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#1 Nothing More By: Tyler Griffith

Photo courtesy of Facebook
Photo courtesy of Facebook

#1 – “Nothing More” by Nothing More

By: Tyler Griffith

I wasn’t around when Zeppelin played their first gig. I wasn’t around when Sabbath wrote the opening riff that would forever change heavy metal. I wasn’t even a thought in the minds of my parents when a small band from San Francisco decided to play faster and louder than everyone and, subsequently, invented thrash metal (looking at you, Metallica). My point is, I never really had that “moment” where I discovered a band, still in their early years, and knew instantly that they were something special. That is, not until this year. This year, I saw a band out of Texas called Nothing More. And this band, cliché be damned, changed my life.

Rewind back to March 30th at the Roxy. I went with a buddy to see Adrenaline Mob. On the bill that night were a few opening bands. I missed Killset entirely, I only saw the last two songs from Blackmore (look forward to their release next year), and then Nothing More took the stage. I can’t adequately describe their live show because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. If you want an idea of what I mean, just search YouTube for their live performances,  specifically this gem:

But we aren’t here to talk about their live performance. We are here to talk about their album from this year. For this album to get to #1 on my list, it has to be something special. It beat out Scott Stapp. It beat out Alter Bridge. Hell, it beat out every album I bought this year. Why? The self titled sophomore album from Nothing More is nothing short of a musical masterpiece. It is crafted in such a way that makes it feel like a concept album without having a blatant story line. It is a theatrical work of art that is distinctly divided into two acts. This album progresses through the extremes of many different human emotions, yet it does so in a way that is genuine, powerful, and deeply moving. This album is angry. This album is remorseful. This album is hopeful. This album is damn good.

For me, this album revolves around a central that is comprised of three songs (if you want to be technical, they are more towards the latter half of the album, but I digress): “I’ll Be OK”, “Here’s To The Heartache”, and “If I Were”. This album deals heavily with loss. Being a psychology major, it’s very exciting to see loss dealt with in so many different ways. These three songs face loss from different perspectives.

However, while these three songs are phenomenal (“If I Were” is a personal favorite of mine for reasons unbeknownst to most), they are but building blocks to, what I feel is, the climax of the album, which is the track “God Went North”. At this point on the album, at track #16, you would think that the band is running on fumes. You would think that vocalist Jonny Hawkins has given his best performance. But the entire band shines on this track, especially Hawkins. I had the privilege of talking with Jonny at the last show I went to. This band lives for this music. Jonny was cool enough to listen to my story and how much this album impacted me.

Photo courtesy of Facebook
Photo courtesy of Facebook

If you listen to this album from front to back, you can tell that this album deals with a lot of personal and emotional demons of the band members. I’ll say the same thing here as what I said to Jonny that night: I’m not sure what the band had to go through in order to get this record made. But whatever it was, you guys made it out the other side and created a masterpiece. In today’s music landscape, it is rare to find a band that is so honest, so powerful, and so unrelentingly progressive with their music. If it were 10-15 years earlier, this band would be on top of the world. They have the music to prove it. You owe it to yourself to give these guys a listen. It may be a while before a band as good as these guys comes around again. When they launch into the stratosphere of music history, this album will be seen as a landmark accomplishment for the band. And for me, personally, this album got me through one of the darkest periods of my life. And for that, among so many other reasons, I am honored to say that the self-titled album by Nothing More is my #1 album of 2013.

Standout tracks include: “If I Were”, “Ballast”, “God Went North”

New Day By Lisa Church

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SRO Magazine recently met up with the band New Day at one of their practices. Immediately as this band began playing you felt as if you were treated to a headlining show, just without all the lights and the crowd. Once the rehearsal was over I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jerry Sible (lead vocals), Jeff Brownlie (guitar),  John Garren (drums) and Bryan Caldwell (bass). We discussed their original songs and from where they drew their inspiration. All the members of the band feel a strong connection to the military and those who serve, they feel this connection is where they gain their inspiration. Furthermore they explained that a lot of their friends who fought in the war came back to the United States and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome. Clearly this touches them deeply. As we spoke openly in their band room it was overtly apparent that each one of these guys were passionate about their music and I especially liked how they connected to one another, like a brotherhood.

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What was also apparent was the humility and gratitude New Day exhibits; you can see it in their CD credits, they carefully give credit to those that have helped and supported them through the years.I found it interesting that this band has been together since 2001 and have produced four CD’s: Grind, Euphemism, Psycho Network, Unearthed,  and are working on their next masterpiece, Locked and Loaded. Their music is not only hard-driving and in your face, but it is ‘mother-approved’. They are careful to not use profanity in an effort to reach a larger audience.

When asked about looking to get signed to a label, they said that  they are content to remain at the level of playing locally in the Florida and Georgia region of the United States.  National recording was not their primary focus. These guys have effortlessly made not only fans from their music, but really connected and have made many lasting friendships through the years.

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As with many local bands, the members of New Day have families and jobs that demand most of their time and places a limit on their ability to get out of the Southeastern part of the United States. Do not for one second be fooled by these geographical limits, when they book a show, it is always to a packed house. After seeing these guys up close and personal in my own little concert, I can attest that this band has earned another fan. It is our fervent wish that if you find yourself in the vicinity of one of their shows, that you would go check them out. I can assure you that if you like metal music, you will be floored. You can either take my word for it or go over to their YouTube channel and see for yourself. I have included a link to my favorite song by New Day, Martyr.

To sum this band up in a few sentences, an excerpt from their Facebook fan page says it all, “In an era of new labels and genres, New Day defines their sound quite simply–Metal. This ensemble approaches making music as recreational while maintaining professionalism in the process. Having no interest in following the images of modern music trends. New Day places emphasis on being “tight” in all aspects of composition and performance.”

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Hopefully I have raised your curiosity to see this band live. They will be performing December 6th with Nonpoint at Brewsters’ Megaplex and Jack Rabbits December 14th with The Senses, Jug Or Not and Appalachian Death Trap in Jacksonville, Florida. Go to their fan page and connect with them for tickets to these and future shows.

Until next time…

Lisa Church

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Joe Vitale “Backstage Pass” –By Linda Mitchell

Joe Vitale Backstage Pass - Written By Susie Vitale  Book Cover Photo Courtesy of Joe Vitale

JOE VITALE
“BACKSTAGE PASS”
Crosby, Stills Nash – Joe Walsh -Neil Young – Dan Fogelberg – The Eagles
Peter Frampton – Ted Nugent – Buffalo Springfield – Steven Stills –
The Joe Vitale Band

Photo courtesy of Joe Vitale
Photo courtesy of Joe Vitale

By Linda Mitchell

If you’ve been a rock and roll aficionado over the past several decades, and are familiar with the top bands during that time, then you know Joe Vitale – Drummer Extraordinaire and yes, all around great guy.
Joseph Anthony Vitale was born into his very Italian family in Canton, Ohio in 1949. His Mom and Dad were both musicians: Mom played sax and Dad played accordion. For Joe, his older brother Frank and younger sister Joanne, family life was filled with loud stories, laughter, and good food and of course, music.

If you meet Joe today, you can’t help but notice his vibrancy and dynamic energy. Now just picture him as a youngster – middle child and full of mischief. In an effort to save their pots and pans from being destroyed by his wooden spoon drumsticks, his parent had the foresight to present him with a new drum at his first Christmas! His fascination with drums was only going to escalate.

Courtesy of Linda Mitchell

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Over the years watching his Dad play with other musicians, and listening to his stories about various gigs, Joe became more determined to follow in his musical footsteps. His first official drum lesson was after his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1955. On a personal note, during a recent conversation with Joe, we discovered we attended elementary school together and only lived a few blocks apart in Ft. Lauderdale! Small World!

Back in Ohio by fifth grade, he had his first gig under his belt, a school performance with this brother Frank. Performing in front of an audience solidified his resolve to pursue a drumming career. By sixth grade, and being an “active kid” and prone to pranks, Joe’s parents felt more drum lessons would be an outlet for his energy and creative nature. For his eighth birthday he got his first full kit – Blue & Silver Ludwigs. Imagine his excitement!

In time he was playing in his Dad’s band – The Tony Vitale Band, with his brother. At age fourteen he joined the Musician Union. You would think the direction of his musical path was laid in stone by that time. But that all changed on February 9, 1964 when he, along with millions of others saw The Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show. Joe set his sights on Rock and Roll!

Photo courtesy of Joe Vitale
Photo courtesy of Joe Vitale

In his book BACKSTAGE PASS, written by his wife Susie, you will read more details about Joe’s childhood in the first few chapters. It is a personal look into his family life and his antics and activities as a youngster. You will find yourself chuckling out loud at some of his stories.

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Through the pages you’ll follow Joe’s climb up the ladder of recognition as a drummer. You’ll appreciate his drive and focus to see his dreams come true; from hearing his first recorded song on the radio as a teenager, to getting picked up by his first national act, Ted Nugent. And then…there’s Joe Walsh! Imagine those two Joe’s together! What stories there are during that period! One can only imagine the hotelier’s dread seeing Joe Walsh walk through the lobby with a guitar in one hand and a chainsaw in the other!! The book is worth this section alone!

Photo courtesy of Joe Vitale
Photo courtesy of Joe Vitale

You will also get a firsthand account of what it took back before computers and electronic equipment to produce a recording or edit it for that matter! The endless hours in the studio, laborious retakes, and the steady handed precision of cutting the tape for undetectable edits. Those were the musicians in the trenches of technology ‘back in the day’.

BACKSTAGE PASS takes you on a journey over thirty years through the various bands with which Joe performed, co-wrote songs and co-produced albums. A versatile musician, not only as a drummer but flautist, keyboardist and singer, Joe was an integral part of numerous top selling albums with numerous individual musicians – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musicians! His conversational and candid stories make for easy reading and a feeling that you are there sharing his experiences. These are exclusive, inside, personal and funny stories about some of the most influential and successful musicians and bands in rock and roll history. Plus there are over one hundred pages of personal color photos along with dozens of black and white shots dispersed throughout the book.

Today Joe is just as energetic and enthusiastic as ever. Would you expect anything less? He continues to write, has formed two labels: Hit Records and Marinara Music and Publishing; has produced one of his son Joe Vitale Jr.’s albums and released his own third solo CD “Speaking in Drums”. He is also a counselor at various Rock and Roll Fantasy Camps in Las Vegas. Additionally, he and Susie produced BACKSTAGE PASS! To learn more about Joe, or to order a personalized, autographed copy of BACKSTAGE PASS, go to http://www.joevitaleondrums.com.

It is one amazing story!

Linda Mitchell with Joe Vitale, Photo courtesy of Linda Mitchell
Linda with Joe V- photo courtesy of Linda Mitchell

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