AOR and Melodic Rock News on 12/05/2014

TWO CROWNS UNITE ONCE AGAIN:
Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the signing of Beauvoir / Free for the release of a brand new album during 2015.
Beauvoir / Free sees a new cooperation between famed singer, songwriter and producer Jean Beauvoir (ex-Plasmatics, Voodoo X and collaborator of KISS, Ramones and Little Steven among others) and guitarist Micki Free (ex-Shalamar). The pair was responsible for penning the milestone debut Crown Of Thorns album which was originally signed by Interscope Records and later released independently throughout Europe and Asia in 1994.

With a tour supporting Bon Jovi and Van Halen for three months throughout all of Europe, playing to over a million people and with raving audience response. Crown of Thorns soon become one of the biggest Hard Rock bands to emerge in the second half of the 90’s. Free however had already left the band by the time in which Crown of Thorns second album was released and was replaced by Tommy Lafferty. Free and Beauvoir are now reuniting with a promise to release their most exciting collaboration ever. Beauvoir says: “I truly look forward to this reunion and collaborating with Micki once again! Stay tuned cause It will rock!!!”
The pair played Hard Rock Calling UK and 2 shows in Scandinavia during April and look forward to more shows in the coming months. Frontiers plans to release the album in early 2015.

URIAH HEEP TO RELEASE DIGITALLY THE BRAND NEW SINGLE “ONE MINUTE” TODAY:
Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the digital release of Uriah Heep first single “One Minute” today. The new single is available from today for download (iTunes, Amazon etc) and legal streaming (Spotify, Deezer, etc) on all digital platforms across the world! The new single is also available in a special version with German lyrics and it is called Eine Minute.
The digital single is taken from the forthcoming album entitled Outsider which is planned for release on June 6 in Europe, June 9 in the UK and June 10 in North America on Frontiers. “Outsider” is Uriah Heep’s 24th studio album which follows the success of “Into the Wild” and extensive worldwide touring.
Uriah Heep debuted in 1970 with the release of one of Hard Rock music’s milestones “Very ‘eavy… Very ‘umble” and have since sold in excess of 40 million albums worldwide. They constantly tour in the world, playing in over 56 countries and the band’s live set list features hits from the 70s and 80s, such as “The Wizard”, “Free ‘n Easy”, “Sunrise” and their monster hits “Easy Livin’”, “July Morning” and “Lady in Black”, as well as new material.
Uriah Heep play up to 125 shows a year to a total audience of 500,000 people and a full tour in support of the new release has been already announced.

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DOUG ALDRICH DEPARTS WHITESNAKE:
Guitarist Doug Aldrich has posted this statement on his departure from Whitesnake
“Well I guess news that I have left Whitesnake was leaked… I planned and hoped DC and I could release a joint statement. We will as soon as possible but everything happened so fast that we aren’t ready. Firstly, Thanks to my big bro David for such a killer run together!! So many songs, tours, projects, always inspiring and pushing each other! Mostly I was to thank the loyal WS Choir and fans around the world. You have been so amazing to me and it’s been an honor to play for you with WS.
I love you guys and I’ll see you all again. Thank you so very much for your unending support. Also, not sure how or where the info started about a Solo Career but this is not true or correct information. I have no plans at this time to go solo 🙂 
I’m just not in the Whitesnake/David Coverdale band anymore. I’ll let you guys know what I’m doing ASAP but for now please know I very much appreciate your support and will hopefully do a statement with My Brutal Brother DC shortly.
Big love for the Aldrich clan.”

REDLINE TO HEADLINE AT THE ISLE OF MAN TT RACES THIS YEAR!:
Redline are proud to announce that they have been invited by the official IOM TT organisers to play at the prestigious Villa Marina Royal Hall on Thursday 5th June. This is the first time Redline will have played at the TT Races and are honoured to be playing their song ‘King Of The Mountain’, which has now become an anthem for the event, to all the TT fans! Redline wrote the song as a tribute to the TT Races and have been making the pilgrimage to the event themselves since 2000, so for the band this really is a dream come true!
Ticket information at: villagaiety.ticketsolve.com/shows/873514301/events?show_id%5B0%5D=873514301.


R.I.P. GRAPHIC ARTIST DIRK ILLING:
It is with deep regret and sadness that we inform all Black Majesty fans that our artist and good friend Dirk Illing, who created all art for our album covers/designs has suddenly passed away. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his immediate family and friends. We are truly saddened by this news. May he Rest In Peace. ~ Black Majesty – Melbourne, Australia. www.blackmajesty.com

R.I.P. Dirk. One talented artist.


LUKATHER TALKS TO HUFFINGTON POST:
A great new interview with Toto’s Steve Lukather online now at: www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ragogna/conversations-with-totos_b_5292767.html. A couple of highlights:

On the new album:
“We’re working on our new album, it’s really strong. We haven’t made one in ten years. Ironically through a lawsuit we go forced back into doing it, but once we got into the process we realized, “We’re going to make a really good one.” We’re making one for the band. We’re not trying to follow a trend or go all EDM or have rap guys do our stuff, we’re going to do a Toto record, our classic sound. We wrote some really good songs..”

On the growing success of the Live In Poland DVD:
“We didn’t hype this thing, but all of a sudden it came out and just took off, it was like, “What the fuck, are you kidding me?” This is fantastic for a bunch of old shits like us.”

Advice for young artists:
“Learn how to f**king play and sing. The big lie to a young person is they go into a studio and maybe they have some raw talent but it’s very rough. Maybe they’ve got a pretty face. But all of a sudden, they achieve fame and then they realize it’s the Milli Vanilli thing, they can’t really pull it off. So once you get found out, your career’s over. If you can really play and really sing and really write material, you’ll have a long career, if you’re really good and you can take punch after punch…” 

POD BRIEFS:
In episode 10 of One On One With Mitch Lafon. Mitch is joined by co-host Russ Dwarf of the Killer Dwarfs. The two discuss bands that have successfully and unsuccessfully changed lead singers including Skid Row, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Journey, Foreigner and more. Plus, Russ talks about whether or not he could be replaced in his band. The two are joined by Tom Gimbel and Jeff Pilson of Foreigner who discuss their singer (Kelly Hansen) as well as their upcoming The Soundtrack Of Summer tour and album with Styx and Don Felder.
Interview link: www.spreaker.com/user/talkingmetal/one-on-one-with-mitch-lafon-episode-10_2?autoplay=1.

This week on the Double Stop Podcast, Jason Bieler explains how he got started as a guitar player, and his first big break playing in Jeff Scott Soto’s Talisman. He covers how Saigon Kick got their start, their early success with Love Is On The Wayќ (the ballad that killed hair metal), his move to lead vocalist, his unexpected success in Indonesia, Super TransAtlantic, Bieler Bros Records, the reunion with Saigon Kick, and his new project ­ Owl Stretching. thedoublestop.com/ep-14-jason-bieler-saigon-kick/

ARTIST/PRODUCER BIG SWEDE TO RELEASE ROCK SINGLE ‘ROCK STAR’:
Los Angeles, CA, May 9th, 2014 – The Swedish born producer/artist known as Big Swede is releasing his new rock single, Rock Star, on May 15, 2014. The release includes a remix and features Johnny Griparic (Slash’s Snakepit), Patrick Stone (Adler’s Appetite) andHowie Simon (Alcatrazz). “I have used these guys on a lot of tracks and now was the time to release a rock track. I have been wanting to do this for a while,” says Big Swede.
The release comes with an original version and a remix. “The original version is a straight up rocker. I was going for hi-energy with a live band feel. Then I started to chop up the guitar riff and play around with the vocals. That became the remix, which also has a halftime feel in certain sections and a short breakdown,” continues Big Swede.
Big Swede released three solo records last year, “Electronic Core District Pt.1-3” and one collaboration, “There Is Still Time”. “It was nice to do some guitar based rock as a lot of my stuff lately has been electronic, in a soundtrack vein. I like to switch between different styles and there is definitely more Big Swede rock coming soon,” continues Big Swede.
Big Swede’s credits include Mercedes Benz “Super Service” Commercial feat. Roger Federer, NCIS, The Mentalist, CSI: Miami, Alphas, 90210, Lie To Me, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Punk’d, Real World, tour introduction music for Van Halen, and drum samples for KISS and Slash. Collaborations include Reeves Gabrels (The Cure, David Bowie), Paul Ill (James Blunt, Christina Aguilera) and Greg Hampton (Alice Cooper, Lita Ford).
Itunes Preview: itunes.apple.com/us/album/rock-star-feat.-patrick-stone/id872746841 / www.bigswedestudios.com.

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Additional AOR and Melodic Rock News on 01/05/2014

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.
WebLink: www.perrisrecords.com.

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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!