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Under the Lights

Stereo Messiah

A very British quintet, “Vega” has been making inroads on the Melodic Rock scene in the UK since 2010…and changing it ever so slightly each time they release new material!  “Stereo Messiah” is the group’s third attempt, and is a powerful statement from the five.  Below are some thoughts from “Vega” singer Nick Workman…

 

Question: I would like to begin with the fact that “Stereo Messiah” was recorded quite intensely and quickly…a no nonsense approach! Any reason for this, or were you all just so full of music that it was bubbling over the top!?

Nick Workman: We were really prepared when we went in. We had demoed all of the songs at least twice so we knew what we had to do. Although we wrote “All Or Nothing” pretty much in the studio on day 1 between drum takes. We had a version of that song the week before we went in the studio but it wasn’t quite there. The night before we went in I came up with the chorus and the guys said “we have to do this”.

Q: Of course, your pre-production period must have been just as intense! How long were you guys writing this collection?

NW: We had been writing these songs for the last couple of years and narrowed it down from over 20 songs down to 17 or 18 and then down to 12. “Tears Never Dry”  was written before “Kiss of Life”  was released but it took 4 years for us to come back to that song to do it justice.

Q: How did “Vega” become involved with Joe Elliott?

NW: I managed to get myself into a football predictor league which just happens to include half of Def Leppard. Leppard and Joe are my biggest influence so it was a massive deal for me. Anyway, I came across “10 x Bigger Than Love”  on You-Tube and asked Joe about the song. He replied with its history and in the same email said VEGA should cover it. I think at the time he didn’t thought we wouldn’t do it, but there was no way we weren’t going to!

Q: He also sang with you Nick…what was that like?

NW: AMAZING!!!!! How many people get to sing with their biggest influence and the person they idolise??? I have the vocal track at home on my computer so I think I might have to make it my ringtone. Which will be great until he hears it on the Down n Outz tour in December. It may not go down well haha.

Q: As you and the band prepare for the release of this, your third effort.. Are you preparing to take to the road?

NW: 100 %. People will be bored of us by the time we are done playing live for this record.  We have 14 dates in the UK for November/December, Hard Rock Hell is in the bag for 2015 and more is in the planning stages. Stay tuned.

Q: Where do you have you sights on? Of course the UK, are you going to North America as well?

NW: We would love to but it’s all down to time and money. We can’t afford to just go over there and play some shows. If someone can come up with a deal that works all round then we will be there. Maybe the odd festival would work. But you have to bear in mind that it ain’t cheap flying 6 blokes from England to the USA.

Q: Going back to the new record, I feel that it is more varied in content. It seems you have reached deeper than on previous releases. Is this a fair observation?

NW: I think so yes. There is maybe a little more light and shade than “What The Hell”. But we always try to take things forward with each record and don’t want to keep on repeating ourselves. John Mitchell was awesome and I hope he does the next album too. He offered a lot of idea’s to the whole process and was great to work with and bounce idea’s off. There was no real time limit to the recording. He said “when we are done we can stop”. That took the pressure off but we still did it in 2 weeks. John then mixed on and off over a couple of weeks.

 

Vega Stereo Messiah Frontiers Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson

Celebrating their return to Frontiers, Britain’s premier Rockers, “Vega” release their third in “Stereo Messiah”.

A very deep, melodious and soulful effort—“Stereo Messiah” simply rocks!  These five Brits are certainly disciplined—only allowing themselves a fortnight to lay all twelve brand new songs down!  And what do we hear?  Twelve rollicking journeys that is as much driving as they are melodic!  Nick Workman’s vocals are top drawer—displaying his far-reaching range ever so effortlessly.  The guitar and keyboards are like liquid mercury flowing expressively over the organic rhythms solidly performed by Terry Martin, (bass) and Dan Chantrey, (drums).

Throughout “Stereo Messiah” we hear some very succulent riffs from six stringer Marcus Thurston and wave after wave of those Ivory produced notes which awash us marvelously!—thanks to one James Martin!

Each musical jewel on this record will thrust Vega’s live performances to epic levels!  “Gonna Need Some Love Tonight” will become a staple.  Actually, whatever the group decides to perform live from this album will be a genuine highlight of their live set!

“Stereo Messiah” is an astounding musical journey—a strapping statement from these five musicians from the Angel Isle!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Zamboni Brothers:  Oct. 23rd & 24th & 25th

Checkers Bar & Grill:   Margit Sky Band:  Oct. 24th & Oct. 25th

Doc Willoughby’s:   Supersuckers:   Oct. 23rd 

Neighbours Pub:   Electric Freeway: Oct. 25th

Longhorn Pub (Vernon):  Sunday Night Jam—all musicians welcome!—Hosted by-Rick Zip & The Wheelhouse Band:  

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:   Oct. 24th & 25th

Notable Concerts:   

(We’ll be talking with the Journeymen in the near future—right here on “Under The Lights”!!)

 

Prospera  Place:    Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:   November 27th 

              

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!

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Over The Moon

If you read my interview with the President of Frontiers Records, you will recall that we talked about some unique future projects that he was putting together.  Serafino has an uncanny talent of putting musicians together that would otherwise not get the opportunity of creating together, and this is one of those situations…Lenna Kuurmaa is a spirited singer, and found success in the group Vanilla Ninja as well as being a TV Personality in her home of Estonia.  Alessandro Del Vecchio is a legend in European Melodic Rock, as a keyboardist, vocalist, and songwriter—and arranger.  Serafino saw an opportunity to uplift the profiles of both Artists and “Moonland” was born!  I caught up with Lenna in September, and we talked about this fantastic new project…


Bruce: First, congratulations on this new musical adventure… Would it be correct in thinking that you are kind of re-launching your singing career with Moonland?

Lenna: Well on the international music market yes- but otherwise no. I have been doing music since I remember and some time after Vanilla Ninja I started my own band called "Lenna” which is very successful here in my homeland Estonia. We have given out 2 albums and working on our third one.

B: Knowing your past efforts, with Vanilla Ninja, and now, your involvement with Frontiers Records, and Alessandro Del Vecchio… Are you in a more comfortable and creative place?

L:  I can’t really compare those two-Moonland and Vanilla Ninja. The situations and the purpose of those projects are totally different. Vanilla Ninja was our band that we started and created from the beginning.  Moonland is a project which came to life because of Frontiers Records. They had this idea to do this kind of album with me.

B: Speaking of Mr. Del Vecchio, I have just finished a brief article on “Mother Road”, and in it I referred to Alessandro being in such demand with so many Artists… How in the world did you get his attention!?

L: I don’t know... I am very happy that I did though. I guess we can only thank Frontiers Records. Alessandro is so talented and a great person. I am very happy and thankful he worked with me and produced Moonland’s album!

B: This new release, “Moonland”, seems to be the perfect vehicle for your Talents.  Obviously a very pleasant experience for you and the assembled musicians you worked with. Did this project bring you together with some that you would not have thought possible in the past?

L: Yes sure. I never thought I would give out an album together with an Italian rock label and I never thought I would record an album in Milano. As I told you in the first question-I have been working in Estonia for last several years. This new international project for me is very interesting!

B: If I may, what does Lenna Kuurmaa expect to come out of this project? Are we seeing a brand new band, one that will continue to create and play live?

L: We had our first live show in Milano already, this year in May, at the Frontiers Festival. It was a great experience. I do hope we get to play many live shows all over Europe. And maybe also Japan and America…I do hope AOR fans all over the world will find Moonland’s record.

B: “Moonland” is such an exquisite collection of music, did you push your own boundaries during the recording of this record?

L: We found a good way together with Ale, we did not have to fight.

B: Are Vanilla Ninja still in business?

L: Vanilla Ninja is long time not anymore in business, I guess almost 10 years...

B: How was that time? Did you enjoy? Do you miss the band?

L: It was a super crazy time in my life, we were 16 years old when we started with Vanilla Ninja. So you can imagine how different I look at things now (laughs). But I must say it is a time I never want to forget. Vanilla Ninja made me who I am today. It also gave me much belief that everything is possible - when you really want! That is so true! Vanilla Ninja was the best thing that could happen to us. At the moment I see that it is good it also ended... Everything has a reason and has its time. Vanilla Ninja’s time was over and it opened new doors.


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Hank Stallion:  Oct. 16th   JW Jones:  Oct. 17th   Poppa Dawg:  Oct. 18th                   Zamboni Brothers:  Oct. 23rd & 24th & 25th

Checkers Bar & Grill:   Bender:  Oct. 18th    Margit Sky Band:  Oct. 24th & Oct. 25th

Doc Willoughby’s:   Supersuckers:   Oct. 23rd 

Neighbours Pub:   My Kind Of Karma:  Oct. 18th    Electric Freeway: Oct. 25th

Longhorn Pub (Vernon):  Sunday Night Jam—all musicians welcome!—Hosted by-Rick Zip & The Wheelhouse Band:   October 19th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Colt 45:  Oct. 17th & 18th      Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:   Oct. 24th & 25th

The Max Night club: (Vernon):  The Young’uns:   Oct 17th   

Notable Concerts:  

(We’ll be talking with the Journeymen in the near future—right here on “Under The Lights”!!)

 

Prospera  Place:    Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:   November 27th 

              

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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Twenty Years On

Coming up to their twenty-fifth anniversary of their debut album, what do these guys do?—Begin Again!!...here is the story:

Bruce Atkinson:  Of course, “Dalton” is not a new name on the scene… However, how you guys came to this point is a real cool story… Care to tell us about it?

Bo Lindmark:  It was when Swedish television producer Sonny Erhaldsson wanted to make a documentary film about Dalton's reunion, 25 years after the debut. That’s how we initially met after all these years. We started shooting the film and our acting, both in front of the camera and in the rehearsals felt so natural - it was like we had been playing together all the time. We got in contact with our old record label and that’s where we met Anders Livag. He was managing the release of the “25th Anniversary Best Of” album containing tracks from the first two albums.  Anders is now our manager and has worked very hard in making all this happen!

BA: Now, let’s go back to 2012 when you opened for The Scorpions… Was this the decisive event to go totally forward with a re-vitalised “Dalton”?

Bo Lindmark: It was after the gig we started talking about making a new album. Since the response from the fans was so overwhelming we realized we still had fans left out there who wanted more from us.

BA: Now, with recording this new set of songs, what has been different than with previous “Dalton” releases?

Bo Lindmark: I guess a big difference is that we all got our own lives beside Dalton, which was noticeable especially when recording when we rarely were in the studio at the same time. With today’s studio technology it’s so much more flexible. Everyone can contribute to the process independently without the others present. However, before entering the studio we did what we always used to do in the 80's – arranged and practiced the songs in the rehearsals prior to entering the studio.

BA: Are any of the numbers from the “old days”, or are we hearing brand new songs?

Bo Lindmark: We started off with a demo from 1990 that was recorded for a 3rd album that never came out. But we also have some newly written songs, where 3-4 of them ended up on “Pit Stop”.

BA: Now, it is one thing to come back together to record, and obviously anotherto take the band back out on the road. So first, is this a complete reunion, in which you are all going forward as “Dalton”?

Bo Lindmark: Absolutely, there were two things that were important when we decided to get the wheels in motion once more - first, it had to be the 'original band'. And second, we should all give it 100% focus. So here we are!

BA: Secondly, as you all have grown through the years, we hear a musicalmaturity on “Pit Stop”… Do you feel that the band are going down a slightly different road than in the past?

Bo Lindmark: Since many of the songs are from 1990, a lot of the original Dalton feel is still there.  However, as the technology has evolved a lot since then the sound is more up to date, which we DO like. But all in all - what is significant for the 80’s Dalton sound is noticeable – catchy riffs, big choruses, and great keyboard hooks.

BA: In closing… It is certainly a pleasant surprise to hear “Dalton” once again! Please leave our readers with some thoughts on what is next for the group…

Bo Lindmark:  We can’t wait to release the album and then to get out and play! To meet the fans.  THAT once more will be great...

 

Dalton  “Pit Stop”                                          
Frontiers Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson  

It seems that all of the stars were aligned perfectly for these talented five.  Back in 2012 a producer had an idea for a documentary on “Dalton”—an ‘80’s rock group out of Sweden that made some big noise back then.  Founded by drummer Mats Dahlberg, (Treat), “Dalton” were a potent rock outfit: but after two very strong musical statements, the group disbanded.  The members went on to other musical pastures until that fateful year!  In order to see this idea of a documentary on “Dalton”, the reformation of the group needed to take place, and thankfully it did!  After a live performance, for the documentary, the group knew they could and should keep the fires burning!  “Pit Stop” is one of those fires, the group’s third album, it is a mixture of older material and brand new songs that remind us all of why these guys were so great to begin with!  A hardened edge, each song is delivered with energy, youthfulness, and melody.  Each song is finely textured, full of promise, unsullied and crisp!  Straight ahead rockers that just won’t quit.  A full band, “Dalton” deliver an unique guitar/keyboard musical attack that is destined to re-energise the music scene.  It is grand to have these five back, and in full stride!  They have delivered eleven Rock standards, and as they go forward their impact will greatly exceed what they did back in the late eighties!  It may be a “Pit Stop” to “Dalton”—but for us, it is the beginning of another thrill filled race!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Zamboni Brothers: Oct 9th    The Goods Oct. 10th & 11th   Hank Stallion:  Oct. 16th           JW Jones:  Oct. 17th   Poppa Dawg:  Oct. 18th    Zamboni Brothers:  Oct. 23rd & 24th & 25th

Neighbours Pub:   Déjà vu:  Oct. 11th   My Kind Of Karma:  Oct. 18th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Radio Lifeline:   Oct. 10th & 11th   Colt 45:  Oct. 17th & 18th    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Oct. 24th & 25th

Notable Concerts:    

Prospera  Place:    Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:   Oct. 11th

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:   November 27th 

              

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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In For A Ride

Well, we had better settle in for an exciting ride, in these last three months of 2014!!  All indications point to a stellar wind up in regards to the music world—hitting upon all styles, and not just Rock.

Traditionally, October is the month that most releases are made available, hence the term “Roctober”, but in the past five or so years, this has shifted to include November as well.  This year we will see a significant rise in releases-spread over October, November, and December…along with numerous press releases about major acts touring Internationally, and well in to 2015!

Here are just some of the many announcements---and notice that these are not just single CD releases, but packages containing DVD’s and bonus items.  The industry is responding to a decline in physical elements being purchased by enhancing the releases—and well they should…we pay more than enough at the going rates, now we can look forward to some very tasty product coming down the pipe!

Just in time for the Holiday Season, we have Heart releasing this fabulous package!  “Heart & Friends-Home For The Holidays”.  Last year in December, “Heart” returned to Seattle after a very successful tour and put on a Holiday flavoured concert performance with some of their musical friends!  Not only do we hear some grand performances from their catalogue, but some very heartfelt performances of Seasonal Music that should bring joy to all of our hearts!  Available in the first part of November, this is a deluxe package containing CD and DVD of this special concert appearance.

 

     

David Coverdale is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of his and Whitesnake’s first ever platinum album!!  “Slide It In” was the first of many platinum records for this powerhouse Rock-Blues band.  Again a deluxe package with CD and DVD, with the concert footage taken from the “Back To The Bone” shows of 1984.  This release is extra-special as some of the musicians performing are no longer with us, and we can see some of their last performances.  “Live In ’84-Back To The Bone” is essentially a memorial to the likes of Cozy Powell, Jon Lord and Mel Galley!  Again, this special Whitesnake release will be on shelves in early November!

 

Now, this release is actually the debut of this brand new super group made up of some of Rock’s most accomplished players!  “Rated X” is none other than Joe Lynn Turner, (Rainbow, Deep Purple), Tony Franklin, (Blue Murder, The Firm, Whitesnake), Karl Cochrane, (Ace Frehley), and the legendary drum-master Carmine Appice who started out with Vanilla Fudge and played with almost every heavy weight out there!  “Rated X” is a hard hitting soulful powerhouse of Hard Rock.  These guys are serious, as this is not just another recording project—collectively they mean to pursue the band route—touring, and recording, and this self-titled debut is just the beginning!

 

Of course there are many more exciting musical irons in the fire!  In future columns, we will be exploring some of those as well…and as I mentioned at the top, we as music lovers, can expect an exciting wrap-up to 2014 starting right now!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Hank Stallion:  Oct. 2nd   Moni Funk:  Oct. 3rd  & 4th    Zamboni Brothers: Oct 9th             The Goods Oct. 10th & 11th   Hank Stallion:  Oct. 16th   JW Jones:  Oct. 17th   Poppa Dawg:  Oct. 18th    Zamboni Brothers:  Oct. 23rd & 24th & 25th

Doc Willoughby’s:  Jonas & The Massive Attraction:  Oct. 3rd

Neighbours Pub:   Julie Masi:  Oct. 4th   Déjà vu:  Oct. 11th   My Kind Of Karma:  Oct. 18th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Hank Stallion:  Oct. 3rd & 4th   Radio Lifeline:   Oct. 10th & 11th   Colt 45:  Oct. 17th & 18th    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Oct. 24th & 25th

Notable Concerts:    

Prospera  Place:    Brad Paisley:  Oct. 4th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:   Oct. 11th

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:   November 27th 

              

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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Read more Under the Lights articles




About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.









The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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