Classic Rock News, Reviews And Interviews
May 22, 2014
Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith
How many bands has former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy been in over the last decade?
That could be a million-dollar question for many rock followers.
Portnoy’s latest post-DT project is The Winery Dogs, a powerhouse of a trio that magically marries Superman-like instrumental abilities with a disciplined focus on the song. Also featuring bass guru Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and singer-guitarist Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison), The Winery Dogs showed how to be hard-hitting aggressive in sound without shoving melody away from the front-and-center position May 20 at Neumeier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden in Fort Smith, Ark.
Following an impressive opening set by Charm City Devils, The Winery Dogs commandeered the stage by immediately diving into the jet-propelled “Elevate,” pulling the capacity crowd into a frenzied wave of exciting rock and roll music. Assertive, loud and air-tight on their stops, starts and everything in between, the group pounded out rhythms and patterns that did justice to the studio versions on its self-titled debut CD.… Continue reading
May 19, 2014
Photos and Story by Scott A. Smith
Cool-breeze melodies and some of the most gripping guitar solos and riffs in all of rock-and-roll land are among the high points found on the new U.S. tour by Styx, Foreigner and former Eagles guitarist-singer Don Felder.
Billed as “The Soundtrack of Summer Tour,” the tour saw its second night at the Zoo Amphitheatre in Oklahoma City, with Felder and his four-piece solo band mixing his solo work with must-play Eagles numbers over the course of a well-received, 50-minute set. Donning sunglasses, black vest, black pants, black shoes and a polka-dotted, black-and-white shirt, a grinning Felder emerged from the backstage area to greet the all-ages audience with an impressive take of The Eagles’ “Take It Easy.” Felder handled the song’s lead vocals with ease — why Eagles founder Glenn Frey continues to erroneously claim Felder is no lead singer is one of music’s biggest head-scratchers.… Continue reading
May 7, 2014
Photos and Story by Scott A. Smith
The spirits of Thin Lizzy, Brother Cane and Megadeth are near – but never overpower – one of rock’s newest, most invigorated bands.
Black Star Riders are burning down U.S. highways to promote their debut CD, “All Hell Breaks Loose,” and their concert May 5 at Neumemier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden in Fort Smith was loud and proud, with the quintet of veterans giving 150 percent over the course of a well-paced, tour-hour set.
Guitarists Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy) and Damon Johnson (Brother Cane) kept six-string fans and casual rock fans happy with edgy, always tasteful interplay, while bassist Marco Mendoza (Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy) and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth) formed an air-tight rhythm section from the get go. This instrumental base gave lead singer Ricky Warwick (The Almighty, Thin Lizzy) the ultimate, punchy platform.
Well-rehearsed but often incorporating brilliant flashes of improvisation, Black Star Riders played the bulk of their new CD, with “Kingdom of the Lost,” “Kissin’ the Ground,” “Before the War” and the title track all leaving a sustained impression on audience members.… Continue reading
December 18, 2013
By Michael Yanko
Rock Legends Photographers
Hosted by the Magic City Casino in Miami, the Classic Rock Legends Festival was a huge success and one of the best-run festivals we have ever been to. Special thanks to Kansas management and Phil Ehart for making time for a fun interview.
Q: You’ve been touring for about 40 years, who is your favorite band to tour with?
A: Well, that’s a good question. The band that we enjoyed the most touring with was Queen. That was the “Sheer Heart Attack” tour and we did 40 gigs with them, and then we came back and toured with them a year or so later and toured with them again. That was really enjoyable because our band was just starting to come into its own as far as being able to play with a headliner, and Queen was just starting to explode, and it was really exciting to watch them.… Continue reading
December 14, 2013
Photo and Story by Scott A. Smith
Tobymac’s sonic gumbo of rock, funk, old-school R&B and more flowed like musical honey on Dec. 12 in Tulsa, Okla.
The former DC Talk member and five-time Grammy Award winner brought his Hits Deep Tour to Tulsa’s BOK Center, and the set list stood exactly as promised — it was crammed to the gills with Toby’s radio staples and equally favored LP cuts. Guitarist Tim Rosenau’s staccato, clean-toned intro to the bouncy “Me Without You” later gave way to crunchy, glorious hard-rock distortion on “Eye On It,” “Tonight” and “Gone.”
Throughout Toby’s 80-minute set, Toddiefunk slapped, tapped and thumped what sounded like brand-new strings on his bass, and drummer Brian Haley kept the rhythms assertive and adventurous. “Steal My Show,” “Lose Myself” and “Speak Life,” all terrific tracks from Toby’s No. 1 album from 2012, “Eye On It,” gushed with new-found confidence and purpose on the Tulsa stage.… Continue reading