from “Working for the Weekend” to classical composers like Beethoven, Bartok, Chopin and Ravel might seem like a long way, but Loverboy keyboardist Doug Johnson has proven there is a connection on his new CD, Notes to Self. Recorded in Vancouver with classical musicians from the Vancouver Opera Symphony, the CBC Radio Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the album is available digitally on iTunes and CDBaby as well as in physical form on his own website (www.dougjohnsonmusic.com/CD.html) via PayPal.
“If you listen, the keyboard parts for many of Loverboy’s songs were very much informed by my classical training,” says Johnson, who started taking piano lessons at four years old, then received his Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (A.R.C.T) degree when he was 18, with a silver medal. “This has been a lifelong passion for me.”
Recorded in Vancouver on a nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano with a variety of classical musicians-most prominently violinist Mark Ferris, who helped with the arrangements, and flautist Lorna McGhee-Notes to Self was inspired by “my physical and emotional connections to the places and people in my life.”
The album ranges from solo pieces like the playful “Sucrose,” a number that reflects the deleterious effects of a birthday cake-induced sugar rush on his visiting granddaughters to a quintet featuring violin, viola, cello, flute and his own keyboards on the opening four-part “The Crescent Suite,” a grand vision of four seasons as seen from running on the beach near his Surrey home in West Canada.
“It goes from the fall, when the storms start coming in (‘Con Brio’) through all four seasons, ending with the summer (‘Maestoso’), when all the tourists arrive and life is more laid-back,” says Johnson, who also captures the brooding, overcast nature of the area’s weather in “Waltz of the Grey Days,” a duet with piano and cello.
“Zoe” and “Emily” are dedicated to his nieces, the former “beautiful, capricious and brave,” the latter “a methodical, persistent problem-solver,” both painting vivid pictures by capturing those personalities in sound. “Two Versions of a Visit” is another piano/cello duet that reflects the very different personalities of his two grandsons. “Warsaw” is his tribute to Chopin, whom Johnson considers “the best composer of piano music who ever lived… I’ve always had a special place in my heart for him.”
Johnson, an outspoken believer in music education, hopes that Notes to Self will simply make people feel good. “I’m hoping it will energize them, and allow them to reflect,” he says. “Music is inspired by the things around us and our experiences, our interactions with others,” adds Johnson. “I wanted to let people in on that process, how this album came about.”
And while he has already performed some of this music recently in a live setting, Johnson isn’t about to ignore his “day” job, playing with Loverboy, who for three decades have entertained several generations of fans with hits like “Working for the Weekend,” “Lovin’ Every Minute of It,” “This Could Be the Night,” “Hot Girls in Love,” “Heaven In Your Eyes,” “Turn Me Loose,” “When It’s Over,” “The Kid is Hot Tonite” and “Queen of the Broken Hearts.”
“Playing with Loverboy is just a great deal of fun,” he says. “We’re like brothers. We get to stand up before thousands of fans, and when you look out into the crowd, you see them smiling, laughing, dancing and having a great time. Our songs seem to have stood the test of time. They’re not only relatable to our old fans, but their kids.”
Catch Loverboy on tour this summer: www.loverboyband.com/tours.html.
FROM POLAND TO PERRIS FOR SCREAM MAKER:
Perris Records is proud to announce the CD release of their first band from Poland Scream Maker. The “Livin’ In The Past” CD cover was designed by Roslaw Szaybo, world-renowned designer of Judas Priest, Elton John, Santana and Bob Marley.The band just finished a tour in Poland with Paul Di’Anno and sharing the stage with Blaze Bayley (Iron Maiden). Scream Maker will also be on 9 city tour through China including the Mordensky Festival festival in Beijing.
NEW WIZARDS OF WINTER ALBUM ARTWORK TO BE DESIGNED BY IOANNIS:
Legendary record cover artist Ioannis (Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, King Crimson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Weir, Allman Brothers Band, Dream Theater) will be joining forces with The Wizards of Winter to produce cover artwork for their upcoming album to be released later this year. Ioannis will also design merchandise and the tour art for their upcoming 2014 schedule.
Says Ioannis, “I think The Wizards of Winter is an incredibly talented group of individuals and it will be cool to work on their holiday project, so I am really looking forward to doing this.” Plans are also in discussion for additional ventures to be announced later this year.
The Wizards of Winter, the prog-metal-meets-classical rock band that has been hard at work recording their second release, are excited to be working with this iconic artist for the design of their album cover artwork. Ioannis has created the covers of over 170 albums, with his art firmly rooted in fantasy and surrealism. The currently untitled album, produced by Tommy Farese of Trans-Siberian Orchestra fame, promises to continue the band’s style of integrating elements of hard rock and classical influences into a distinctive blend of original compositions. “We are honored to have the privilege to work with a creative master like Ioannis,” said Scott Kelly, leader of The Wizards of Winter. “His art work has graced the album covers of so many of the music industry’s legendary performers that he too, truly is a legend. When Ioannis contacted us and told us that he really liked our material and wanted to work together, we were really quite surprised given where the band is in its development. It is just another proof point that the Wizards are really beginning to gain some broad recognition. After speaking with Ioannis, Steve Ratchen, one of the other co-founders of the band, and I both found that besides being a very nice and approachable guy, his artistic concepts and marketing directions appear to be exactly what we need at this time to assist us in moving to the next level. We are humbly grateful that he has chosen to work with us and greatly look forward to working with him.”
For more info visit: thewizardsofwinter.com / www.dangerousage.com / www.facebook.com/DANGEROUSAGEART?ref=hl.
UNISONIC ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM AND EP ‘FOR THE KINGDOM’:
Two years after their celebrated eponymous debut album German hard rock supergroup Unisonic which includes Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, Dennis Ward, Mandy Meyer and last but not least Kosta Zafiriou is back with a new record that will be released on July 25. As a foretaste of their eagerly awaited sophomore album the band will release the EP ‘For The Kingdom’, which contains two new songs and four live tracks, on May 23.
Rock and metal fans had to wait many many years – 23 to be exact – before it finally happened: German metal icons Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske, who kicked off German Metal trailblazers Helloween’s international triumph with the two ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’ records at the end of the 80s, got back together again. Again? Yes, again: Hansen quit Helloween in 1989 to found Gamma Ray while Kiske left four years later to attend to his solo projects. Even though the band already formed a year before Kai joined them but it was his involvement that made Unisonic a so-called supergroup.
The two congenial musicians’ new baby was called Unisonic and instantly aroused enthusiasm in the rock and metal community. Their first single ‘Unisonic’ got well over 150.000 YouTube clicks in just a few days after its release in January 2012 and has by now garnered more than 640.000. When music legends like Kiske on mic and Hansen on guitar, who are completed by bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), guitarrist Mandy Meyer (Krokus, ex Asia & Gotthard) and drummer Kosta Zafiriou (ex Pink Cream 69), pool their creative strengths, the world is going to be set on fire for sure.
And Unisonic did deliver the goods: After their teaser mini album ‘Ignition’ got rave reviews and sold out immediately, the eponymous full-length debut was equally acclaimed and proved impressively that the chemistry between Hansen and Kiske is simply second to none. However, all those who expected a third ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’ album were mistaken: Instead of relying on worn out success patterns the two thoroughbred musicians rather indulged in heavy rock than in power metal and delivered a stylistically manifold album which featured everything from emotional ballad to luscious rock track while occasionally still drawing on buzzing heavy metal of course. The outcome was a unique collection of rock anthems full of energy, melody and magic.
And there’s more to come. Only two years later Hansen, Kiske and co. up the ante again with their sophomore album which is once more produced by Dennis Ward and will be released on July 25th. Heralding this eagerly awaited full-length album, Unisonic will again offer a foretaste in form of an EP called ‘For The Kingdom’ which will see the light of day on May 23rd. The six song collection consists of the brand new album track ‘For The Kingdom’, which hymn-like chorus and its double-bass footwork extraordinaire will rush the blood to the head of all metal fans. Followed by the EP exclusive smasher ‘You Come Undone’ which could have been included on the first band offering as well but also gives a hint of what to expect from the near-by future plus four live recordings from their show at the Masters Of Rock Festival 2012 in the Czech Republic where Unisonic performed a celebrated show (also exclusive to this EP).
NEW SHOWCASES ONLINE:
New Showcases online today for Tesla & Night Ranger (Frontiers Records, out June 6) and Perfect View, Sonic Station & Rik Priem’s Prime (Avenue Of Allies, out May 23). Check them all out!