Friday, July 18, 2014

LADY ANTEBELLUM/747: New album touches down on September 30th, 2014!


Trio Unveils 747 Album Cover, Track Listing and Additional Details for New Album

Nashville, TN – July 18, 2014 – Seven-time GRAMMY winning trio Lady Antebellum announced today that their fifth studio album 747 will land in stores on Sept. 30. The album’s sultry lead single “Bartender” is already soaring up the country charts to become one of their fastest rising singles.  Nathan Chapman co-produced the 11-song disc with Lady A for the Capitol Records Nashville release. 

“We unanimously knew that our album title had to be 747,” said Lady A’s Hillary Scott. “The track itself has this pushing, driving spirit about it that sums up our attitude right now.  We are pushing ourselves as a band and as songwriters…taking ourselves out of our comfort zone and not taking ourselves too seriously.   There's an urgency and an energy to it that we've never released before."

“We are so ready to get this music out,” continued Charles Kelley. “To get the reaction we’ve gotten from ‘Bartender’ has only made us more fired up about the rest of these songs!”

“We had the opportunity to write with some new songwriters and really dig for outside songs that were songs we wish we’d written,” added Dave Haywood. “As we took them into the studio, we changed our approach and challenged ourselves to try some new things that were outside of what we’d done before."


1. Long Stretch of Love
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Josh Kear)
2. Bartender
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Rodney Clawson)
3. Lie With Me
(Marc Beeson, Abe Stoklasa)
4. Freestyle
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Shane McAnally)
5. Down South
(Stephanie Chapman, Christian Rada, Dave Thomson)
6. One Great Mystery
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Josh Kear)
 7. Sounded Good At The Time
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Brad Warren, Brett Warren)
 8. She Is
(Ben Rector, Jeff Pardo)
 9. Damn You Seventeen
(Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
10. 747
(Gordie Sampson, Caitlyn Smith, Cary Barlowe)
11. Just A Girl

(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Shane McAnally)

Mid-way through their headlining 80-city TAKE ME DOWNTOWN TOUR, Lady A continues to take new music and their biggest hits to fans across the country. For more information on new music and for a full list of upcoming shows, visit

Thursday, July 17, 2014

An EXCLUSIVE interview with DAVE MASON!

You Can All Join In:

An EXCLUSIVE interview 



By Stephen SPAZ Schnee

     Dave Mason has rarely played by the rules.  Born in Worcester, England, the singer and guitar player first came to the public’s attention as a member of legendary Rock band Traffic alongside Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood.  The band received a lot of positive press and interest was high when they released their first single in the middle of 1967.  However, magic happened a few months later when their second single, the Mason-penned “Hole In My Shoe,” shot up the UK charts and landed in the #2 position.  Anticipation for the band’s debut album, Mr. Fantasy, was at all-time high, but by the time the LP hit the shops, Dave Mason had already left the band.  Thankfully, he returned to the fold the following year and wrote half of the band’s self-titled sophomore album released in October of 1968. One of his contributions was the song “Feelin’ Alright,” which has become Traffic’s best-known track.  “Feelin’ Alright” has been covered by artists as diverse as Hubert Laws, Three Dog Night, Lulu, The Jackson 5, and Joe Cocker.  However, even the success of “Feelin’ Alright” wasn’t enough and Mason left Traffic again, only to return briefly in 1971.  He pursued a successful solo career that began in earnest with his 1970 debut Alone Together.  The following year, he threw another curveball and released the excellent Dave Mason & Cass Elliot album, a collaboration with the vocalist best known for her work with The Mamas & The Papas.  For the next decade he continued to release albums that stayed true to his Rock roots but also added more interesting musical elements into the mix. He was not afraid to work outside of the box, creating music that he wanted to make in hopes that his fans would follow – and they did.  Though he remained a critically successful solo artist and a popular touring act, Dave Mason didn’t score his next hit until 1977’s “We Just Disagree,” which reached #12 on the Billboard charts. While  was focused on his own career, he did manage to work with some of the biggest names in music including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Phoebe Snow, David Crosby, Graham Nash and many others.  These days, Dave Mason is not as prolific as he once was, although he manages to please fans in a live setting when he is out on the road touring.
     To coincide with his 2014 tour, Dave has released the album Future’s Past, which offers fresh new arrangements of solo tracks, one new song (“That’s Freedom”) and new interpretations of two classic Traffic songs – “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “You Can All Join In.” In choosing those two Traffic tracks instead of his self-penned hits for the band, Mason proves he is still far from predictable.  Having Joe Bonamassa add lead guitar to “Dear Mr. Fantasy” was a stroke of genius. The album is a nice look back at the past but remains rooted in the present.  The new version of “As Sad And Deep As You” (originally from Alone Together) is stunning and betters the original by far. He even manages to add a new twist to his cover of Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen.”  Future’s Past is a very worthy entry into his impressive back catalog and will delight long-time fans and bring some new ones along for the ride.
     Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to chat with Dave Mason about Future’s Past and more…

SPAZ:  Your new album, Future’s Past, is now available.  How are you feeling about this project and the reaction you’ve had to it so far?
DAVE:  Well, it’s a too early for me to know.  Most of the CDs that people will buy are on the road when I’m touring. It’s available on the website too – But what’s going on in the outside of that world, I don’t really know at this point.  I’m going to have to wait to see what happens.

SPAZ:  What inspired you to record these specific songs as opposed to just sticking with the hits?
DAVE:   Well, to be honest with you – when we’re not out playing around, I keep myself amused by playing around in my studio and either recording new stuff or finding a new way to do something that I think is still relevant. A lot of my lyrics are somewhat timeless so then it’s just a question of what you’re putting behind it. I tend to record a lot of different things when I’m home and there’s really no intention like planning for an album per se.  But I had these tracks and obviously since I’m out on the road for the rest of this year and into 2015 doing Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam show, I did “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” - which I put in a minor key and did my own interpretation of it – and “You Can All Join In.” I put those on because they both sounded great to me and obviously they were relevant to the tour. 

SPAZ:  It sounds like you’re really reconnecting with the songs.
DAVE:  Yeah, I was.  That’s why I’m doing the Traffic Jam show.  I’m 68 years of age and I was just going on 19 when I was in Traffic.  I’ve been thinking for five or six years about doing this, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Frankly I didn’t quite know how it would be accepted with me doing it, but it’s turned out to be rather good and it’s nice to revisit that stuff. 

SPAZ:  Do you feel, being an artist, that sometimes in order to keep things interesting, you have to shake them up a little bit?
DAVE:  Part of it is just that. The same with an audience - they get bored.  So I’m no different from the people in the audience.  It’s just that I’m the guy up there being able to play these songs. I’ve got the same things to deal with as everybody else.  You know, pants go on one leg at a time.  I don’t care what your name is or how special you think you are. 

SPAZ:    I think that “As Sad and Deep as You” is a really powerful track on this record.
DAVE:   Yeah, it’s better than the original. It came out really well. It was basically a live recording.  Actually, the only thing that was not live was the lead guitar on that. 

SPAZ:  Did you approach the Traffic tracks with a little trepidation knowing that Traffic fans might be a little harder to impress?

DAVE:  To be honest with you – I have to make stuff that I like and have to hope that people pick up on what I’m doing.  Everybody’s gonna put their own twist on it anyway no matter what, but essentially, I have to go with what I like.  I tried doing that once early in my career with the label.  “Well, you gotta be more like this..” and I tried it and it was like “Forget this. It’s not me.  It’s not gonna happen.”  So a big part of lasting as long as I have is I try to be as authentic as I can in being me because that’s what I think most people pick up on.  And most certainly when you’re playing live.

SPAZ:  These recordings are very warm and intimate, production-wise.  Is recording today a completely different beast than even 8 to 10 years ago?
DAVE:  It’s no different than it was 40 or 50 years ago other than the technology.  I don’t even begin to record unless there’s a song to record - you’re really just trying to catch a performance with that song.  If you’re getting a great performance then you’ve got the magic. When recording in a studio, you can change and polish things to a certain extent, but you don’t want to do it to the point where it’s just ‘overproduced.’ 

SPAZ:    You’ve got a pretty healthy solo back catalog, but you haven’t been as prolific in the last few decades.  Do you have a stockpile of songs that you’re sitting on that you’re just going to surprise us with in a short amount of time?
DAVE:   Well, I don’t have a huge amount of stuff. I wish there was.  The thing is, I’ve never been that prolific.  I mean, there were were eight songs on Alone Together.  It took me two years to write those eight songs.  And you know, those eight songs would have been on the next Traffic album if things would’ve worked out.  Or at least two or three of them would’ve been. 

SPAZ:  I know that you’ve done like a lot of cover versions and you have your songs covered as well.  Do you find that artists either don’t take enough chances or perhaps take too many in regards to re-interpreting someone else’s songs?
DAVE:  There are certain artists that have a habit of taking one of their songs and kind of making it unrecognizable. (laughs).  Live, that is.  So I don’t really go for that because the bottom line is - your audience spends money to come see you and, for the most part, it’s not a question of just the song that they want to hear.  It’s that the song triggers a moment in time for them.  And that’s what the connection is.  It takes them to a place where they were. I guess the word is ‘touch people’ and I try not to make too much of it. (laughs) I don’t read my own press so I’m not gonna get too carried away with it.  All I can do is just keep moving forward as much as I can.  Thank God I can still get up there and play and sing.
SPAZ:  What’s next for Dave Mason? 
DAVE:  We’ll be back on tour starting in July.
SPAZ:  And then hopefully a new Dave Mason record, right?
DAVE:  Well, I don’t know about that. This one basically just came out on the 13th of May.  There’s only so much that I can put out!

Thanks to Dave Mason

Special thanks to Kevin Day, Aaron Feterl, Tony Valenziano, Danielle Isitt and Dana House




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

LOS PACAMINOS are here! An EXCLUSIVE interview with legendary British vocalist PAUL YOUNG!

Sombrero Times:

An EXCLUSIVE interview
Los Pacaminos’ 
(Yes, THAT Paul Young!)

By Stephen SPAZ Schnee

     Los Pacaminos plays music from the heart. Their blend of Tex Mex, Americana, Country, Folk, Blues, and Rock is passionate and inspiring. Play A Fistful Of Statins for your friends and they'll be certain that the band is made up of musicians who have spent the last few years traveling the U.S., baking under the hot summer sun during the day and sleeping in ramshackle motels at night. Their rootsy sound incorporates many influences that were born and raised along the border between the U.S. and Mexico: haunting pedal steel guitar, gently plucked and fervently strummed acoustic guitars, accordion, harmonica, and melodies that harken back to the wide eyed innocence of early Rock 'n' Roll.  Upon further investigation, it may surprise the listener to find out that Los Pacaminos is not based in Texas or Tennessee - they are actually from the UK.  Not only that, the band features some pretty talented musicians including Pop/Soul vocalist Paul Young, Drew Barfield (formerly of Power Pop legends The Keys), Matt Irving (who has played with many artists including Squeeze), Melvin Duffy (pedal steel player extraordinaire), Jamie Moses (Tom Jones/Queen/Pretenders) Steve Greetham (Joan Armatrading/Julia Fordham)  Mark Pinder (Zaine Griff/Alison Moyet) and Jim Russell (Scotty Moore, Elvis Costello, Bob Geldof).  Even veteran musicians Hamish Stuart and Robbie McIntosh make appearances on A Fistful Of Statins.
     While Paul Young may be the most familiar face in the line-up due to his string of hit singles in the ‘80s – “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home),” “Come Back And Stay,” “Oh Girl,” and “Everytime You Go Away” to name a few - the band is a true collaborative effort.  With vocals and songwriting provided equally by all the featured members, Los Pacaminos are far from a side-project for Young… or any member for that matter.  Formed 20 years ago, the band was an informal project that allowed the members to embrace their love of American Roots music.  The first Los Pacaminos album was released in 2002 and it showcased a band that had a passion for the Americana/Tex-Mex sound they admired.  Twelve years on, the band has finally released their follow-up album and it is giant leap forward.  Each and every track on the album sounds as warm and familiar as a trip to grandma’s house, yet they are all self-penned gems apart from the cover of Jay & The Americans’ “Come A Little Bit Closer.”  A Fistful Of Statins is the type of album you should be playing all summer long at family BBQs and chili pepper-eating contests.  One spin of this album and you too might be convinced that A Fistful Of Statins is the best Americana album to emerge from the UK since… the first Los Pacaminos album in 2002!
     Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to catch up with Paul Young to discuss Los Pacaminos and the new album….

STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE:  A Fistful Of Statins is about to be released. How are you feeling about the reaction so far and the long journey to get to the second record?
PAUL YOUNG:  You’re one of the first who have actually heard it outside the band and the record company so It will be very interesting to see how it goes.  We did take a long time making the album.  That’s mainly because it was never made to be a going concern and we did the first album out of politeness really because the fans wanted us to make an album. Then we did the second one because we just thought well, we’ve being going 20 years now.  It was about time we actually should. When we put all the songs together that we’d written in bit and pieces, we weren’t sure we’d have a cohesive album. But then we got about a third of the way in and the engineer was going, you know this is going to be better than the first.  We were going, yeah, it does look that way, doesn’t it?  And so, I don’t think we really know how good we are until we actually sit down and see what we’ve got and then it’s a surprise to us. 

SPAZ:  I think this is a more confident Los Pacaminos record.  It sounds much looser and you seem comfortable in your own skin, so to speak. In a perfect world, “Jump Back Baby” could be a number one single.  It has such a wonderful melody ….
PAUL: If it’s a song that we’ve written that’s got a vague Orbisonist quality to it then it always goes to Drew (to sing).  That song is yet another one that has got very definite Orbison qualities to it. 

SPAZ:    What inspired the whole idea of Los Pacaminos? 
PAUL:  We formed in ’92.  I became engrossed in it because I thought, well if we’re gonna do Tex-Mex music I really gotta explore the genre.  So I was really, really buying lots of it and listening to lots of it. When I made my solo album (1997’s Paul Young), it was difficult to separate the two projects (solo career and Los Pacaminos).  It’s getting kind of easier now. There is a song on the new album that I wrote as a Paul Young song.  I’m working on a Paul Young project at the moment, but its covers.  So that song wasn’t going to see the light of day for a long time and I thought well, all the Pacaminos played on the demos, so I offered it back to the Pacaminos. 

SPAZ:  You’re the most well-known member of the band, so does it surprise your fans when they realize that you are not the only lead singer for Los Pacaminos?
PAUL:   Yeah, when people come to see us for the first time, they still have difficulty with that. You always get one or two adverse comments… One of them said, “You should stick to Soul music Paul” and it wasn’t my vocal in the song (laughs). Then another girl said, “I don’t like where you’re going with this at all, Paul.  You’ve lost a fan.”  They don’t think that I can go up and do something else and do it equally well. I started the band.  I try to steer it as best I can, but at the same time, I want the guys to have input.  It’s so important.  So, I just want to be able to steer it in the right direction and  the fact that Drew sings some of the songs doesn’t make me any less proud of it because I wrote the song and I knew where it was going.

SPAZ:  How did you end up meeting each of the guys?  I’m a huge Drew Barfield fan from his work with The Keys.
PAUL:  Yeah.  Undiscovered talent, but he never got the breaks. He’s a really good songwriter, and he still sounds like a 24-year-old boy. I came across him because of his songs. I covered one on my second album, The Secret Of Association. Then I covered a couple more, and I thought I better start writing with this guy because I really like what he’s doing.  We co-wrote a couple of things for me as a solo artist. When I decided to get Los Pacaminos going, it was quite important to me that I was back in a band and not the focal point of the band so I said, “I want you in it because I think we should share songs.” I asked Jamie to be in it because Jamie has got a good voice even though he’s a guitar player first and foremost.  And that was the idea - I just wanted to be in a band. I’m a reluctant solo artist.  I took the (solo) deal because there was nothing else coming up (laughs) and no one wanted to sign the band I was in and to be truthful, the band I was in didn’t like a few of the ideas I had…  it wasn’t much more than that really
SPAZ: You’ve got a revolving rhythm section.  Who played on the album?
PAUL:  Mark Pinder couldn’t make the recordings.  He’s the first and foremost drummer so, we got Jim Russell who is another Pacamino.  And also we save little places for people.  We always save a place for Robbie MacIntosh.  He does a couple of solos.  Robbie’s on the first album.  He’s a Pacamino, as well. Now the band is growing and we found Jim Cregan recently who has only done a few gigs.  He didn’t make it on the record.  There are plenty of people out there that play in the band once and then go, “Anytime you want, call me.” It’s fun. Just really happy music to play.

SPAZ:  “Come A Little Bit Closer” is a cover.  Are all the others originals?
PAUL:   Yes, it’s all originals apart from that one.
SPAZ:  “The Girl From Tennessee” sounds so authentically Americana, it could have been written at any point here in the States during the last 50 years.  I had to double check that it was an original!
PAUL:   (chuckles)  Really? 

SPAZ:  Now, why did it take so long for this record to come out after the last one?
PAUL:  Because we get involved with the playing and the gigging and everybody’s got other jobs to do so unfortunately, it gets put to the back burner a lot.  I said to the boys, “We really shouldn’t wait this long next time because some of us won’t be here and we really should have a third album.” I also think this material is crying out to be put into movies.  You know, all those spring break semester films…
SPAZ:  I’m thinking this is the perfect soundtrack to the summer here in California.
PAUL:  Yeah, I’d love it to be that.  And like you said, songs like “The Girl From Tennessee,” they’re all based on what we see when we go to America.

SPAZ:  Well, the record is a very cohesive.  I see it as a love letter to the music you guys enjoy…
PAUL:  Yeah, it is. It’s a definite move on from the first one.  I think we have matured a little bit.

SPAZ:  Before your solo career there was Streetband, there was Q-Tips and now there is Los Pacaminos.  Do you feel more comfortable in a band environment as opposed to being a solo artist?
PAUL:   Yeah, I do. When I made solo records, I always got great players. I didn’t get them in to tell them what to do - I got them in and I said, “What would you do on this?” And I’d listen to what they would come up with.  I didn’t always use it, but I listened. That’s the way it is with the Pacaminos.  Everybody’s got their input and I welcome that and just want to be able to keep the focus. I know it moves away from being a basic Tex-Mex band.  I think we’re more a cowboy band that’s playing border music.  That is the best way I can put it really.

SPAZ:  This record could possibly introduce you to a whole new audience that is completely unaware of your solo career.
PAUL:  There’s a part of me that wants to be able to say that I went away from something that I knew was good and was successful, then started something else and that too became successful.  That would be great.

SPAZ:  What’s been spinning on your record, CD, and DVD players?
PAUL:  My kids have been saying, “You’ve got to watch Breaking Bad.”  I’m just on the first series. The most recent things I’ve been listening to? There’s a guitarist by the name of Tomatito, he’s a Flamenco player that I really like.  I kind of just discovered him.  And as far as pop music goes, the latest one is Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” which I think is fantastic. 
SPAZ:  So, do I see a Miley Cyrus and Paul Young duet in the future?
PAUL:  (Laughs) I don’t think so! But my favorite at the moment is “Happy” by Pharell Williams….what’s not to like about it? I think the last perfect pop record I heard was “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse - everything was in the right place.  And it’s the same with “Happy” as well. It can be played on the radio for years.

Thanks to Paul Young

Special thanks to Matthew Ingham and Dana House



Monday, July 14, 2014

GARTH BROOKS news! Signs with Sony Music/RCA Nashville! NEW album! Tour!

(Photo: Alan Poizner)

New York – July 10, 2014 –Singer/songwriter Garth Brooks will release his first album of all-new material in more than a decade under a new agreement with Sony Music, it was announced today by Brooks and Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris at a press conference in Nashville.
Under the worldwide deal, Garth, who in 2000, was certified by the RIAA as the #1-selling solo artist in U. S. history, will put out a new solo album on or about Black Friday in November through his own Pearl imprint in conjunction with Sony Music’s RCA Nashville that will be listed as a Pearl/RCA Nashville release.  Sony Music will provide distribution services and collaborate in marketing efforts, as RCA Nashville will promote singles at country radio. Additionally, for the first time ever, Garth catalogue music and as well as the new studio album will be available digitally, exclusively through his website at, beginning with catalogue content in the next few weeks.
The worldwide entertainer, who has sold 134 million albums to date and has amassed virtually every music award possible, also confirmed his highly-anticipated world tour, with the first city scheduled to be announced on July 15.
“Words cannot express how excited I am to get to make new music and tour again,” remarked Garth. “I cannot thank Sony Music and RCA Nashville enough for making that dream a reality.”
Said Morris, “Garth Brooks is one of the most accomplished and beloved artists of all time. We are thrilled he is joining the Sony Music family, and excited to be joining forces with him to bring much anticipated new music to his many fans around the world.”
“Garth redefined the parameters of what country music could be, and what it could accomplish. We are beyond proud that he’s chosen to begin the next chapter of an extraordinary career with us,” said Sony Music Nashville Chairman & CEO Gary Overton.
Fans were able to see this morning’s news unfold in real time on, where the press conference aired via Livestream, with Brooks’ site poised for an official re-launch on July 15.
About Garth Brooks
Since his first single, “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” debuted at country radio in 1989, Garth Brooks has taken 25 singles to the #1 position on country airplay charts and his albums have spent more weeks at #1 on sales charts than any other artist since the inception of SoundScan. Garth has received six RIAA Diamond Awards, each commemorating 10 million albums sold – and, he is the only solo artist in RIAA history to have accomplished this feat.
In 2001, Garth retired and moved back to Oklahoma to raise his children. In 2008 The President Elect, himself, requested that Garth headline President Obama's Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. A crowd of over 300,000 did the "wave" to Garth's performance of "Shout" while the President sang along. That same year the Governor of California asked Garth to help the State. Garth performed 5 concerts in 2 days with the proceeds from 83,000 tickets sold donated to efforts to prevent fire catastrophes. Portions of the live concerts were shown as a TV special, "Garth Brooks: Live in L.A." allowing viewers to donate as well.

In December 2010, Garth finished an astonishing 9 sold out concerts in 6 days to raise money for the flood relief efforts in Tennessee. ABC World News Tonight declared Garth The Person of the Week and the Mayor of Nashville announced that this was a record December for downtown Nashville merchants due to the over 145,000 who attended the concerts.

In January, 2012 he was named the best selling artist of the last two decades by Billboard, Nielsen and SoundScan, with a whopping 68.5 million sales. Brooks also sold out his recent appearance at the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede. The sell out 15,000+ seats happened in less than a minute. Garth was recently inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York as well as the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In October he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Performing for his induction were his heroes George Strait, James Taylor and Bob Seger. On November 29th, 2013, Garth took the night with almost nine million viewers watching his CBS special "Live From Las Vegas." That very day Garth released his new boxed set, Blame It All On My Roots, which debuted for the 13th time in Garth's career at #1 on the country charts. The boxed set also rose to the top of the Billboard 200 Chart making it the 9th time Garth has been able to achieve that feat.

Garth recently broke another record when he sold out 5 consecutive dates at Croke Park in Dublin, a feat no other artist had achieved. In fact, over 400,000 tickets were sold. Just after this feat, Garth's performance of "Friends in Low Places" was the last thing heard on The Tonight Show as Jay Leno ended his 22 year reign as The Tonight Show host.

About Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment is a global recorded music company with a current roster that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars. The company boasts a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. It is home to premier record labels representing music from every genre, including Arista Nashville, Beach Street/Reunion Records, Bystorm Entertainment, Columbia Nashville, Columbia Records, Day 1, Epic Records, Essential Records, Kemosabe Records, Legacy Recordings, MASTERWORKS, Polo Grounds, RCA Inspiration, RCA Nashville, RCA Records, Sony Classical, Sony Music Latin, Star Time International, Syco Music, Vested in Culture and Volcano. Sony Music Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. 
# # #
Photo Information – Pictured (l-r) at this morning’s Garth Brooks press conference:  Garth’s attorney Rusty Jones, Sony Music Entertainment’s EVP Business Affairs/General Counsel Julie Swidler and EVP/CFO Kevin Kelleher, Garth’s personal manager Bob Doyle, Brooks, Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris, Sony Music Nashville Chairman & CEO Gary Overton, and Garth’s business manager Kerry O’Neil.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

An EXCLUSIVE interview with LOVERBOY's Paul Dean!

Still Hot Tonite:

An EXCLUSIVE interview 
Paul Dean

By Stephen SPAZ Schnee

     Loverboy is one of Canada’s most successful Rock bands.  Yes, I said ‘is!’ For those who have not been paying attention, Loverboy is still around bringing audiences to their feet every time they take their show on the road.  Whether you preferred to call them AOR or Classic Rock, Loverboy was one of the biggest hard rockin’ outfits of the ‘80s.  They were all over the radio and MTV and deservedly so.  Today, the name Loverboy may instantly remind you of red leather pants and headbands, but once the music kicks in you’ll be transformed back to a time when good-time, fist-pumping Rock was the soundtrack to every party you attended.  The band not only knew how to rock, they also wrote loads of memorable chart hits and FM radio staples - “Turn Me Loose,” “Working For The Weekend,” “The Kid Is Hot Tonite,” “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It,” “This Could Be The Night,” and many others.   Loverboy was – and remain - ROCK AWESOMENESS and they deserve your love, respect, and loyalty.
     What will surprise many is that 30+ years on the band still features four of the five original members – vocalist Mike Reno, guitarist Paul Dean, keyboardist Doug Johnson, and drummer Matt Frenette.  Sadly, original bassist Scott Smith lost his life in a boating accident in 2000 after being swept overboard.  With blessings from Scott’s family, the remaining members of Loverboy brought in bassist Ken ‘Spider’ Sinnaeve, who had played with Dean and Frenette in their pre-Loverboy outfit Streetheart.  Since then, the band has continued to tour and work on new material. Though they are not as prolific as they once were, a new Loverboy full-length is always a cause for celebration.   They released an album of new material in 2007 (Just Getting Started) and five years later they recorded the album Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, which contained three new songs plus solid re-recordings of some of their biggest hits.  When the band began thinking of their next project, instead of focusing on a new set of songs they decided to go back into their archives and revisit some of the material that they had worked on in the past but had never released.  What they found was a treasure trove of tracks from the peak of their popularity in the early ‘80s. The songs they discovered were in varying stages of completion – some were just riffs and ideas while others were laid down in the studio and abandoned for one reason or another.  The band took those previously unreleased tracks, re-recorded many parts, expanded on others and came up with the captivating Unfinished Business, a triumphant recording that will excite their fans and hopefully attract a bunch of new ones.  Yes, it’s classic Loverboy in full flight – Reno still sounds amazing after all of these years and the rest of the band rocks harder (and better) than most bands half their age.  There are even some tracks that feature Smith’s bass work, bringing the band full-circle for the first time in 14 years.  Unfinished Business contains some of the band’s greatest tracks since their sophomore album Get Lucky.  Songs like “Countin’ The Nights,” “Come Undone,” “What Makes You So Special,” and “Crack Of The Whip” are Loverboy at their best.  The album is heavier than what old fans may expect, but they’ve kept that classic Loverboy sound intact. Nearly 35 years after the release of their debut album, Loverboy is still just as vital as ever.  
     Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to catch up with guitarist Paul Dean to discuss the new album and all things Loverboy…

STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE:  Unfinished Business is just about to be released.  How are you feeling about this project and the reaction you’ve had so far?
PAUL DEAN:  We’ve had some really great reaction.  The best reaction we got was from the guys at Redeye.  They flipped out.   And of course, when someone else flips out, that makes me flip out!

SPAZ:  Were the songs on the album completed but never released or were they little riffs and ideas that you had dancing around?
PAUL:  Some of them were really close to being done and just needed that finishing touch.  Some of them needed to be completely re-written. I wrote “Come Undone” on the piano in 1974.  The first and only tune I’ve written on a piano, I think.  I’m kind of from the guitar world.  It got completely re-written and re-arranged over the past year.  I flew to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Matt lives, with a laptop, and we went into a friend’s basement and we cut the drums.  I’d taken the tune and re-arranged it.  Then we brought it home and Mike and I listened to it and said, “You know, it’s actually a little bit down.  Why don’t we just turn it completely around and make it positive.  Kind of make it more Loverboy as opposed to ‘Oh, poor me’ - make it to ‘This is a celebration!’” And so, Mike says, “I love that idea.  Let’s do that.”  So we re-wrote the lyrics to it.  That was the second to last tune that got finished.

SPAZ:  So, these songs were all demoed at some point? 
PAUL:  Most of them were demos that we recorded as a band in ’79, ’80. Some of the tunes were written after we had finished our time with Sony/Columbia.  Some of them were very close to being completed.  Like “Doing It The Hard Way,” for instance, it just needed a couple of touches.  It needed a better mix because the slide guitar wasn’t working properly so I rearranged that, but it was really the closest one I would say to being finished.  That’s a funny song.  I had an offer to work with BTO 15 years ago or so… it was the original BTO minus Randy (Bachman) because Randy had gone off, and I think he might have been doing the Guess Who reunion at the time.  So, my job was supposed to be filling Randy’s shoes, which is a pretty big pair of shoes.  So, my whole idea was this could be great.  I could go into BTO because Loverboy was taking a break. For all I knew, maybe we were done. You know, we hadn’t worked together for quite a long time.  So I wrote “Doing it the Hard Way” for Fred Turner to sing.  I was thinking he could sing the heck out of it.  So I went to rehearsal with them and we played a bunch of my new songs and it just didn’t happen for musical reasons.  Nothing personal. Fred and I are great friends.  I love the guy.  A beautiful cat.  So anyway, it just didn’t work out musically so I got a song out of it, you know? 

SPAZ:  Well, in hindsight, when you went through these songs, did you ever ask yourself “How come we didn’t use this before?”
PAUL:  Yeah.  There’s one tune we had and I listened to it and I’m going,
“When did we write this Reno?”  And he goes, “You know, I have no idea when we wrote it.”    So anyway, we put this demo together and we played it for a few friends and somebody said, “I believe it’s a Bryan Adams tune.”  And I’m going, “What?”  I went through the Bryan Adams catalog going “There’s no way…” and there it was, but a completely different version of it. I talked to Jim Vallance, who co-wrote the tune with Adams, and I said, “How much of this is your song?”  And he said “This is an amazing arrangement.  I think this is great.”  He said, “You can put this out and call it the same song if you like and I will authorize you to change the lyrics on it.”  I went, “Hell, I didn’t know this is a friggin’ cover.”  So, we took the first lyrics, and we had another song that we demoed way, way back in the late ‘70s or something and I took the lyrics from the verses and put it into that and then there’s two other songs that had little bits and pieces and took a chunk out of the bridge from that song and we put them in this one song and ended up calling it “Countin’ the Nights.”

SPAZ: That’s definitely a standout track. That could have been a huge single back in the day.
PAUL:  Well, that’s funny you should say that because that’s the first single from the album.

SPAZ:  I think you guys actually sound stronger now than you did back then. Did reviving these songs put you back in sort of a certain frame of mind?
PAUL:  I was listening to the tracks and Scott Smith is on some of them, so that was really cool… just hearing Scott play again.  What a great player. I’ll tell you something about Scott.  When we first met him, he was playing with another band and Mike and I heard about this amazing bass player.  We were living in Calgary at the time, and he was playing with Lisa Dalbello (Canadian singer/songwriter). Mike and I went up to see him and we were blown away.  But, we didn’t get a chance to meet him or anything.  So I somehow got his number - he was living in Winnipeg, and he came out to Calgary and I picked him up at the airport. And the first time I met Scott, it was like he was a long lost brother.  We just had that connection, you know.  You meet some people and it’s like weird right from the start, but with Scott it was like “Hey, man...”  That continued for the 20 years we were together.  He was an incredible guy, a really cool guy.

SPAZ:  So, some of these are actually recordings you didn’t finish?
PAUL:   Some of them are. They were all recordings in different stages. Most of them were sitting on my hard drive and I went back and listened to them and “Aint Such A Bad Thing”… the biggest problem with that song was it was completely written and Mike sang it and I had a kind of a pseudo drum track and it just didn’t feel right.  I don’t know why, but it was missing something.  It was either a concept lyrically or the solos weren’t right or the verses were too long or something just didn’t work. I made a new demo and took it on my laptop to the sessions with Matt. I went, “Okay, here it is… let’s try this - simple, Loverboy, four on the floor, let’s see if that works.”  It was like glue.  All of a sudden the song made so much sense, and then I suggested to Matt, “You know those killer fills that you would play on the first and second album.  Let’s just try that in a few places.” And he did and it was like.
“Oh, there it is man!”  Then I just had to mix it, which is my favorite part. Things really change when you mix a tune. 

SPAZ:  The thing that I’ve always noticed about Loverboy is the fact that it never really sounds like Mike Reno backed by four guys or Paul Dean with a singer and three other guys. It always seems there’s an equal musical interplay between all the band members. I’ve always thought that you guys worked really well that way - is that how you make the Loverboy sound work?
PAUL:   That’s Loverboy period!  That’s one of the reasons we’re still together after 35 some years.  It’s because we’re all really good politicians, but I think I might be the best politician.  I fight to keep this a band.   There’s no one star… we’re all the stars.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s equal and especially in making this album, I made sure that everybody was top of their form and they had something to say and what they were saying was valid and you could actually hear it and it added and complimented the song, which compliments the band. Because to me, it’s always about the band.  Everybody in the band is a huge part of the band, an equal part of the band.  And I’m glad you picked that up.  That’s very cool.

SPAZ:  People don’t realize that it’s four of the five original members and it would still have been five of the five if tragedy hadn’t struck.
PAUL:   I have no doubt.  No doubt that Scott would be here today if he were still alive.  He would be in the band and we would be doing what we’re doing.  Absolutely.

SPAZ:  You guys have survived through all these musical trends.  But in the last four or five years there has been this big resurgence in the type of music that you guys make. Some call it AOR….some call it Stadium Rock…. some call it Classic Rock. How do you classify Loverboy?
PAUL:  I like Stadium Rock.  I like the sound of that! (laughs)  It sounds a lot better than Casino Rock, don’t you think? (laughs)

SPAZ:  Have you been able to play any of the new songs live?
PAUL:  We are. Personally, I would like to play every song on the album.  Physically we have an hour to play.  If we’re lucky, we have 90 minutes, but most of the time it’s somewhere around an hour and I really want to play at least one new song and the one that I go to would be “Countin’ the Nights.”  To me it’s a natural.  And Matt is playing the shit, pardon my French, outta that tune, and he kills it on that song.  It’s great.  What a great drum track and the keyboards. It’s the antithesis of a victim song lyrically, which I really like too.  Kind of the ultimate ‘kiss off.’  It’s like “Turn Me Loose,” ya know?  It’s got that same kind of attitude, and I think that’s a cool thing.  That’s a cool stance to take when you’re playing live – and so is the “I love you and I miss you and I need you in my life...”, that has its place as well. But I really like the “Don’t give me any shit” stance… once again, pardon my French.
SPAZ:    Well, sometimes in Rock & Roll you have to kick ass, right?
PAUL:   Well, that’s right!

SPAZ:  I know that playing live in front of people is pretty rewarding, but do you still love the whole creative process of recording? 
PAUL:   I do.  I like to play live.  That’s what my life is - playing live.  That’s what I do.  Even though we might be playing the same 15 songs for the last 20 years. It’s fun for me every night, and I make sure of that.  I love being in the studio.  I really like recording live (in the studio).  We did a couple of tracks like that on Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival a couple of years ago. 
SPAZ: And new songs like “Heartbreaker.”
PAUL:   Yeah, we recorded “Heartbreaker” and “No Tomorrow” and I was like, “What?  It’s over already?”  It was a really great, great… I love working with Bob Rock (producer).  He’s the master.  He’s just a really fun guy to hang with and he’s brilliant, great ideas.  Pure energy.  Knows when to lay back and when to ‘okay… clamp down,’ you know?  Bruce Fairbairn was like that.  Great, great producers to work with. 

SPAZ:  You’ve been working with Mike Reno for over 35 years now?
PAUL: Being in the studio with Mike is really exciting.  I mean, I’ve been accused of having a bromance with the guy or whatever, but what a thing to be sitting in the same room as Mike singing our songs.  It’s pretty cool, as you could imagine.  He is one of the best singers ever.  Still is.  Always has been.  And I’m still his biggest fan, so that’s really cool to sit there beside him.  He’s sitting three feet away from me just singing as loud as he always does, and my wife’s upstairs just digging the hell out of it as well. That’s a real, real honor to do that with Reno for sure.

SPAZ:  What’s next for Loverboy? 
PAUL:  Tour and tour and tour.  We are playing Mexico for the first time ever after 35 years of touring. We’re really excited about that.  And that’s what we’re doing.  That’s what I do.  I play guitar and I play guitar live with people.  I play for Matt and Spider and Doug and Mike, as well.  But, of course, for myself, but that’s what we do.  We play for people.  We entertain them and hopefully we give them a really good time for 90 minutes or however long we get to play.

SPAZ:  How does it make you feel to know that you influenced or inspired people over the years?
PAUL:  It’s amazing. It’s great that 35 some odd years later, we can play “Turn Me Loose” and everybody stands up.  We play a ballad or whatever, and everybody stands up… and they rock their faces off during “Working For The Weekend.”  They do that for every song, pretty much, but especially “Turn Me Loose.”

Thanks to Paul Dean

Special thanks to Steve Dixon, Anthony Gutierrez, Jonathan Wolfson and Dana House