NEON ALLEY AT #49 on the FMQB TOP 200 AC Radio Chart!
Neon Alley is forging ahead on the FMQB TOP 200 AC Radio Chart, moving to 49 from last weeks 53. We are in good company! We need to thank a lot of people who have been there for us and helped us stay in momentum the past couple years while making the CD and in support of the band.
Thank you William James of Glass Onyon Promotions, to Kate and Laura of Jerome Promotions, both our Engineer/co-producer Brian Charles, of Zippah Studios, Adam Ayan of Gateway Mastering, Director Vladimir Minuty, for our 2 way cool music videos- That's How It Is, and Only Want To Be With You. Also to all the supportive cast and crew who did a bang up job!
Thank you to our family (especially our wonderfully supportive wives) and friends and fans, who give us constant energy to keep groov'n ahead.
Music Videos: That's How It Is
Music Video: I Only Want To Be With You
NEON ALLEY - S/T
DMV Music - 2016
Dave Vaccaro’s new Trio who play some real sweet melodic rock on this CD. I remember him from the V Project a few moons ago.
Cooking cover of ‘Jailhouse Rock’ on here that has a different spin on the musical arrangement and works beautifully with other lovely originals like ‘All I Want’; ‘Let Your Lovin’ Come Down’ that is rather Stonesy on the rhythm riff; the slipper stomping ‘Piece Of The Pie’ and throbbing gutsy closer ‘Til I’m Done’.
Cracking debut – get your asses on a support tour in the UK!
9 out of 10
Review by Glenn Milligan for metalliville.co.uk
Neon Alley is forging ahead on the FMQB AC Chart, moving to 49 from last weeks 53. We are in good company! We need to thank a lot of people who have been there for us and helped us stay in momentum the past couple years while making the CD and in support of the band.
Thank you to Jerome Promotions, both Kate and Laura, our Engineer/co-producer Brian Charles, of Zippah Studios, Adam Ayan of Gateway Mastering, Vladimir Minuty, Director of our 2 Music Videos for That's How It Is and Only Want To Be With You and all the supportive cast and crew who did a bang up job! Thank you to our family (especially our wonderfully supportive wives) and friends and fans, who give us constant energy to keep groov'n ahead.
Music Videos: That's How It Is
“ ...without further ado, I am proud to introduce to you Neon Alley. NOT “just another band out of Boston”, but a very tight and talented, power trio from Boston, Massachusetts, laying down some most excellent, in your grill, guitar driven classic rock n’ roll and delivering the goods in spades.”
BAND: NEON ALLEY
CD: NEON ALLEY
Released on October 28, 2016 (DMV Music)
Well kiddos, in the true fashion of what I do best, I bring you yet another NEW and virtually unknown band to salivate for. There are droves of new bands and new music keeping the legacy alive older bands have created (and have been well acclaimed for already) and I for one will continue to appreciate and throw accolades at these new bands for not only paying homage to, but for keeping that rock n’ roll flame alive and burning brightly.
That said and without further ado, I am proud to introduce to you Neon Alley. NOT “just another band out of Boston”, but a very tight and talented, power trio from Boston, Massachusetts, laying down some most excellent, in your grill, guitar driven classic rock n’ roll and delivering the goods in spades. The band, led by guitarist extraordinaire and tasty vocalist David Vaccaro, is supported proficiently by the bottom end backbone of bassist Mike McDonald and human metronome drummer Scott Marion. They have brought for our listening pleasure eight songs of solid classic fueled rock n’ roll. Any of the seven original songs and one cover could and should be on your local radio station right alongside bands like Bachman Turner Overdrive, Mountain, Dire Straights, Huey Lewis & Th News, Boston, Bad Company and even The Outfield. The Neon Alley songs are on par, if not superior to the hits from these aforementioned bands and like the hits from these bands, the sound blasting forth from Neon Alley is timeless and modern without losing the classic sensibilities that makes their tunes — well classic.
“All I Want” is a standout track and is my personal favorite, that hearkens back to Allied Forces era Triumph, with an infectious lead riff, massive chorus and a solo that tastefully shreds over a rhythm section that is fill filled and doesn’t overshadow what a great song this is. “That’s How It Is” has a Dire Straights “Money For Nothing” vibe, while the band’s cover of the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller penned classic “Jailhouse Rock” is kicked in the rear and presented all rocked out and is unrecognizable as the Elvis Presley hit from 1957. Next is a Hooters meets Badfinger number entitled “I Only Want To Be With You” complete with mandolins and a whistled break. “Let Your Lovin’ Come Down” is a tastefully mashed up ELO meets The Cars meets Toto rocker that you can’t help but sing along with and repeat a couple hundred times. “Piece Of The Pie” is another rocker with big guitars, drums and huge chorus that will have everyone windmilling and singing along. “Got To Rock”, as the title implies is an arena rocker paying homage to everyone’s favorite musical rock n’ roll preference and is laid down in the vibe of classic Budokan era Cheap Trick in a tag team death match paired up with George Thorogood. Rounding out this long play is “‘Til I’m Done” — another rock number with Vaccaro‘s soon to be signature vocals and guitar swagger all over it and that rounds out a very solid freshman release.
If, like me music makes you happy, than the guitar driven, hook laden, modern classic rock sounds that Neon Alley are proficient at and should be well known for will put a joker-esque grin on your skull and fill a nice slot in your musical collection. Here is to hearing more from Neon Alley and wishing this talented trio much praise and success in the future.
01. That’s How It Is
02. All I Want
03. Jailhouse Rock
04. I Only Want To Be With You
05. Let Your Lovin Come Down
06. Piece Of The Pie
07. Got To Rock
08. ‘Til I’m Done
David Vaccaro – guitar, vocals, keyboards
Mike McDonald – bass, vocals
Scott Marion – drums, vocals
Produced by David Vaccaro
Co-produced by Brian Charles
Band Websites: NeonAlleyBand.com and DMVmusic.com
Label Website DMVmusic.com
Reviewed by Terry Martinson for Sleaze Roxx, December 2016
“...I have to admit that from the very first time this CD hit my player I've been singing along, playing air guitar and hammering out the grooves to every song. ”
Having in the past worked with respected vocalists such as Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group) and James Christian (House Of Lords), guitarist David Vaccaro steps up to the mic (and plays keyboards) with his new power trio, Neon Alley, rounded out by bassist Mike McDonald and drummer Scott Marion. This self titled effort is their debut and a whole lot of fun it is too. The band themselves describe their approach as modern classic rock, and they're not too far from the mark, although I'd suggest upbeat, good time blues rock covers it equally well.
Unlike so many albums, Neon Alley hits the ground running, the thunderous riff and driving drums of "That's How It Is" providing the album's best sing along chorus as McDonald and Marion grind the groove for all its worth – it's a stunner! "All I Want" adds a more commercial edge, the AOR side of Sammy Hagar (although with less keyboards) a strong comparison, before a reworking of the Elvis standard "Jailhouse Rock" takes the bones of the much loved track, blueses it up considerably and then spins it around with a gleeful glint in its eye. In truth, it's simple stuff, but boy is it effective, the uptempo rock infused with some scintillating guitar solos and a bottom end that keeps everything powering along nicely.
If there's a worry then it might just be that Neon Alley have possibly shot their bolt too early. The danger of their lights suddenly fizzling out however is allayed as the clever electric/acoustic "I Only Want To Be With You" and its accordion refrain changes tack completely. It's a wonderful shift back down through the gears, adding a classy Beatles like shimmer in its melody and mood. A blues shuffle easily catches the ear on the memorable "Let Your Lovin' Come Down", while "Piece Of The Pie" brings a 70s like push and shove to proceedings, a rumble of Status Quo meets Creedence Clearwater Revival the outcome. The neat one-two of "Got To Rock" and "'Til I'm Done" bringing an album that's short enough to immediately leave you wanting more, to an end.
Neon Alley are as far from cutting edge as it's possible to be, an unkind ear possibly suggesting that on occasion things can almost become a little obvious. However I have to admit that from the very first time this CD hit my player I've been singing along, playing air guitar and hammering out the grooves to every song. Ground breaking they may not be, but Neon Alley are something much more exciting than that… they're damn good fun!
-(Steve Reid, Sea Of Tranquility.org)
Boston trio light their fire to color the night and rock it away.
To know how to gracefully digress from your own template is an art, and this Massachusetts band mastered it nicely. But then, David Vaccaro has spent enough time in Tinseltown, where the singing guitarist worked with a few famous pairs of pipes, to want to strip the glamor and back down to where he once belonged. Such a natural approach may explain the sense of freedom oozing out of his new group’s riffs-to-the-fore take on “Jailhouse Rock” or the perky demand of “Piece Of The Pie” which reveals the trio’s appetite for a catchy chorus, yet there’s more strings to their glow than a simple hard ‘n’ heavy punch.
Although simplicity is set within opener “That’s How It Is” – a buzzing slab of bluesy swagger – and mandolins drive “I Only Want To Be With You” home, the rock ‘n’ roll licks in the heart “‘Til I’m Done” and “All I Want” spice up the pieces’ AOR slant. And if the slider-kissed glam of “Let Your Lovin’ Come Down” can’t shine bright enough for nocturnal creatures to crawl out and have a stomping party, propelled by Mike McDonald’s bass and Scott Marion’s drums, the frenetic “Got To Rock” can. It’s a flickering light, though, the album’s being brief and to the point, and that’s exactly what is needed for an urban kind of excitement.
-(Let It Rock Website)
"A REALLY FUN ROCK POP ALBUM. This is a drive in the car with your radio blaring album. Songs with great melodies, good lyrics & good vocals. There are great hooks that catch you from the very first song. It doesn’t stop there either. It continues with the rest of the album. The slowest song on the album, which, is not slow, would be track 5, “Let Your Love Come Down”. the album finishes off on an up note, just like the opening track. Bands that you may compare them to would be BON JOVI, ALICE COOPER (Early), BEATLES, or maybe even ZZ TOP. Neon Alley is a great, fun album & highly recommended. 5 out of 5 Music Guru stars on the Music Guru charts."
"...David carries a talent for carrying a tune, and there are plenty of those reverberating in hummable hard rock fashion. Highlights are carved out in the form of “That’s How It Is”, a catchy rock anthem and the dreamy echoes of “I Only Want to Be With You”. The cover of “Jailhouse Rock” is another favorite; a refreshing reworking of the classic..."
-(Daniel Pavlica, www.therocktologist.com)
"This album chock full of guitar-driven modern classic rockers kicks off in fine style with the thunderous 'That's How It Is', and backs it up with the more melodic 'All I Want', before that aforementioned cover, a rather unexpectedly ballsy 'Jailhouse Rock'. Wow, what a brilliant rendition these boys bring to the fore here, which they follow up with the drum-led 'I Only Want To Be With You'.
-(Anne Carlini, CD Reviews, Anncarlini.com)
" Neon Alley, It is loud, it is brash, it is exactly what Classic Rock should be."
- (Simon Barrett's, Blog Talk Radio)
"NEON ALLEY: A solid dose of arena rock in search of an arena, this power trio delivers the kind of classic headbang that will speak for the generation throughout the generations. For teens that go to music festivals where it’s about rocking out instead of seeing and being seen, it’s like the 80s and 90s never left. Hot stuff that raging hormones will totally understand."
INTERVIEW: Metronome Magazine - Interview by Brian Owens
METRONOME: When did you form your latest band, Neon Alley?
Dave Vaccaro: Neon Alley was formed about four years ago. I had come back from Los Angeles and basically given up playing out live. I wanted to be around when my kids were small. The first thing I did after I stopped playing was the Lost Demos CD out in Los Angeles.
METRONOME: What year was that?
When I did the original recording with Robin [McAuley] out in Los Angeles it must have been 1997. Robin was going to use them for a solo project he was going to do. He was no longer in the McAuley Schenker Group. He was looking for songs from people he knew. I heard that and said, Okay.... My buddy Chris Post and I had been working on a number of songs and I just took Chris’ voice off and submitted them to Robin. He ended up picking six of them. Robin ended up going out to Germany with producer Frank Far of Far Corporation. For whatever reason it ended up not happening though. I asked Robin, If you’re not doing anything with the songs, can I use them for a release? He said, “Yeah, go ahead.” So I did. We had to re-record one of the tracks and by plain dumb luck I ended up having James Christian from House of Lords on the CD to come down to the studio to sing. We just fed him the lines. He listened to the recording and just did his thing, which was pretty impressive.
METRONOME: Was Neon Alley formed so that you could start playing out live again?
After I did The Lost Demos, I still wasn’t playing live. My kids were still small. So I did New Machine. I had Robin on that for four tracks. That’s the first CD that I actually started singing myself.
METRONOME: What year was that?
That was around 2008. A few years after that, my boys were old enough so I said, Alright, I’m going to start doing a live band. I just wanted to get out playing again. The first guy I called was Mike [McDonald] from The V-Project to see if he wanted to do it. Mike is a Berklee alumni. He had sold all his equipment and didn’t know if he wanted to do it though. I said, Okay, just thought I’d ask. A couple of weeks later, he called me and said, “I’m going to be in the area. Can I swing by your house for a second?” I said, Okay. Next thing you know he shows up at the door with a bass and an acoustic guitar. He says, “Guess what? I changed my mind. I’m going to do it.”
METRONOME: That’s cool.
Yeah, it was very cool.
METRONOME: I didn’t know Mike was in the V-Project with you?
Yeah. In fact Mike gave the band the name. We started putting the V-Project together after Capital Gain broke up. I got Derek Blevins on drums, from the Jon Butcher Axis, my buddy Chris Post, who was the singer, and Mike on bass guitar. We started rehearsing and put together a four song demo tape. We were trying to figure out a name and Mike said, “Why don’t we call it the V-Project because it’s your thing.”
We did a demo tape, but never played out. We actually got an offer to do a showcase for Epic Records. My buddy Chris, who was living out in L.A. said, “Boston is not really a music mecca in terms of the music industry, especially for the type of music you’re doing.” He said, “You really need to come out here or go to New York. I would say Los Angeles is the place that’s doing more of what you’re doing.” I said, I always liked California, so here we go.
METRONOME: How long did you stay out there?
METRONOME: Did your wife go with you?
Yes. We both worked for Digital Equipment at the time and she was able to transfer within the company. I just left and took a leave of absence and lucked out because there was a position out there at Digital for me. I did that as my day gig and played at night. That’s when I put together a band called Siberia. The singer was from a band called Avtograph, the Russian version not the American version. They were the Eastern Bloc contribution to the Live Aid concert in the mid 80's and were a pretty big deal in Russia.
I was holding auditions for a singer and this guy Arthur comes in and it’s obvious he’s got a heavy accent like he’s from Russia or an Eastern Bloc country. We asked, Can you make up some lyrics? We’re playing original tunes. He said, “Yeah, yeah, I could do that.” It was funny... we started playing this original song and he started making up a melody and lyrics to it, but he’s not really saying anything. Every now and then he would say words that you could catch like, “You baby” or “I’m gonna rock.” We finished the song and said, That was pretty good Arthur. Do you want to try another one? We went on for forty five minutes and he sounded great! We said, Okay, that’s cool, do you want to work with us? He said, “Yeah, sure.” That was it. Because of his accent and high voice, we sounded a lot like The Scorpions, which he hated. He would say, “I’m not The Scorpions.” So we played up his Soviet accent and called the band Siberia. I have to say, Arthur is a natural performer. It’s in his blood. His parents were in the circus. He’s still playing in Russia today.
METRONOME: Does Neon Alley have a new album out?
Yes. It came out last month. It’s self-titled. The thing that’s cool about this CD for me is that it’s an actual band. This is a live band that plays these songs.
METRONOME: Who wrote the songs? Was it collaborative?
It’s pretty much me, however, Mike wrote a song called “Piece of The Pie” that he sings. I helped out with the arranging, but it’s mostly Mike’s tune. He came up with it. Then we have a cover of an Elvis song. The rest are mine.
METRONOME: How long did it take to write the songs for the album?
With the exception of one song that we revamped called, “All I Want,” most of the songs are new.
METRONOME: How long did it take to record the album?
It’s taken probably two and half years because, as a live band, we do both covers and throw in originals. You have to judge the venue because some people only want to hear covers. We use the money from the cover gigs to feed the original thing.
METRONOME: How many songs are on the album?
Eight. The reason I went with eight is because I looked at a lot of the albums that I love like Led Zeppelin I, II, & III, Van Halen, Bad Company, Joe Walsh and Cheap Trick, all those albums- there’s only eight or nine songs on those records. I wanted to make a statement that was short and sweet and that rocked like the classic albums. You can listen to it on the way to work and by the time you get there, it’s just about done.
METRONOME: Where did you record the album?
We did it at a studio called Zippah with Brian Charles. He’s in a band called The Sheila Divine. Brian is an excellent engineer and producer. When you listen to Brian’s records, the production on them sounds great. That's why I decided to go to that studio.We booked an eight hour session and belted out all the basic tracks in one day but kept mostly just the drums from that session.
METRONOME: Who played on it?
We had Scott Marion who was the drummer at the time. He was from Detroit originally. He called himself “Motor City” Scott Marion. He stayed in the band for about a year and a half, learned all the originals and then we went in to the studio.
METRONOME: What year was that?
2013. We went in and did all the basics in one shot. We basically wanted to get the drums down. Then over the next few years we would go in and lay down the vocals and guitar tracks.
METRONOME: Are you having a CD release party for the new album?
We’re thinking about doing a CD release season, not just one show. It’s a catch 22 because playing in Boston is the exact opposite of playing out in the suburbs. Out here they want to hear mostly covers and a few originals, but in Boston, it’s the other way around. They want to hear mostly originals and maybe one or two covers that you do your own way. The trade off is in Boston you are taken seriously as a real band for your music, but you don’t get paid much. When you play out here and do cover stuff, you’re not taken seriously as an artist. You’re more of a jukebox, but you get paid good. I’ve done both. I heard an interview with Tom Petty once and they asked him, “What would you have done if you hadn’t made it big?” He said, “Well, I’d probably still be playing in some little bar some place doing my own music and covers because that’s just what I do.” That's what musicians are like. Some people find that hard to understand but it's not always just about the money. There is something about just having to play music in a live setting.
We want to play some Boston shows, but we’re not going to focus on that exclusively. If we have to play on a Thursday night at whatever time, we’ll do it but it's not going to be our only objective, to play Boston.
METRONOME: Are you going to shoot some videos for any of your original songs?
Yeah. We did two videos. I was just watching one of them before you called. We did a video for the song “That’s How It Is,” which has a bit of a Sci-Fi vibe to it with this girl and a virtual reality headset that she puts on. She becomes different people in the virtual reality world. It goes along with the theme of the song. A few people who’ve heard “That’s How It Is” have asked me what the song is about. It’s really not so much that it’s about anything as much as I tried to reflect the types of people you meet and things you might encounter or hear about everyday. All types of people, loud/quite, simple/ adventurous, good and bad. And it’s not a matter of whether they’re right or wrong, or what have you, they just are. How you interact with each will be different. It’s really a commentary on the state of things today as far as things we hear about or see on the news. Sometimes I just have to shake my head as it seems that as much as we like to think we are becoming so advanced, some of the things you hear of people believing in or arguing over, I wonder if the Dark Ages are really as far behind us as we might like to think. In a very simple way, we wanted to reflect (mostly the different types of people) in the video using a Sci-fi vibe. Through the use of a virtual reality headset the woman experiences what it’s like to be different people. The virtual reality headset allows her to keep moving through the different avatars until she finally lands on one that she really likes. We didn’t get too heavy with it so it’s more Rock Video than band statement.
The second video is for our ballad. It has a totally different vibe. The “I Only Want To Be With You” video and song is simply a love story. I don’t want to give away too much. I want to let people go on to YouTube and see it for themselves. We had a lot of fun doing both music videos though.
METRONOME: Did you hire someone to shoot the videos?
Yes. We hired a production company to shoot it. The director who did them is named Vladimir Minuty. We found him online and looked at his stuff and liked his work. He and his crew did a fantastic job.
METRONOME: Did you bring in any special musical guests for the album?
Fortunately for me, my oldest boy Sean plays trumpet. He did some accent horn parts at the end of the song, “Let Your Lovin Come Down.” My younger son Kyle plays saxophone and I had him play some sax lines too. I recorded them both here at home and brought the tracks in to Brian at Zippah and he added them to the mix.
METRONOME: Did you add vocal harmonies to the songs?
Yes, but it’s not overdone. We made it so we can pretty much do all of it live.
METRONOME: Who mastered the album?
The Mastering session for the CD was done up at Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine. The mastering engineer was Adam Ayan. Adam was great to work with and a real nice guy. It was amazing to see all the artists he has mastered like Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Kieth Urban (and tons of others) as well as talking with him about the music business and how he’s seen recordings change over the years. It was also cool meeting and having lunch with Bob Ludwig and his wife Gail, Adam, and some of the Gateway staff.
While were talking during the lunch break, I couldn’t help but think, this is the man who has either personally mastered, or his company has mastered, half of the records in my record collection. Bob Ludwig has quietly become a bit of a “Rock Star” in his on right among the artists who’s records he worked on. I could have just sent my files over the internet and got the mastered version back as a download, but I didn’t want to do that. I preferred to do it the way they used to, so a visit was in order. For me it was like visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The walls were covered with Platinum and Gold records awarded to Bob and his crew for their work. It was a virtual who’s who of rock history and very cool.
METRONOME: What are you hoping for with this album?
I hope people really get in to it and give it a spin. I think they’re going to really enjoy it. If you like what we call, modern classic rock, we think people
are going to love it.
Neon Alley is set to release their debut album. An interview with guitarist/vocalist David Vaccaro. "Sometimes you just need to turn it up and rock out".
New England based "Neon Alley" is set to release a debut self titled album and it's sure to light up the airwaves. Guitarist David Vaccaro explains how the songs came together " They are written and recorded in such a way that they were not over produced, and that's why they sound more raw and alive". The band was influenced by the classic rock era and they are carrying the torch with a refreshing new approach, yet still keeping the classic feel. Neon Alley has been packing clubs and halls in the New England and felt the time was right to make a product they can be proud of. The 8 song CD is full of energy with some surprises that will make you want to listen to it over and over. I recently asked David Vaccaro about the history of the band.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your new debut CD release "Neon Alley". It's a refreshing modern look back to the Classic Rock Era. Was this collection of songs born from your love of the genre?
D.V. - Thank you Rob for calling it refreshing and modern. Especially modern. Like so many other people I do love that era of music, but I don't wanted to sound dated. I try to bring in what modern influences I can, either through production or guitar tones, but I try to do it in a way that I feel is real to me.
Because I grew up basically learning to play guitar and songwrite from those "Classic Rock" era bands, so it would be only natural that I just write that way. My record collection is made up of albums from Tom Petty, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Boston, Aerosmith, Heart, The Who, ELO, Supertramp, AC/DC, Steve Miller Band. They're all pretty much imprinted in my head. (lol)
On the other hand I also have CDs from Green Day, Foo Fighters, Maroon 5, Mumford & Sons, and my two sons are always firing new bands and songs at me to listen to as well. It's always good to stay in the loop.
R.V.B. - The songs seem to have that raucous Massachusetts bar room flair with a poppy boost. Did the feel of the songs come the bar scene and gravitate to the recording studio?
D.V. - No not really. They aren't really written from that, but they are written and recorded in such a way that they were not over produced, and that's why they sound more raw and alive. That's one thing I was very aware of when we recorded these. Some of the records that come out these days just seem so over produced and perfectly perfect that they just sound sterilized. After a few listens, there's nothing new to hear.
R.V.B. - What were some of your early influences when you were learning how to rock in the early days?
D.V. - My two biggest influences were Jimmy Page and Joe Perry. Also, Keith Richards, and Pete Townsend. I think one of my early bands could play almost the entire Get Yer Ya, Ya's Out album. (lol)
But before those guys I started learning to play listening to the Ventures. My brother had a guitar, a Silvertone, and a little amplifier, and I just picked it up and starting picking out notes and trying to play the songs. Songs like, "Ghost Riders in the Sky", "Pipeline" and "Walk Don't Run".
R.V.B. - On track 4 "I only want to be with you" and track 5 "Let your Lovin Come Down" I hear a nicely written and produced songs that are reminiscent of the something that George Martin would have produced. Did you have this in mind when adding the accordion and slide work?
D.V. - Thank you, that just made my day!! I didn't have that in mind specifically but I believe that during that time-frame I had been given a remaster or deluxe edition or something of the "Band On The Run" CD for Christmas. I had been listening to that. It must have rubbed off on me, lol! That was for Only Want To Be With You.
Let Your Loving Come Down came to me as a chorus while I was driving. I heard the line in my head and when I got home I turned on the recorder and just did a scratch vocal so I wouldn't forget it. I've got a bunch of those on my phone machine I need to backup now that I'm thinking about it.
R.V.B. - What kind of gear does the band use for live performances? Did you use the same stuff in the recording studio?
D.V. - We're pretty basic. I use a Marshall JVM210 with a 4x12 slant cab. I run an Eventide effects unit that goes through the effects loop for some chorus and delay when I want it, and I also use a Dulop wha-wha pedal. All done. Although it was not my personal amp being used on the recording, the studio we recorded at (Zippah, in Boston) had the exact same model head and cab as mine, so it's the same.
For guitars I used a few Strats for all the recording. My newer one (2012?) has a humbucker that my guitar tech had just put in (I don't know what kind of pickup it is other than it's a DiMmarzio) and the other guitar was a 72 Strat that was my first real guitar. It's a single coil and it's all original except for the center pickup which died sometime in the 90's and had to be replaced.
My Bass player (Mike McDonald) uses an Acoustic 600 watt head and, depending where we're playing, may use either a V4-B cab with 6, 10 inch speakers, or he may use this little Fender speaker with a 15". It's a new model and he just got it a few months ago and I have to say, it sounds awesome. The speaker is good for 1000 watts and it's really small and compact but it's pretty amazing how it sounds and what it will handle.
The drummer that plays on the CD is Scott Marion and he was using a Gretsch 57 set. They sound great and they have this 57 Chevy vibe about them so they look pretty cool too. Of course having them look cool in rock in roll is always better. (lol)
Scotty is no longer working with us since recording the CD. Our current drummer is Mike Bangrazi and I believe he uses a set of Slingerlands.
R.V.B. - You had an interesting take on "Jailhouse Rock" with alt chorus formats. I enjoyed the refreshing new look on it. Was this just a classic that you guys like to perform?
D.V. - Jailhouse seems to be a favorite off the CD. It's funny how it came about. I came up with the guitar chord riff in my head (again while driving) and I started working it into a song. It was going to be an original song, not a cover. For whatever reason I started using the lyrics and melody for Jailhouse Rock as a placeholder. Okay, verse here, pre-chorus here, etc. I arranged the whole "new" song like that. Then, when I had the arrangement down and it was time to write new words and melody, I started thinking; Should I write new words? Do I want to go through all that? I mean, I'd already written the song and it was working with the Jailhouse lyrics, and it sounded pretty cool too, why not just do the cover. So that's it. Taking the path of least resistance. I did a demo on my home studio and then brought it to the band.
R.V.B. - What were some of your favorite live performances up to this point?
D.V. - There's been a few that have been pretty cool. The night before Thanksgiving is always great. The clubs always get packed and people are ready to have a good time. Another fun gig was at a place called Michael's Cigar Bar. We play there often and one time we opened up for an L.A. band called Mycah. It was a small gig but the Mycah band was very cool and fun to hang out with.
R.V.B. - Can you give me a brief bio on the band members and what they bring to the power trio?
D.V. - Mike McDonald, the Bass Player is a Berklee Alumni and played in bands in High School just like I did. I first met Mike when he answered an ad I had out for a Bass player in a band that ended up being called Capital Gain.
Scott Marion is from Detroit and played in bands there before moving to Massachusetts. He was in the band for a couple years and recorded the tracks with us however he moved too far away and it made it difficult for him to get to practice and to gigs. We replaced Scott with Mike Bangrazi, a drummer out of Central Massachusetts. Mike teaches drums and has a steady stream of students. As you probably know well, it is very hard to find musician's who are not only into the same music, but play how you'd like them to play and have the chemistry for the band. It's more than just technical ability that makes for the right person.
R.V.B. - Track 7 seems to have that audience participation, just let loose and get out and rock feel. Everyone has to feel this way at one time or another... right?
D.V. - You got that right. It's like Boston's track Smokin from their 1st album. Sometimes you just need to turn it up and rock out. It was also a good excuse to play my best Jimmy Page riffs...as best I can.
R.V.B. - What are your plans on supporting the album?
D.V. - We are trying to get as much exposure as we can here in the U.S. and abroad. Joining forces with Glass Onyon PR has been a tremendous help.
We have also teamed up with director Vladimir Minuty and have completed two videos. One is for the opening track That's How It Is, which has a bit of a sci-fi virtual reality thing going on. And the other is for the semi-ballad I Only Want To Be With You. That one is a light-hearted love story in today's cell phone world.
The goal for the CD is to get it out there in front of as many people as possible and turn them into Neon Alley fans. I've got more tracks just waiting in the wings for another CD and the more fans we can get to support the band through CD downloads and purchases the sooner I can get a new CD out to everybody.
R.V.B. - Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.
Thank you very much for the interview and for compliments on the songs. It's great to be at this point that other people are hearing the CD, rather than just me, the band and my family at home.