istorically, at year-end, I've always made a point of expressing what a great year the previous twelve months were. And why not? You have to build up the anticipation for the EDITOR'S CHOICE list that I was about to roll out for our readers. At the close of 2017, we've got another amazing list of artists who made 2017 so damned memorable. Some of the names are familiar, some are not, but everyone of them left a strong impression on us visually and musically. As far as the year 2017 itself - eh, it's been difficult! Our monthly publication ROCKWIRED MAGAZINE has ceased, but there is hope that it maybe returning in the Spring of 2018. This has forced us to beef up the editorial for ROCKWIRED.COM and so far the results have been promishing. 2017 may not have been the best year for us, but it's one more year behind us and If we've got twenty five favorite bands and artists to share with you at the end of the year, that works for us.
stood and saw METALLICA play for 75,000 people at ROCK THE RANGE. I don't think it's dead by any means. We're getting ready to play Madison, Wisconsin. Last year 15,000 people showed up. Shows like ROCK THE RANGE and ROCKLAHOMA are proof that rock n roll is not dead. I'll admit that it's not like it once was, but you've got bands like NOTHING TO WORRY , RED TIDE RISING and ROYAL BLOOD . You've also got a lot of bands coming out of Ohio. Ohio is like what Los Angeles used to be for rock except without the awesome weather in the winter time. fourteen-hundred people in Columbus came to see us play and bought our record. It reached #2 on the AMAZON ROCK CHARTS and #15 in the OVERALL ACTION CHARTS the day it came out. Rock n roll doesn't look dead to me. TAYLOR SWIFT put out a record the same day and we got #15 on that chart. If it's dead, it's ghost is haunting the hell out of everybody."
- MARTY McCOY of BOBAFLEX
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ur music is not straight ahead rock n roll so we try to create an experience where we can connect with an audience in a deeper way. It's not just about rocking out. You can rock out but we try to have that other space where we can create. That is the thread that keeps us going . It's also scary. Some people don't want to be in that space. They think it's ridiculous. Maybe they're not used to it. Maybe they're afraid of it. The experience we give on stage is more introverted than extroverted and it taps into sacred feminine energy. It's basic earth energy. It's key to evolution for us all. I really believe that.My Dad was a monk. I was raised with this kind of stuff. Native populations still hold onto this and it has resonated with me ever since I was a kid. It makes more sense to me than all of this other stuff going on. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on right now. People are searching and scrounging . It's all about the dollar and that is where people think that they should focus their energy. Maybe not. How about this other thing? I feel like we're providing an alternative insight into their perception . Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it's all rock n roll. And maybe I'm just a hot chick on stage. Or maybe I'm an ugly chick. I don't know."
- ANNAMARiA PiNNA OF VAJRA
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've always liked the sound and I think it's a cool direction for the band. We started experimenting with and before long the new material seemed to write itself. It just feels right. When we kept building on it we came up with cooler ideas and they all started heading in that direction. It feels like the right direction to go in. There are a lot of bands out there doing the female fronted symphonic thing and we're not into that. It's been overdone. We really like this heavy industrial thing. Meeting CHUCK was a good thing. I've known him for a few years and I knew that his background would align well with this. It was a neat thing. We also worked with a new guy JAY RUSTIN who did the mixing. He's worked with ANTHRAXX and POP EVIL and STEEL PANTHER. It was a good fit. MICHAEL WAGNER mixed the ballad. It'll be neat to get that on e out there. It's a good direction for us to go in. It's where we need to be."
- DAVE BATES OF EDGE OF PARADiSE
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t was always rock but with different members over time the sound kept changing. In the beginning we had a funky bass player so the sound was rock with a funkier bass line and then as different drummers came in they wrote more intricate parts. We really tried not to pigeonhole ourselves by thinking about what genre we were as a band. We just wrote what we felt and I think it has all evolved into to the progressive hard rock sound that we have now. As people we have a tendency to get bored so we write whatever seems to grab our attention. DOUG and I generally write the seeds of the song and the arrangement. Every song is written kind of differently. It might start with a guitar riff or we'll go in and mess with a drumbeat that we hear in pro-tools and then we'll mess it up and then write a melody to it. Once we have the general seed of an idea we take it to the other members so they can jam on it and we can see what spin they put on the song. We just rewrite it and rewrite until we're all happy with our parts."
- NiKKi LAYNE OF LUCiD FLY
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ith the exception of me, none of the old members are in the band. It's completely new line up. This is no slight on any of the old members. With regard to the time it took to get things off the ground after the fire, peoples lives move on. Our former bass player SCOTT TURNBULL and drummer SEAN SAWLER ended up playing together in TRI-CITY VILLIANS which was the first band I signed to the DALI VAN GOGH record label. Nowadays, SCOTT is playing with me again in a side project of mine. It's a grunge rock tribute band . MARCEL is playing in a band now called MONSTERS ARE HUMAN who've got a new record coming out next year. The new guys are young guys. For years I was the youngest member but these new guys are in their mid-twenties with the exception of our new lead singer JOHN SCOTTO. He's a classically trained vocalist and stage performer who studied Theater in Prince Edward Island. He's very flamboyant and fun onstage. JAAD STEWART is the new drummer and he's the most well-rounded drummer I've ever worked with. He can play anything from progressive metal jazz to blues, rock, funk and country. DEVON ROBERTS is our backing vocalist and keyboard player. He's just having a great time melodically. This band is giving him the opportunity to experiment more with melody and his playing is the glue that is holding our rhythm section together. We had a jam session the other day and the keyboard broke and man was there a difference . There were no keys in DALI VAN GOGH before . He has filled in the sound so much it's amazing. CYRUS ROBERTSON-ORKISH is our new bass player . He is a 19-year-old prodigy. He is a brilliant bass player who also plays mandolin, guitar and drums. He's probably the best musician in the band. He's a better guitar player than I am but he plays bass and he blows our minds constantly. I'm proud of this new line-up. They had some big shoes to fill as you know. We were no slouches before but now the band has taken another big step up. We've got our first show coming up this Friday. I'm excited to be hitting the stage again."
- iSAAC KENT OF DALi VAN GOGH
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STORY WiLL CONTiNUE
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n a funny note, I've got to say it's the members that we've been through. On a serious note, I'm blown away by how loyal and dedicated and awesome that people cane be when they become connected to music. Growing up in New York you don't get all of the hospitality that you seem to get everywhere else. It's a totally different mindset from where I grew up. When you start touring, especially throughout the Midwest or the South, there are people that really open their doors to you. The fans have given us so much over the years. They've even opened their doors and given us the key to their houses. They trust us so much simply because they love our songs and they'll let us stay in their houses without them even being home. It's a different mentality. No one in New York would ever do that. We've met some really wonderful people through this whole experience and that has definitely been one of the biggest surprises for me. Our minds have been opened to just how wonderful the human race can be."
- MiKE LA ROCHE OF BLAMESHiFT
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'm really proud of it. I was like a ton of work and it's the first thing that we've created as a band that I feel was distinctively the product of all of us. It's funny looking back on it now too because we're not quite the same anymore and we can hear all of the things that we did and you might go "Oh, I might do things differently now." It's not just a reminder of things to improve upon. It's more like it a snapshot of us at the time and that was how we approached things then. And now I'm wondering how we do things differently now."
-TOM HOY OF SIGNALS OF BEDLAM
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or me personally, if I could have each listener that listens to it be able to relate to something that would be great. I never want to just write a song that ends up being a catchy pop tune without any meaning. When I write a song I want people to be able to draw a substantial experience from it. We're always writing. that is something we are always doing. we want to become better writers and composers. You can pretty much expect that we're going to keep releasing music. We're also going to be doing a lot of music videos. We're really going to be pushing the movement MUSIC HEALS a lot and engage fans in that way. Our goal is to simply bust our ass and keep working. If there is a show date that's open and they don't have anyone playing it then we'll be more than happy to jump on and show them what REMADA is about."
- MATT DANIELS OF REMADA
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he last album REVOLT was really heavy and dark with D-tuning and stuff like that. It also had three ballads on it. Some people were like "What are you trying to do here? You've got three ballads and all of these other songs sound like you are going to kick somebody's ass." My thinking is, I like THE BEATLES and if they can play whatever they want, why can't I play what I want? Why be pigeonholed into one thing? But some people didn't get it. I loved the album . It was a good album, but this one reflects the music that I grew up with. I grew up on artists like MARVIN GAYE, JAMES BROWN, THE SYLISTICS and THE SPINNERS before I transformed into a hard rock singer. I grew up in Hayward, outside of Oakland. It was the stuff that people in my neighborhood listened to. As I got older, and was in high school, playing in bands, people weren't playing that kind of stuff anymore. It was stuff like LYNYRD SKYNYRD, LED ZEPPELIN, AEROSMITH and AC/DC. I conformed to that and I still love all of that stuff too. I always wanted to do a soul-type of record. People have always told me that my voice fits that. It's always been there at the back of my mind. Last year, I started writing guitar chords foe these songs and started adding 7ths, Major 7ths and Diminished 7ths and before I knew it I had some soulful sounding stuff. I've always wanted to make this kind of album and I did. I did a blues album about three or four years ago. called MOONSHINE and it was completely different from BABYLON AD. As I got older, I find that I want to do all kinds of music."
- DEREK DAVIS
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t's interesting. I've been working with EDDIE KRAMER, JIMI HENDRIX's producer, and I've got to say that the kind of live show that we have put together has never, ever been done before. It is the true combination of rock and hip hop live. Even more so than on the album. Don't get me wrong. The album is dope, but on the live stuff, it's like holy moley! What just happened? This is something that has never been heard of. before. EDDIE helped me to bring out the rock sensibilities in the music. We've got the computer playing the hip hop tracks with the band playing some rock stuff over it."
- RAY GOREN
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STORY WiLL CONTiNUE
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e have SPENCER and ZAC. Those two and I are the three full time members. ZAC is very common sense and very rational and calm. That is very helpful when we are working through decisions and stuff. He is very relaxed and thinks rationally. He is also a mechanic which is super helpful to us when we are out on the road because our van breaks down every ten feet an he is able to fix it. Without him we would've stopped a bunch tours already because he is able to fix stuff. And of course he is a sick bass player. We just track an EP in December which will hopefully be coming out this year and he finished all of the bass parts in one day and that was pretty incredible. The band is kind of SPENCER's baby and he is the only original member at this point. He's like a first generation, original member. He is also very thoughtful and rational as far as band decision making goes. Because of that we're able to talk things through and decide what we should do for our next step. He is also probably the hardest working person. He lives and breathes this band 24/7. A lot of the things we have we wouldn't have if it wasn't for his dedication and push. The combination of those two guys is pretty strong."
- NIKHIL "NIGEL" RAO OF A WAR WITHIN
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feel very surprised by it. It brings me back to 2013 when we recorded it, and the songs are different from the ones off of our official LP REVIVAL. It's its own thing. It was recorded in a couple of days at LONDON BRIDGE STUDIOS and we had a good time with it. It;'s different feel for the songs than we're used to. It's cool to look back and hear how we were playing these songs in 2013. After three years of playing them, it's interesting to to hear how our approach to them has changed. I'm actually in Seattle right now. It's been really somber. CHRIS CORNELL was that iconic, legendary singer that I grew up idolizing. It's so odd. It's so weird. When I was on the flight to Seattle the news broke and everyone was just bummed out. It was really surreal. You wake up one morning and look at the news and you find out that CHRIS CORNELL has passed away. It's weird. SEATTLE SESSIONS was done on a whim as we were touring. Seattle has always been that city and place that we've always gravitated toward. It's the history of the city itself that gets to us, and the history of all of the people that have ever recorded at LONDON BRIDGE STUDIOS and all of the music that was made there."
- JOHN STRICKLAND OF LULLWATER
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t the moment, we're sticking with releasing singles because it's more affordable since we're doing this whole thing by ourselves. We're coming up with ideas, doing research and putting a lot of songs out there so there is something for people to listen to. Our stuff is everywhere online on things like iTUNES and SPOTIFY. We're doing that to keep fresh music rolling out. We've got a third single coming out soon but it's still in the mixing process. Before we went on tour we recorded two more songs. I think touring has helped in solidifying our music. There is no way that you can't get better playing five shows in a week. I'm happier with the reaction than I thought I could've been. I was worried because of my old band that people would expect that kind of thins. I'm proud of what I did with THROW THE TEMPLE but I'm happy because people have taken to MANHIGH as well. One of the things we heard on tour was "We had a band from New Mexico play here once an they were terrible." When people heard thirty seconds of our first song we could see them going "Oh shit! This is great!" People were excited to hear that we were from Albuquerque. No one knows that much about music in Albuquerque. Getting that reaction was really amazing. It let us know that we were onthe right path."
- GABRIEL GAMBINO OF MANHIGH
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e've never had a team. It's always been us. Everything that we've done up to this point has just been the band on it's own. We've had JESSE DUPREE as a mentor who guided us through the beginning stages of our career. He was there to tell us to go back and write more songs and to go back and rewrite songs and to stay on the road and keep pushing. He really put us through this old school artist development stage that no one is really doing anymore. We never had a piece of paper signed and he never took a commission or anything like that. He was just always there, like a friend. It's pretty amazing because that doesn't happen anymore. This whole team of people we have now are all people that have proven themselves to us over the years. It's a crazy thought to have a whole team around you of people that truly want what is best for the band. That's the best part about this team. We put our first EP WELCOME TO MY HEAD out on IRONWORKS which was JUDE COLE and KIEFER SUTHERLAND's label but that label had dissolved as they had put our record out and then they had stopped doing what they were doing. That was when we met JESSE and he took us under his wing. If you look at the word 'record', we're not talking about a black piece of vinyl. It's a record of our lives so what you're getting is the lessons that we've learned and the stories that we have to tell and the ay of life that we have developed and adapted to. Nothing changes for us. Who we are onstage is who we are offstage. The things I say to you right now are the things that I say to our band members. We really live this lifestyle through and through. We're very proud of the brotherhood that we represent."
-PHILLIP VILENSKI OF WAYLAND
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e did a video for KILLERS IN THE PIT. When we were in the studio, we wanted to write a song in appreciation for our fans. We wanted to make this mosh anthem. I'm really proud of that one. It's got a weird, cool flavor. People are really responding well to it. Another song would be BULLY which is a really personal experience of mine. So far it's connected with a lot of people. It has a really poppy hook. BROKEN ANGEL is our ballad. It has this epic rock sound. It's different from everything on the album I'm really excited to see what people's perceptions will be with this song coming form a more aggressive band.Our plan, after the release, is to tour in support of the album. After that we want to work on anew EP . We're going to go back into the studio with MIKE DOLING of SNOT . We're going to do a small group of songs with him. First and foremost though, we need to get on the road and sell some merch and get the music out there to as many people as possible. I want people to know that we are our own style of band and that we have a ton of flavor. We're doing things for fun . We want people to give it a shot and be open tot he fact that they're going to get different genres and styles of music within each track, as well as within the full album."
-CHRIS LUCA OF KILLSET
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e wanted to show that the blues is not a particular thing. In as much as a song like PREACHIN' BLUES is the blues, so is WHO SHOT YA? It's the blues, bolstered by the fact that the person who wrote it lived as he died and put it all on record. If that's not a cautionary tale - if that's not a parable, which is what the blues is, I don't now what is. Songs like WHO SHOT YA? are very prescient right now. Right now! So is COME ON . I think a song like INVISIBLE is very prescient because we are talking about things unseen. Things that are perceived but not seen. Things that are felt but not seen. We deal with that on this album and that song speaks to that idea.There was this surprise that we would do something like WHO SHOT YA? and that we would even talk about it and that we would turn it around musically in the way that we did. We noticed the reaction to that. It's such a beloved song as well. I think people get it. And then the realization settles in and people are like "Right! Right! Who shot ya!" It gets you thinking about the shooting in Orlando and Sandy Hook or TRAYVON MARTIN or any of these things. Who did that? And why? Whenever we talk about the proliferation of guns, we talk about the right for people to have a gun and that kind of thing. But why? What do you need it for and why? What do you not need it for? There is a question on both sides as to what is this really all about. For me, it seems like every solution needs a bigger gun. That is often times what I hear. When you listen to people talking , politicians and pundits and regular people on the street, it seems the only way we can stop these problems and issues is with a bigger gun. It's like you need a bigger fist or a bigger force to make changes happen when just the opposite might be the case."
-COREY GLOVER OF LIVING COLOUR
CHECK OUT THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR WHO SHOT YA?
y father was born in 1926 and he lived through the Second World War and all of the songs on this album are based on the stories that he used to tell me about the war so the subject matter is very personal but at the same time it is the point of view of someone who was there and living that experience day by day. It's such a sad story but still, it something that is very rich. He's still alive. He's 91 years old. All of the songs are based on his personal experiences. I'll have an idea for a riff as does FELIPE. He's always got some great ideas. When we get together we start showing off our ideas to each other and then I'll get to thinking that we can start with this and then try that. Once that is done, we start composing with the band. It starts with an idea and then we start playing it to see how it sounds.One of the songs that has me the most excited to get people to hear is RIDDLE because the lyrics are based on personal experiences. Another song would be CELEBRATE ANEW which is the second song on the album. These two songs are special to me because of the stories. The whole album, from beginning, middle and end, tells a story. Like a concept album. Every song on the album is important."
-ENRICO MINELLI OF OWL COMPANY
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- JIM WOOD OF DISHWALLA
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THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR NYCTOPHILIA
-CHRIS LANE OF STATION
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-SPEED OF SILVERTUNG
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-ANDREW W. BOSS
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-STEF WITH AN F OF CITY OF THE WEAK
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t's a whole different band. It took us a while to transition from KICKIN KROTCH to DISTRICT AVENUE. That was why we fell out of the spotlight for a while there. We were trying to find the right sound and an appropriate name. Having a name like KICKIN KROTCH kind of kicked us in the butt. I think the name was offensive to some people and people judged a book by it's cover. We always got doors slammed in our faces because of the name. We could've been booked on shows or had the chance to play on TV. I've heard from a lot of people in the music industry suggesting to us that the name should be changed. We were being rebels about it at first and thinking that we didn't have to change our name but after a while we all realized that we needed it to change. Now I'm glad we changed it because better things are coming out of it for sure. It's all about playing music and enjoying yourself. A lot of people say to us they that they get these messages out of our songs and that they made them feel this way or that way. If we inspire you any way that's all that matters. There is no big story behind it or anything like that. We've been away from music for so long that we just wanted to make great music for people to enjoy. Whatever they can get out of it they get out of it. It's just about rock n roll, baby! You know what I mean?"
-MIKE BERNARD OF DISTRICT AVENUE
CHECK OUT THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR REVIVAL!!!
BRiAN LUSH (FOUNDER, EDiTOR-iN-CHiEF)
CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: email@example.com