t takes a special set of pipes to front such metal bands as RIOT, MESSIAH'S KISS and HOLY MOTHER, but over the years, MIKE TIRELLI has proven that he is a man up for the challenge. Clearly not a man to rest on his laurels, the pyrotechnic singer is now stepping into the light in a bigger way with his new band RISING FIVE and their new EP NO DEATH REBORN. Here, TIRELLI collaborates with MESSIAH'S KISS bassist WAYNE BANKS and delivers a sound that embraces a modern, nu-metal sensibility as opposed to the more traditional metal approach of his other bands. With a little help from producer KANE CHURKO (PAPA ROACH, IN THIS MOMENT, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH) RISING FIVE's new EP is bound to capture a few ears and notices in the fickle world active rock and the title song - a cautionary tale on the opioid epidemic - will no doubt keep a listener engrossed. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with MIKE TIRELLI regarding the new band and the EP. Here is how the interview went.
RISING FIVE is a different direction for you as an artist and you've got a great new EP in NO DEATH REBORN. Now that it's out there for people to hear, how do you feel about the finished work?
I feel very confident about it. I believe in the music. I believe in everything about it, in terms of the writing and the production. I feel great! I feel good about it. I just hope that everyone else feels that same way about that I do.
CHECK OUT THE MUSIC ViDEO FOR NO DEATH REBORN!!!
You started this band with bass player WAYNE BANKS. What inspired the two of you to get this project going?
From the beginning of MESSIAH's KISS, WAYNE joined the band shortly after our first album that we recorded in 2002. WAYNE came on during a tour and ever since then we would room together while on tour and we were always writing songs in the hotel room and feeding off of each others ideas. It took a while for us to do something together given the fact that he's in England and I'm in New York, but as time went on, there was a little bit of a delay in the band. I always wanted to do something on my own. I always write music and he does as well. He's a very prolific writer and a great lyricist as well. We would always send stuff back and forth. He's inspired by different styles of music. He's inspired by punk a lot, although he likes things like PEARL JAM and stuff like that. When he would send me stuff, I would put my own twist on it and it becomes something very unique. Like the song WHY DO YOU HATE ME is a lot of his stuff. LIGHT THE FUSE is a song that is indicative of my personal style.
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What is informing the songwriting for this band?
I'm involved with a lot of different projects as far as music is concerned. A lot of what informed me musically came from people like DIO and JUDAS PRIEST. I think where the music is coming from now is inspired by more modern bands. That's the reason why the music sounds the way that it does now. I also wanted a modern producer to get involved with this as well to bring the songs to that level that I was looking for.
Who is the producer that you worked with?
KANE CHURKO is who we worked with. His dad is KEVIN CHURKO and they've worked with a lot of great people like DISTURBED's last very successful album and the new one as well. They've also worked with PAPA ROACH, IN THIS MOMENT, OZZY OSBOURNE and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. I just like his sense of production. I'm not the biggest fan of DISTURBED, but I can appreciate where they're coming from. I do listen to them periodically, but when I listened to their last CD, I was blown away by the production of the drums and the way they utilized the guitars in very dynamic and modern way. So I looked at the credits to see who produced this thing because I wanted this person to work on what I wanted to do with RISING FIVE. I reached out to him. I had some friends in the business who knew him. This friend of mine reached out to the CHURKOs and told them to give a listen to what I had done so far. All of the songs on this EP were all a series of demos at one time. When I made my introduction to them, they took the project on. They took it on at a very reasonable rate, which was great because we were doing this on our own label. I put the music in their hands that KANE co-produced, mixed and mastered these five songs on the EP. I was very happy with it.
Have there been any reactions to the new music that have surprised you or that you didn't see coming?
Yeah, in some ways. A lot of my older fans are used to me doing a certain style that is in the vein of the bands that I've sung for in the past, like in the late eighties when I was with BURNING STAR and then HOLY MOTHER, and then of course MESSIAH's KISS. We've done two shows with RISING FIVE so far. We did one in Manheim, Germany a couple of weeks ago with RIOT and one in London. I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction from the fans. In playing these songs live, people were blown away by how I kept the the vocals more in step with a more traditional approach despite the more modern feel of the music. Those fans really took a liking to all of this. As we know, most fans buy physical CDs and the newer fans don't. When I went to Europe and we played the two shows, I brought as many CDs as I could. I filled the whole suitcase up and within not even an hour, they were all sold out. I was impressed and very excited about that.
How is this experience different form some of the other bands that you've fronted.
HOLY MOTHER was a band where I had a lot of input into the songwriting. We had a great line up! We always ended up changing guitarists for some reason, but everyone of them that we had were just great and very creative, starting with this guy SPIKE FRANCIS. He was good friends with AL PETRELLI and he was influenced by AL and his writing. And then on our albums TOXIC RAIN and CRIMINAL AFTERLIFE, we had RICH NEZZO who was very creative and had his own style. RANDY COLVIN was the bass player and now that I look back - God rest his soul because he isn't with us any more - RANDY was a bass virtuoso. The way he played was very unique. We used to ask him to play a little more simply. In a lot of the mixes for HOLY MOTHER, you really couldn't hear what he was doing in the bass mixes, but I'm in the process of remastering the TOXIC RAIN record. We're going to be putting that out again, although I'm not sure what label that is going to be happening on. At least I was more involved with the writing along with the drummer JIM HARRIS. As far as the band MESSIAH's KISS, GEORGE KRAFT was pretty much in charge of all of the writing. He would send me the music and I would put my own melodies to it, which were heavily inspired by ACCEPT, DIO and JUDAS PRIEST. Now, the RISING FIVE stuff is my heart and soul. That is what I feel and that is what I want to do now. When I sang for RIOT, I was simply charged with singing the bands entire catalog from way back up to the present day when I was in the band from 2005 to 2008. So that's basically it.
You've talked about the two shows you recently did in Europe. Are there any more touring plans in the future?
Right now, for the December, we're planning something here in the States. We're also looking at doing more shows in the UK and Europe as well. We're also working on getting onto as many festivals as we can for next year.
You got some great songs on this EP but the one that surprised me the most was your take on THE CARPENTERS hit SUPERSTAR. What made you guys want to rev that one up?
It was just me. My bass player in this band - that was his wedding song seventeen years ago. So I took the guitar and made a very quick recording of the song. I always liked this song. I always liked the way KAREN CARPENTER delivered a song. It just feels comfortable to me, so I decided that we should use it for this EP. It took a little bit of arm twisting for WAYNE to get on board with the idea. So I sent him a demo of what I did. I also showed it to KANE when I was in Vegas when he started the mixes for the EP and he thought that it was a great idea. I think it's a great song. I believed in it and now I'll get to see what other people think. There were a couple of radio stations when I was at a festival and one of the stations that I gave the CD to hasn't stopped playing it over the airwaves and one of his favorite songs is my version of SUPERSTAR.
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What songs off of the EP have you the most excited to get people to hear and why?
NO DEATH REBORN is the first song that I wrote personally for the new EP. It deals with the subject of opiate abuse among the youth today. My daughter is ten years old and she sings at the end of the track and she's a brilliant singer with great pitch. That was the first song that inspired me to say "I love this! I want to write more songs!' I just wanted to put out an EP first and see how it goes. Maybe next time We'll put out a full LP next year some time or maybe another EP. But NO DEATH REBORN is a song with a very powerful message. And of all of the songs on the EP, it's my favorite so far.
With this EP, what's the big idea? What do you want people ot come away with after they hear it?
It depends on who is listening. If someone listens to a song like NO DEATH REBORN and watches the music video for it, maybe they can come away with a positive outlook on their life. If they're addicted to any kind of painkillers or heroin, then maybe this song could be a wake up call. Also the song LIGHT THE FUSE has a good message and so does TODAY. I just hope that people can take a positive message away form some of the lyrics.
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