Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Episode 74 - Radio Sucks Vol 10


That's right everyone it's time for another "Radio Sucks" episode of the Decibel Geek Podcast because as you know, radio sucks. So once again Chris and AAron put on the DJ hats and spin some great music that you probably will not hear on your radio dial. So just sit back, relax, open your ears real wide and say "give it to me straight Decibel Geek Podcast. I can take it!"

Chris' pick of Heaven's Basement performing "I Am Electric" is a testament to how important you, the listener, are to this show as a suggestion from listener Devin Fox impressed us so much that it took the place of one of our previously picked songs. This is a great, energetic track from their debut album Filthy Empire that starts the show off right. Dig it!

Up next is "Tomorrow Never Comes" from Saints of the Underground, the heavy metal super-group featuring members of Ratt, Warrant, Alice Cooper. From the 2008 release "Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner" this would be Jani Lane's last full length album release, he passed away on August 11th, 2011.

Bruce Kulick released his BK3 album in 2010 and he utilized some "friends" as guest vocalists throughout the album. "Ain't Gonna Die" is one of those tracks that featured the vocal stylings of Gene Simmons. A great little rocker that you won't hear on your local radio station.

Nu Metal band turned straight ahead rockers, Papa Roach are "Still Swinging" from their 2012 The Connection album. This may seem like an unorthodox pick for the Decibel Geek podcast but we think you'll agree that this group has definitely matured their sound since their earlier days.

In 1993 Kerrang Magazine voted Earth vs. The Wildhearts, the debut album from The Wildhearts as the number #1 album of the year. A band with quite an interesting and unpredictable history, Chris and AAron spin "TV Tan" from their debut album.

Also in 1993 producer Tom Werman (Motley Crue, Cheap Trick, Poison, Nugent, LA Guns, etc.) was at the helm for Pariah's To Mock a Killingbird" album. An amazing album featuring the tune "Love To Turn You On" but the band was dropped by Geffen records.

Swiss band Shakra formed in the late 90's and have released 11 albums including 2013's Powerplay album. Turned on to the Decibel Geek Podcast from the Talking Metal podcast, "Back On Track" is the title track from their 2011 album on AFM Records

Up next is 100 Watt Opera - "Servant" from their self titled 2005 album. This is a band that AAron recently discovered right in his backyard of Nashville. Veterans of the Nashville club circuit, 100 Watt Opera are an impressive group of Music City rockers that deserve your attention.

Closing out the show this week, you wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world.....KISS! If your hungry and you need a meal you can always call for a little "Room Service" from their 1975 Dressed to Kill album.

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Heaven's Basement
Saints Of The Underground 
Bruce Kulick
Papa Roach
The Wildhearts 
100 Watt Opera

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baby I'm Down to the Bare Wire: Where "Shock Me" Came Together


KISS performing at the Lakeland Civic Center, 12/12/1976 (photo courtesy of Kevin Witte)

     Lakeland, Florida was founded by Abraham Munn in 1882. He almost called it Red Bug but then looked around at the 38 lakes in the area and gave it a more appropriate name. Frank Lloyd Wright designed nine buildings at Lakeland's Florida Southern College. The Detroit Tigers go to Lakeland for spring training. A scene from Edward Scissorhands was shot at Lakeland's Southgate Shopping Center. But why would a decibel geek care about Lakeland? Well, 2006 Playmate of the Year Kara Monaco was born there.

photo credit pending
photo credit pending
And then there's the Lakeland Civic Center.

photo credit pending
     Located at 701 West Lime Street in scenic Lakeland, the Lakeland Civic Center arena opened its doors in November of 1974 with a capacity of more than 8100. Some amazing concerts took place there: Aerosmith two nights on the Toys in the Attic tour, Van Halen on the Van Halen II tour, Foreigner with the Cars opening in 1978, Queen on the Jazz tour, Journey with the Babys opening in 1980, Black Sabbath on the Heaven & Hell tour with a personal fave Riot opening, Saxon opening for Rush, Van Halen on the Fair Warning tour, AC/DC on the For Those About to Rock tour, Cheap Trick on the All Shook Up tour with Pete Comita on bass, the Plasmatics opening for KISS on the Creatures of the Night tour with Vinnie in the ankh make-up, Def Leppard on the Pyromania tour, Iron Maiden on the Number of the Beast tour, Ozzy Osbourne touring for Bark at the Moon with Jake E. Lee on guitar, Judas Priest on the Defenders of the Faith tour, Twisted Sister and Ratt less than a week apart in October 1984, Dokken opening for Dio on the The Last In Line tour, W.A.S.P. opening for Quiet Riot on the Condition Critical tour, Twisted Sister again opening for Iron Maiden on the World Slavery Tour, Dio again with Ruff Cutt opening, Yngwie Malmsteen opening for AC/DC, Dokken opening for Judas Priest, Cinderella opening for David Lee Roth two nights in 1986, Yngwie again opening for Maiden, Guns N' Roses opening for Motley Crue two nights on the Girls Girls Girls tour, Queensryche with Def Leppard, Cinderella with Judas Priest, Queensryche with Metallica, Kix opening for Ratt. Unbelievable, right?

photo courtesy of Kevin Witte

     On June 14th, 1979 KISS held a special performance at the Lakeland Civic an empty house. That's because they were rehearsing for the Dynasty tour. Billed as "The Return of Kiss," the tour would be the most ambitious the band had yet staged, with elaborate new costumes and the debut of both the flying Gene stunt and Ace's glowing guitar which fired rockets from the headstock. The tour was set to begin the very next night, June 15th, right there at the Lakeland Civic Center. It was an interesting choice for the tour's opening venue considering that less than three years earlier that very site had born witness to one of the most infamous moments in KISStory. No, the KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park script was not written there. Was there even a script? I'm talking about the fact that it was in that venue that Ace Frehley was nearly killed.

photo credit pending
Photo coutesy of Kevin Witte
     It happened on December 12, 1976, two weeks into the Rock and Roll Over tour. Uriah Heep opened the show supporting their High and Mighty album, which was their last to be recorded with original singer David Byron. Byron had already been replaced by John Lawton of Lucifer's Friend in time for the tour. KISS began their set elevated high above the stage on risers. As the band revved up the crowd with their opening number, "Detroit Rock City," the risers descended and the band members then had to negotiate a staircase in platform heels to get to the stage proper. Apparently one of the lights on a metal railing of the stage set had shorted out. When Ace Frehley reached for the handrail to assist in his descent he unwittingly completed an electrical circuit with his body and/or guitar. Since the current entered through his arm it most likely traversed the heart region of his body. Electrocution is at its most lethal when the heart is affected. When electrocution occurs it overrides the central nervous system. The muscles suddenly have minds of their own and it is often impossible for the victim to detach from the source of the current. To many members of the audience that night the men on the stage were larger than life. Superheores. This was not your average rock concert. The members of this band were in character. Suddenly the fourth wall had crumbled. Paul Daniel Frehley, mere earthling after all, found himself in perhaps the most vulnerable position a human being could be in:

Muscles triggered by an external (shock) current will involuntarily contract, and there's nothing the victim can do about it. This problem is especially dangerous if the victim contacts an energized conductor with his or her hands. The forearm muscles responsible for bending fingers tend to be better developed than those muscles responsible for extending fingers, and so if both sets of muscles try to contract because of an electric current conducted through the person's arm, the "bending" muscles will win, clenching the fingers into a fist. If the conductor delivering current to the victim faces the palm of his or her hand, this clenching action will force the hand to grasp the wire firmly, thus worsening the situation by securing excellent contact with the wire. The victim will be completely unable to let go of the wire.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Witte
     The human body's capabilty for resistance to an electrical shock is variable, in other words what kills one person might not kill another. There is no way to know the amount of current Ace was subjected to but he says in his book that he had burns on his fingertips, which would indicate the situation was quite serious. Burnt skin is usually the result of a high voltage shock and once burnt the skin is no longer as effective a protective barrier, meaning the victim is even more vulnerable to the electricity. Taking all of this into account one must concede that it is nothing short of a miracle that Ace was able to let go of that railing and survive the incident. Stone the Crows guitarist Les Harvey (brother of Alex Harvey) died on stage (during soundcheck) in 1972 after being electrocuted. Yardbirds singer Keith Relf was electrocuted by his guitar in his home in 1976 and died. But in Ace's case the source of the current was not his instrument, at least not directly. In fact, it is perhaps reasonable to extrapolate that the guitar took the brunt of the electrical shock. Think about it--could the Gibson Les Paul have saved Ace Frehley's life? Plausible theory or not, Ace was extremely lucky. He somehow let go of that railing and collapsed a few feet to the stage. He was helped backstage by members of the crew and found himself, dazed, sitting there listening to the crowd chanting his name. "We want Ace! We want Ace!" When he bravely returned to the stage ten minutes later they gave him a standing ovation and KISS finished the show. Gene Simmons, not one to be upstaged, set his hair on fire (no joke). 

     Ace Frehley credits the incident with inspiring his song "Shock Me," not the first song he would write for KISS but the first he would sing. So do we have Lakeland Civic Center to thank for "Shock Me," and if we do, do we also owe the venue thanks for the results of Ace's subsequent creative burst: "Rocket Ride," "Rip It Out," "Speeding Back to My Baby," "What's On Your Mind," "Save Your Love," "Talk to Me," et al? I for one say...

"Thank you Lakeland Civic Center."

Immediately following the incident KISS wisely spent 25 grand to go wireless.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Witte

Special thanks to Kevin Witte for the amazing photos he took that night. He was the only one to capture this important moment in Kisstory. Thanks, Kevin.



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Now Hear This: GOGMAGOG


     In 1985 infamous British record producer Jonathon King, the guy behind George Harrison getting sued, decided to assemble a heavy metal supergroup to record a heavy metal opera. Sounds like an idea. He somehow managed to recruit two former members of Iron Maiden, singer Paul Dianno and drummer Clive Burr, one future member of Iron Maiden, guitarist Janick Gers, who had previously been in White Spirit and Gillan, former Def Leppard guitarist Pete Willis, and former Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray. "Wow!" you say? I agree! King christened the group GOGMAGOG after a legendary giant from British folklore. The opera idea didn't exactly pan out but the band did manage to record three songs in as many hours and release them as an EP. "I Will Be There," written by Russ Ballard, formerly of Argent, the guy who wrote "New York Groove," is really good, heavy guitars with a pop melody, similar to some of Thin Lizzy's eighties work.

     The next song on the EP, written by Jonathon King, is called "Living in a Fucking Time Warp." Hmm. Another good song, but it seems like Mr. King did not have radio airplay in mind when he wrote this one.

     The last song, also written by Jonathon King, was given the even more unwieldy title "It's Illegal, It's Immoral, It's Unhealthy, But It's Fun." This is my least favorite of the three songs, not great but I still enjoy it.

     When I first found out that Paul Dianno and Pete Willis had collaborated in a heavy metal supergroup my jaw hit the floor. Those two guys from those two albums by those two bands! Killers and High n Dry! Two of my favorite albums ever, and probably my two favorite metal albums, period. Those two guys! Holy shit! It has to be great, right? Unfortunately neither gent seems to have contributed much of anything, creatively speaking, to the three Gogmagog songs. It wasn't much of a band at all, I don't think they ever even took a picture together. Sure, the Gogmagog EP is fine for a dork like me, I'll listen to any goddamn thing, but what a colossal waste of talent! It's a tragedy, it really is. Pete Willis' contributions to those first three Def Leppard albums were monumental, I freakin' worship the guy, and he went on to do virtually zilch. If memory serves his only other attempt was a band named after an awful Patrick Swayze movie.

What happened, Pete? Chris, please get him on the show!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Episode 73 - GPS: KISS Landmarks


2013 marks the 40th year of existence for Hottest Band in the Land. So, it makes perfect sense for us to use episode 73 (as in, 1973) as a chance to time travel to numerous destinations that played a part in the overall history of KISS.

Joining on this global KISS trek is author Chris Epting. Chris is the perfect guest for this conversation as he's written a number of travel-related books on different eras of pop culture as well as his recently-released e-book, 'All I Need to Know I Learned from KISS: Life Lessons from the Hottest Band in the Land.' This book is filled with stories of how being a KISS fan shaped Chris' life and affects him even today. If you are a hardcore KISS fan, this book is definitely for you as it will certainly elicit some familiar emotions.

1. 10 E. 23rd Street - The Loft

The birthplace of KISS. This location is the spot where Paul, Gene, & Peter first auditioned Ace Frehley and the band took shape. The location is now next door to a comic book store that has an inventory that includes KISS comic books. Go figure.

2. 108 116 W. 43rd St. - Hotel Diplomat

The location that allowed KISS to secure management as Bill Aucoin, Sean Delaney, & Eddie Kramer all witnessed this hungry, young band that wore lots of makeup and electrified the audience in this downtrodden ballroom. A great history of the Hotel Diplomat can be found HERE.

3. 47-03 Queens Blvd. - Coventry

Site of some of the earliest KISS shows before they became a touring act. Coventry changed their name from 'Popcorn' just as KISS began their run playing the location. Footage of one of their Coventry performances is on the KISSOLOGY series of DVDs. A fantastic in-depth history can be found HERE

4. 4 Pennsylvania Plaza - Madison Square Garden

The site where KISS' dream was realized. During the band's earliest years, while performing at dive bars all over the country to sparse crowds, the band would psyche themselves up by imagining that that night's venue was "the Garden." This is also the site of this week's guest Chris Epting's first concert in 1977.

5. Starwood Ampitheatre - July 21, 1990

The site of Chris Czynszak's first KISS concert, Starwood is no longer in existence but it provided a venue for many KISS tours during the 90's and early 2000's.

6. 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, WI - Veterans Memorial Coliseum

The site of Aaron Camaro's first KISS concert on the Revenge tour in 1992 on December 2, 1992.

7. 106 E. 86th Street - Park Avenue United Methodist Church

The front door of this church in Manhattan was the inspiration for the door used on the Music from the Elder album cover.

8. 400 Linden Street, Cadillac, MI - Cadillac High School

The site of the infamous KISS invasion of Cadillac! What a lot of us would give to time travel back!

9. 124 Broadway, Amityville, NY - The Daisy

The site of KISS' foray into the makeup characters we know and love today. It's rumored that their first show at the venue, which was sparsely attended, featured the band covering 'Go Now' by The Moody Blues.

10. 126 E. 14th Street, NYC - Academy of Music/The Palladium

A very KISStoric site as it was the venue that hosted the band's "coming out" party to a shocked group of industry onlookers as the band upstaged headliners Iggy Pop and Blue Oyster Cult. This venue was also the site of Eric Carr's debut performance with KISS in 1980.

11. 6230 Sunset, Hollywood - Aquarius Theatre 

Site of tv taping for ABC's In Concert hosted by Dick Clark in 1974.  KISS' earliest television appearance.

12. 1032 N. Sycamore Avenue, LA, CA - The Record Plant

Site of recording for parts of Paul Stanley (1978 solo album), Killers, and Creatures of the Night. 'Nuff said.

13. 1616 Butler Avenue, LA, CA - The Village Recorder

Site of recording for Hotter than Hell & parts of Paul Stanley (1978 solo album).

14. 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, CA - Magic Mountain

Now owned by Six Flags Corp, Magic Mountain was the shooting location of the infamous KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park television movie from 1978. Loved and hated by the fan base, the park still features the Colossus roller coaster that is featured prominently in the film.

15. 5th & Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA - KYW-TV Studios

Site of KISS' appearance on the Mike Douglas show. Filmed in the basement studio, the show featured a bizarre interview panel with Gene Simmons on stage with comedian Robert Kline and comedienne Totie Fields who skewered the demon in front of a national audience.

16. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NBC Productions Studios, New York, NY - The Tomorrow Show

While '30 Rock' is well known for a whole host of famous television moments, none is more important to KISS fans than what took place on Halloween night in 1979 as Ace Frehley stole the show much to Gene & Paul's horror and Peter's delight.

17. 237 West 54th Street, NY,NY - Bell Sound Studios

The home recording studio of Bell Records with a history dating back to Buddy Holly, the band used this studio to record their self-titled debut album in 1974.

18. 52 W. 8th Street, NY,NY - Electric Lady Studios

The house that Hendrix built has been the home to many important moments in KISStory including the Wicked Lester recordings, first album demos, Dressed to Kill, Peter Criss (1978 solo album), Dynasty, and Asylum to name a few.

19. 105 2nd Avenue, NY, NY - Filmore East

The site of KISS' debut to the press in a special concert presented in January of 1974.

20. 2-3 Kitanomarukōen, Chiyoda, Tokyo - Budokan

A very pivotal location in KISS' history as the band broke attendance records in the 70's previously held by the Beatles and has hosted the band in each decade since to much fanfare. Japan's love of KISS is timeless.

21. Morumbai Stadium, Sao Paulo, Brazil

The site of KISS last show in makeup (at the time). While the band had hit a major low point in popularity in America, the fans in South America were only too happy to fill mammoth soccer stadiums and show the band that they 'love it loud.'

22. 2000 E. Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA - Anaheim Stadium

Site of KISS' first-ever stadium show in 1976, this appearance seemed to help mark KISS' transition from popular group to superstars.

23. West 46th Avenue & 12th Avenue, Pier 86 - USS Intrepid

Location of the official announcement of KISS' reformation in 1996. The event was emceed by Conan O'Brien and attended by fans and press from all over the world.

24. 665 West Jefferson Blvd, LA, CA - Shrine Auditorium

Location of KISS' first appearance in makeup with the original band at the 1996 Grammy Awards. The band only showed up to present an award with Tupac Shakur and didn't tip their hand regarding a reunion. But the writing was clearly on the wall.

25. 460 West 54th Street, NY, NY -Sony Studios

Site of KISS' appearance on MTV Unplugged, the night ended on a high note with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley joining the band for a few songs and encores and sparking the reunion that would take shape shortly after.

26. Brooklyn Bridge NY, NY

Site of KISS' appearance on the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards, KISS originally chose Ellis Island for their appearance but couldn't secure proper permits in time. Instead, they put on a blistering performance in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge that has gone down as one of the musical highlights from the reunion of the original band.

27. 314 Hermitage Avenue, Nashville, TN - Muther's Music Emporium 

An 800 seat facility in Nashville in the early 1970's that hosted a number of lesser-known acts working their way up the ladder that included Ted Nugent, Bruce Springsteen, and a face-painted group known as KISS on their first tour. Die hard KISS fans will recognize the venue name due to a handful of photos of Ace Frehley donning their logo on a t-shirt in the 70's.

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*Editor's note*: The inspiration and/or motivation for this episode/article came from author Chris Epting's background writing travel-related pop culture books & articles combined with his love of KISS and recently published e-book on KISS. Any similarity to previous articles published on KISS historical landmarks is purely coincidental. No copyright infrigement intended.

The Sky - Unadulterated Sonic Bliss


For my latest installment I have chosen one of the few bands of recent times that have really come to the front of the music scene. They are not your average media hype, super-band although some of the members have a pretty illustrious past and resume's to put pretty much all of us to shame. From Journey to Asia to Vinnie Vincent these guys  pack quite a pedigree.

The band are currently in the studio putting the final touches to their second album titled MAJESTIC.

Their first album has many influences that can clearly be heard in the playing and the structure of the songs from the Beatles, to Oasis, to heavy 70's groove riffs to intricate melodies and sometimes a little Black Crowes creeps into the mix also. All in all this is an album that is contemporary, rocking, spaced out and really gels well to many different genres without sounding in the slightest but pretentious. Robert in his interview with us alludes to the organic approach to recording the album and it really shines when you listen to it. The production is not over done and the clarity of each instrument is evident with Robert's vocals having lost nothing of their magic. It's a world away from the past but it really works. This is A BAND. Make no mistakes. There are audio samples of all songs on the website and I strongly recommend you check it out -

I recently caught up with Robert to get his take on past and present :

Hey Robert - what have you been up to these past few years ?
I'm currently writing the new Sky album, we have recorded 11 new songs so far .And one of the songs has been made into a video called One Day. Which we are in the editing process putting it all together right now. We did the video with our Director friend Jerry Moore. At first we'll have the video up on THE SKY website which is then later on YouTube. We're all very excited about this being our first video for THE SKY

In your own words can you summarize THE SKY for those who aren’t familiar with you yet?
THE SKY was put together buy me and Andre LeBelle who played drums on one of Vinnie Vincent albums. I was trying to put the band together in Los Angeles with not much luck. Found a lot of guys who could hold a guitar and look cool but not play. Couple of days after I receive a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame with Journey. Andre called me up and I told him I was interested in putting a band together and he replied that he would love to be in the band I said I'd love to have you in the band but you live in Richmond Virginia and I'm in Los Angeles . He said he knew some great players and I should come out so I did. With my friend Mike Weeks who played guitar for me on my Look at the Dream solo album .We got together at a recording studio, in Richmond for a week and learn 4 songs after the week I went back to Los Angeles. I thought the band was great, now it was how am I gonna put this all together. After a month or so, I got everybody to fly out to Las Vegas and we rehearsed again for another week, again came back home to Los Angeles. Then I decided I was going to move to Richmond. I got there and rented a house and rented a rehearsal space which was 2000 square feet 40 foot ceiling set the band up we started rehearsing wrote 20 songs we recorded 11 for the album it was a great process for me because I could write songs at home bring it to rehearsal, the band would learn them and it was just magical. I would come in with a Black and White picture then it would turned into color because of the band. Andre LaBelle on Drums, Steve Barber on Bass, Brady Cole on Lead Guitar, Stephan Lajaunie on Rhythm Guitar, later replaced by Ryan Lake. For years I have recorded in a studio putting songs together piece by piece. When I did THE SKY it was all live it was so magical I will never record that old sterile way again. This band is the Best Rock and Roll Band I've ever put together.People and critics say it has a Modern Retro British Rock Sound to it, but I think it just sounds like good song writing because that's what's it's all about. You can be the best musician, singer. But if you don't have songs your Shit.

Pick 3 songs of the first album in order to introduce this band to your fans…

All I Want - If you listen to it in your car it will make you get a ticket for speeding. Because of the fast driving tempo and hypnotic rhythm and a great hook. Next thing you know you're going 100 miles per hour and you're seeing red lights and being pulled over.

Boomerang. - It's just One Big Nasty Riff that Smacks you in the face with attitude and a Monster Beat.

Sunshine - A dreamy whimsical song with a beautiful melody and message

You were working on solo releases, now you have the band. What are your goals with THE SKY and why the change of direction? How do you differentiate being in a band and being a solo artist?
 Like anything you do you want it to be successful. You open up a Store or a Restaurant a Business or started a Band that's the goal to be successful. I plan on recording SKY records until we become successful. But I can only do so much that's where people like you, who do interview come into the game. You let people know about Bands and get your readers curious about them. So they go out of their way to find and listen to an artists music. And for being a solo artist you don't have anyone to ask permission for using a certain color its your choice less weight less problems. A band is a different story I've been in some high drama bands and it can drain your soul. But if you're lucky and you find the right people and your all on the same page through time it turns into a family. And that's what makes a band successful that family feeling to it. And that's why I like being in THE SKY

Ever had a regular day job?
I had a after school job bagging groceries for my uncle. Every Christmas I worked at my uncles Christmas tree lot. I worked in a real estate office filing papers doing errands. I did all that between the age of fifteen and seventeen. After that it was pretty much all music I played in some bar bands then later started my own bands. So I've been pretty blessed and lucky not having to do the 9 to 5.

Before Vinnie Vincent you had a band called Channel. What’s the story behind that one?
Channel was put together buying me and Tony Berg he was a session guitarist and producer in Hollywood who played with Bette Midler and Cher not much of a real rock and roll background but we both love the same bands and we talked about art we were just good friends. He was a great guitarist with a lot of style.

I learned a lot from him, like a song is not a song unless it has a bridge in it. And that's true I never write a song without a bridge in it never. Tray Thompson was the bass player who also played with Cher on a few tours. One of the most melodic bass players I ever played with later became a teacher. Gary Ferguson one of my favorite drummers he played with Gary Moore, Eddie Money, Ray Charles, all kinds of sessions throughout Hollywood and England. And still playing to this day. So you can say Channel was a band of the studio musicians. We got signed to Epic Records, by Larry Hamby who happened to be a good friend of Trays, so that was are in. Tony and I cowrote all the songs on the album. We were getting set to go in and record the record in Hollywood. When the record label wanted us to go in the studio with a producer, so they introduce us to.. John: (Let's keep his last name out of it) that's when thing started going downhill. He smoked big fat cigars dressed in army combat fatigues with a green army hat he was like Fidel Castro he was fat and had a big beard. I asked him not to smoke cigars in the studio because it affected my voice plus I didn't like the smell, but he continued didn't care. And later we find out he's a Scientologist, and started leaving Scientologist literature all over the studio which I threw out. Then the cherry on the cake is, he's married to the daughter of L Ron Hubbard ,the father of Scientology. She was actually nice played classical piano beautifully. Later found out the reason we went to England was because John wanted to take his wife on a vacation to England.She was English and they had business to do there, Dealing with Scientology. So they got a free vacation on Channels money. Somehow he talked the record company into having us go to England to do the record. which I never wanted to do because I knew it was going to cost so much money and stress on the band but it happened .So we're there. at a studio called Brittannia Row Studios in Islington. Which was Pink Floyd's recording studio. Where they recorded The Wall. On our first day there we were starting to setup to record and at the studio they have this big room where they had a snooker table. I asked if anyone had ever recorded drums in this room they said no, but we can give it a try. I said let's go for it so we set the drums up. The drums sounded great after hours of setting up the equipment and microphones we started to record. About 20 minutes later the Bobby's come knocking on the studio door. Telling us they can hear the drums all the way down the row. And that we would have to stop so now everything is on the back burner and the studio tells us to come back in a day or two and that they would take care of the situation. They called us up 2 days later we came down to the studio and they had built a wall against the existing wall for us so the sound would not escape out into the streets. So you could say Pink Floyd built The Wall for us basically. We did our basic tracks there's which were sounding terrific. The in house engineers we're doing all the work basically. John sat around smoking cigars. Then John tells us we're leaving the studio to go to Surrey to continue recording I wanted to stay where we were. We we're getting great sounds. So we go to the studio call Jacobs Farm Studios out in the country 12 room English manor with a recording studio in it. Where YES recorded owner of a broken heart .With a Chef 24 hour food and drink breakfast lunch and dinner. And John eaten away like there's no tomorrow. We continued working on the record doing guitar over dubs and then I started doing my vocals. After finishing lead vocals I was to start doing the background vocals John suggested that we have background girl singers. I said no it will make the record sound stupid. So the next thing you know he's got these chicks in there singing away the day before we leave to go back to the States. And I just can't believe it I wanted to set his ass on fire. We never mixed the album. We came back to LA and we had spent a shitload of money. Now we have to find an engineer to mix the album and we didn't have very much money to offer, so then the record company eventually gets us an engineer. And the last project he had done was Frank Sinatra and Steely Dan. And I just can't believe it. What the fuck does this guy know about rock and roll absolutely nothing. So I'm told they're going to mix the record in New York. I call Tony and his wife answers the phone and I ask is he there and she says no he went to New York to mix the record. So I hang up call the label they say Tony said he knew were all the tracks were on the session and he could help the engineer. Here Tony and I wrote all the songs together. You think he would have called me or tell me is going to New York but it was all done secretly. So I just said screw this project, and basically wash my hands of it. The record came out I heard the mixes and they sounded Wimpy. My grandmother in pink underwear could mix better than they did. If I had mixed it, It would have Rocked Hard..

A huge highlight for us at the Decibel Geek Podcast is your work with Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion. You have done a spectacular interview already for the show but for the readers out there, care to share the story and put the monster to bed?  

I met Vinnie through a mutual friend Adam Mitchell who wrote songs with Paul Stanley plus he wrote some hits for Linda Ronstadt. Vinnie asked Adam if he knew any lead singers and he gave him my number. One day Vinnie called and told me what he wanted to do. I invited him over to my house in Hollywood. Next day or so the doorbell rang. I answered the door and there was Vinnie looking like any other guy in a T-shirt jeans and sneakers and a smile on his face. I made him a cup of tea and we sat in my living room. I popped in the cassette that he gave me, and out of the speakers came out the riff for, Shoot You Full Of Love, Substitute, Back on the Streets. I thought he was a great songwriter and a incredible guitarist also, so I thought --why not, this could be an incredibly good team. A couple of days later he invited me to S.I.R, which is a rehearsal studio on Sunset boulevard in Hollywood. I walked into the sound stage and there was Vinnie with a group of guys. Apparently they had been in a band with Vinnie at one time called New England. We started jamming, but we had to stop a lot because Vinnie kept breaking strings; it kinda worried me a bit while I was driving back home that night. During the week we got back together and we did some Demos at my house on my 4 Track. We wrote Invasion and Do You Wanna Make Love. Those were the first songs we wrote together; he did the music I wrote the lyrics for Do you Wanna Make Love and we share the lyrics on Invasion.

We were both happy about the collaboration. Some time later he called me and told me that KISS had asked him to join the band. I told him you should definitely do it, it will change your life. He had twins on the way he and Ann Marie were in a tiny apartment. I told him to go for it. Some time flew by and then I got a phone call. It was Vinnie on the line. He said "Robbie let's get the band together" and I said okay. So apparently he had been in the studio recording; he told me to come down to Sandcastle Studios where he and Andy Johns producer / engineer were working. I went to the studio and did the vocals for Shoot you full Love, No Substitute, Back on the Streets. We had a lot of fun and it was great to work with Andy. He worked with The Rolling Stones on Exile on Main Street and did the second and third Led Zeppelin albums. He mixed the 3 songs and they sounded great. Some time went by and I hadn't heard from Vinnie. Somehow I heard that he went to New York and Chrysalis Records offered him a deal--a deal without me. I didn't work with him to push his solo career. I didn’t even hear from him; no phone call no nothing. More time went by; it was phone call from Dana Strum telling me he's the producer for Vinnie's new album. I told him basically to fuck off. He kept calling me and calling me, and I never did get a call from Vinnie. This is where Vinnie went wrong. I would have preferred if Vinnie had called me and we would have settled things between us instead. He should have handled his own business instead of Dana Strum handling his business. After I heard they were auditioning other singers. Chrysalis told them to get me involved in the project. Eventually we came to some sort of agreement. When it came time came to do my vocals, most all of the music was done. The first day I came in to do my vocals there was a room with I think 8 stacks of Marshalls in a circle, it looked like Stonehenge I found it a bit hilarious. It was a scene out of Spinal Tap; but that was Vinnie. My vocal booth was in the middle of the studio. I walked into it and was surprised to see that Vinnie had wallpapered the inside with Playboy centerfolds floor to ceiling . He said I thought it would get you off while you're doing your vocals . I told him it would take a lot more then that to get me off. But thanks for breaking up your Playboy collection for me . He was very nice to me I think he was embarrassed for what he did to me. And I just played it cool. The basic tracks were done with a drum machine. We needed to find a drummer so we held an addition at S.I.R. The drummers that showed up had a half an hour I think we had close to 10 people at the audition. At the very end. Bobby Rock had come in, after his van had overheated. He had been driving through the desert and his van was on its last leg; he literally rolled into the parking lot. After which he emptied out his drums, set up, and played unbelievably. I told Vinnie "this is the guy". Bobby went into the studio and recorded the drums. Then it was time to mix with George Tutko; who was a terrific person, very kind & easy going, as well as a great audio engineer.

George would be mixing and Vinnie would say the guitars are not loud enough. George would take a break and Vinnie would sneak the guitars up. George would come back, listen to the mix, and wondered what the hell happened. This happened with every song practically. I personally couldn't believe what I was seeing. It drove me crazy because a lot of time and money was wasted--but it wasn't my dime so I let it be. It was now is time to do photos for the album. I came in and was shocked that Bobby was in body paint, and Vinnie was all painted up and had on that giant wig. Then he told the stylist to do something with my hair. I ended up looking like some fucking poodle; my hair was one length before they messed with it. During the Photo Session, Vinnie's manager came to me with a contact, as big as a phone book. He told me to sign it, but I told him I wanted to take it to my lawyer. He told me not to worry and just sign it-- everything's okay. That's when I told him to piss off. Apparently Vinnie's manager told the record company that I was signed to his management company which was a lie. Chrysalis found out and got really pissed at him for lying. Chrysalis wanted me to sign a contract with them without any compensation. They wanted me to absorb the debt of the making the record--who knows how much they would have to recoup. I told them "no way". I was getting calls from the record company telling me if I didn't sign, they would take my voice off the album. I told them to do what they had to do...I knew that they would have to spend more money re-recording the new vocalist plus the cost of re-mixing the record over again. Things were so messed up I walked away. After that I received a phone call from a friend telling me that they're going to show the new Vinnie Vincent Invasion video on MTV. I saw the video and there was this guy lip sinking to my voice. He was also wearing the coat that I wore on the album cover plus he was wearing girls underwear over his leather pants. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing . And for the record this is the first time anyone has ever lip sync to someone's voice before Milli Vanilli. So I sued Chrysalis and I won. It was too bad it never worked out.

How do you feel about the music you released with Vinnie Vincent?
I thought it (VVI debut album) was great album, and at that time nothing like it, and to this day. My favorite song is No Substitute.
I've never heard (Euphoria / Guitarmageddon) the album I do remember doing the songs. Those vocal tracks are scratch tracks they aren't my finished vocal tracks. Things happen so I never got to finish or fix them.
·         Listen to DBG Podcast VVI specials for much more detail on these latter recordings *

When was the last time you heard from Vinnie?
I haven't talk to Vinnie in over 20 years.

You were briefly a member of Asia. What are your memories of that time?
The way I became involved with Asia was when I was with Journey and we toured opening up for Emerson Lake and Palmer in Canada . I became friends with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer, little did I know that years later I would be in a possible band setting with Carl. In the later part of 1980, Geffen Records A&R man John Kalodner, called me to tell me about his super band that he was working on with John Wetton, Carl Palmer,Steve Howe and Geoff Downes. He wondered if I would be interested in going to England to check it out. The next day I received a cassette of the demoed songs that I would need to learn; with John Wetton's voice on it. I thought--wow sounds really great ! I was familiar with Johns voice from King Crimson and I always thought he was a brilliant singer. The more I listened to the to the cassette, I thought that it the songs were tailor made for John and I just couldn't really see myself doing them better . But the time came to go off to England. From Los Angeles I had a long grueling flight and a bunch of stops before I arrived in England at my hotel room. I laid down for an hour and a half; I was exhausted when someone started banging on the door. It was one of the roadies.

He said "come on let's get going we're off to rehearsal". Next thing I knew I was standing in the rehearsal room with some of the greatest musicians in rock n roll. We started to work on the song Heat of the Moment. It sounded good, but in my head I could only hear John voice. We rehearsed for a week. Toward the end of that week I had to say something. I told their manager Peter that I thought John was perfect for it and they didn't need me. The record company wanted that visual front man for the band to give it a more commercial rock n roll image, but I believe the band was strong enough just the way they had it.

A big part of your history is your connection with Journey, your first real break as we know it. How did it go for you?
I learned a lot being in Journey, definitely the first band that I ever was in with such incredible musicianship. Before I entered the picture the band was a rock jazz fusion band. A very free form style of writing music; pretty much jamming and then organizing it into a song. So when I joined the band I came in as a Pop Rock singer songwriter--which was very far from what they were. But it worked. And on the business side of the band it was very well organized, road crew, travel agent, road manager, manager and a record label to make it all work. For me it was like opening up a watch and seeing all the parts move and work.

Would you change anything with Journey?
No there is nothing I would do different. I wrote some great songs with them. As a band we all got along with each other. And still do

What were the real reasons for you parting with Journey?
The main reason I was pulled out of the band was pretty much because of management. I had a manager before I came into the band that had ties to CBS Records; it was because of him I got the gig. So later Journey's manager ask me to leave my manager. And I found that to be a very difficult thing to do because I really liked my manager Barry Fey a lot. I couldn't stab him in the back. So Journey's management got pretty mad. The whole time I was with the band they had a A&R man at CBS Records telling Journey's manager about Steve Perry and financing his demos; he told the management if they took Steve on they would give them more money for recording, radio airplay, tour support and a producer. So that's what basically happened. It was an offer they couldn't refuse.

You co-wrote some prominent songs with Journey: Any fond memories?

Winds of March
Neal and his father wrote the music at one time. Then Neal brought it to rehearsal where the musical structure came together. Then I wrote the lyrics and melody over it. When I left the band I hadn't completely finished the song. There were two lines in the second verse that need to be completed. Perry wrote those 2 lines that's why he gets credit on that song.

Wheel in the Sky
Neal came up with the music in the back of a station wagon with an acoustic guitar while on the road. It came together during rehearsals in San Francisco. Neal played the opening line. And I started to add lib words and melody over the music. Later wrote all the lyrics at Rolie's house.

Journey released another song co-written with you called For You.
Another song that was written during rehearsal. We jammed a lot during rehearsals and that's how lot of the songs came about. When I left the band I gave 3 songs to Journey and I kept.. FOR YOU...for my solo album which Neal played on.

You were there as a guest when Journey received their Star at the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. How was that for you?
Receiving the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star was one of the biggest events in my life. Because for me growing up in Los Angeles, As a kid I would watch on the news celebrities receiving the Star all the time. I never would had thought, I would be receiving such an honor in my life. Like the celebrities I once watched on TV. That day thousands of people, screaming and cheering. Spilled into the street of Hollywood Boulevard stopping traffic to see the ceremony. We were so excited, all the members of the band we're together except Gregg Rolie I wish he had made it. We were on the news that night. It was a dream come true. A great memorable day for all of us.

I was the bands first front man lead singer songwriter. I help right there first songs to reach the Billboard charts. And gave them a new direction.

Are you still friends with the guys from Journey? What do you think of their last releases with Arnel Pineda?
I've always gotten along with them through all the years. I see them pretty much every time they come into town. Ross and I talk and text each other from time to time, matter fact I'm going to see them tomorrow night in Norfork Virginia. I've met Arnel a couple times he's a really super nice guy. So we're all family.

As a parting thought – hit us with the top 5 albums of all time according to Robert Fleishman
1.. Beatles.. Revolver 2.. Radiohead.. OK Computer 3.. T Rex.. Electric Warrior 4.. Muddy Waters.. His best 1947 to 1955 5.. David Bowie.. Scary Monsters

A recent release with accompanying video is the teaser from the new album MAJESTIC released March this year. The song is titled One Day and starts off with a a tub thumping, melodic guitar riff that instantly grabs the attention. Roberts vocals are clear and vibrant as always. Their signature sound is there but this song doesn't stop there. It builds and builds and with the help of some spectacular backing vocals transcends into the realms of Floyd and just takes you away on a musical journey of epic proportions. 

Whoever is doing the mixing and production of this music really has a talent - the guitar tones are sublime, the vocals are crystal clear and each instrument has it's own tonal value and voice. This is easily my song of the last age and as you can tell I simply adore it. If this is a taste of the album to come, remember where you read of this band because great things are right around the corner. The next mega-band? I bloody well hope so!

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