Category: Interviews

2020 has been a taxing ride for Australian born, platinum-selling artist Orianthi. Used to a heavy touring schedule that takes her right around the world like the rest of us 2020 has seen her stuck at home because of the worldwide pandemic.

“It has been pretty difficult, I am not going to lie,” says the gifted guitarist and singer as we sit down to talk about her first studio album in seven years. “Emotionally it has been pretty taxing. I really want to be able to see my family and friends and even over here (in the US) I haven’t been able to see that many people. It has got pretty bad out here in LA, we must be heading for another lockdown.”

The one saving grace for Orianthi in this tumultuous year has been the release of her new album O earlier this month. “I have been keeping to just seeing a small circle of people and have been doing a lot of press for my album,” she explains. “It is kind of crazy releasing an album during a pandemic but hopefully a lot of people will be helped by the album and entertained by it. But I really can’t wait for the word to get better again so we can begin to tour again… that would be awesome.”

The great news for Orianthi was that she was one of the lucky artists that didn’t have to find a way to record her album during the pandemic. “The album was actually finished a year ago,” she says as we talk about other artists who have had to face the recording in a pandemic hurdle. “We recorded it in Nashville with producer Marti Frederiksen who has worked with everybody including Aerosmith, Faith Hill, Buckcherry. He has done so much great stuff and he has been a friend of mine since I was 20 years old.”

“I went to Nashville and started to talk to Marti and he was like ‘let’s make a record’,” she says with a laugh. “So I was like ‘awesome’ and we went straight in and we didn’t over think it or anything, we just had so much fun. And you know what, one of the weirdest things was that one of the first songs we recorded was the track called ‘Contagious’ and we wrote that a year ago. For awhile we thought that would be the first single and I was like ‘no we can’t do that, that would be so wrong’. So instead we put out ‘Sinners Hymn’ and then ‘Impulsive’. But it has been pretty crazy because as you would know musicians are very reliant on touring and that’s how artists make money because records are basically free for everybody and touring is the way you get your music out there. That is why I make a record, because I want to tour it.”

O is out now through Frontiers.

There are some people in the heavy music scene that simply don’t need an introduction. The man known commonly as Ross The Boss is one of those people. Guitarist for a number of bands over the years including the mighty Manowar over the past few years The Boss has been focussing on his ‘super-group’ Death Dealer… a band made of many talented musos hailing from right around the world.

Now Death Dealer are preparing for the release of their third album – Conquer Lands. This is an album that has been in the making for several years and was stretched that little further by a little thing called a pandemic.

“After the second album we always said we were going to keep making albums,” Ross explains when I talk to him. “I wanted to do that because the band always clicks together, especially live. We were all off doing other things though. I was doing Ross The Boss Band and Sean Peck was off doing The Three Tremors and Stu Marshall as off doing Night Legion, but then we decided that now was the time to finish this record especially when the pandemic because that meant that we had the time.”

So perhaps we should be thankful for the pandemic for small favours. “So we got together and finished it,” he says proudly. “I’ll admit a lot of it was already done and when we all got together to finish it off… we just said that now was the time to put it out.”

And while some scribes have incorrectly said that the pandemic made it hard for Death Dealer to work on this album Ross says it didn’t change much at all. “It was actually pretty easy,” he admits with a laugh. “We are an intercontinental band. Stu is in Australia and then we have members on both the east and west coasts of America so that was nothing new for us. And to be honest a lot of bands are like that these days, they have members all over the place and the find a way to record.”

“The amazing thing about Death Dealer is that not only do we have the new album coming out on November 13th we are already working on Death Dealer Four right now,” he says continuing. “And to be honest we already have Death Dealer Five in the can. By the time we are able to tour I think we are going to be able to tour on two records.”

Conquered Lands is out on November 13th through Steel Cartel.

At times over the years it has felt like the compilation album is dead and buried. I still remember those days of buying the latest music magazine and then having to get past that sticky stuff (what the hell was that?) to get my prized sampler of new music off the front of the cover.

Well Australia’s very own Rue Morgue Records has brought the compilation album back as they deliver Murder In The Rue Morgue Vol 1 that delivers a killer lot of music from the likes of artists like Fierce Diety, Dan Brittain and Espionage. Another band on the album are hard rock outfit The Vendettas and I recently caught up with them to chat about their track that can be found on the compilation.

“We’ve been together now for about fifteen years,” says vocalist Steve Redden as we start to delve a little into the history of The Vendettas. “Band members have come in and out over that time but Jared the guitarist and myself have been writing together for about 10 years now. In that time we have also released two full length albums and an EP as well and the track that you will hear on Murder In The Rue Morgue is off our third album that we have recorded.”

It is that third album that has led to the relationship forming between the band and Rue Morgue Records. “We had just finished the album back in 2018,” explains Steve. “We had released our other two albums independently but this time we felt that the songs had a little bit more of a commercial sound to them so we wanted to get some help from some labels and some publishing licensing and stuff like that so we sent it out to John (the owner of Rue Morgue) and he listened to it the next day and he was emailing us back after he listened to each song saying how much he liked it. He had a relationship with Golden Robot Records so passed it onto them.”

From there the vinyl relationship that The Vendettas have with Rue Morgue Records has grown and grown to the point where their single “Face To Face” can now be found on Murder In The Rue Morgue Vol 1.

“So we picked the first track on the album, “Face To Face,” says Steve with a laugh. “I think that resinated with John in the very early days because that was the one song that he told us that he wanted for the compilation… he let us know that before we even discussed it.”

“It is a bit of different track for us,” he goes on to explain. “Previously the rock songs that we used to do were punchy and straight from the beginning to end but this one has got a nice long intro. It actually builds for like a minute and a half before any of the vocals even come in. We now like to open with the tracks as well because you can feel the vibe of the rock because the guitar starts and then the bass comes in underneath it and then you have the drums build on the toms and it is just something that you do sometimes think whether or not an audience will sit there for a minute or a half but it does work.”

I finish off the interview by asking Steve how important compilations and labels like Rue Morgue are in the current musical environment. “People like John are so important to the scene,” says Steve with admiration in his voice. “Trying to promote your own band is a tough thing to do and I have been saying to a few people lately that there are two parts to the Melbourne live music scene. There is the rock scene and then there is the rock family. I think it is so important to build that family side of things, so if John ever needs anything from us we will do it no worries because of what he has done for us and vice versa. That’s why I think that having bands on a compilation like this you do feel that sense of family because we are all promoting this together and then we started promoting each other’s shows and each other’s singles and I think that is really important.”

Murders In The Rue Morgue Vol 1 is out now.