Showing posts from March, 2020

A Conversation with Metal Church Guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof

When thrash metal got its start in the early '80s, it was mainly West Coast bands leading the way.  One of the pioneers of the genre was Washington state's own Metal Church.  Over the last four decades, they have withstood lineup changes and breakups while consistently putting out great music.  With vocalist Mike Howe once again at the mic Metal Church is about to unleash From The Vault , a compilation of tracks written over the last few years and newly recorded for this release.  I spent some time with founding guitarist and songwriter Kurdt Vanderhoof to talk not only about the new record but also the history of the band, his love of prog and everything in between. Please press the PLAY icon below to hear the MisplacedStraws conversation with Kurdt Vanderhoof: On putting together From The Vault : When you start putting together records you're writing albums, you get songs that don't get finished, songs that you forget about, songs that maybe didn't fit at

Musicians and the CoronaVirus, A Case Study with Jeff Scott Soto

You don’t need me to tell you that we’re living in unprecedented times.  Due to the coronavirus, most of us are quarantined at home.  Some of us, like myself, are lucky enough to have a day job that continues to pay our salary while we work from home.  However, many people are unable to work and are losing that paycheck.  With venues closed and touring canceled, musicians fall squarely in that latter group.  I spent some time on the phone recently with Sons of Apollo vocalist Jeff Scott Soto talking about how this global crisis is affecting musicians of all levels as well as the essay he posted on his social media.  As you may remember, Sons of Apollo were among the first bands to cancel tour dates due to the virus.  While this story is specific to them, it illustrates what nearly every other band that was out on the road went through. Jeff was quick to point out that he and his family are all healthy and taking the threat very seriously.  A lot goes into the decision to ultimatel

Steve Hackett, Academy of Music, Northampton, MA 3/12/20

If you've decoded the name of this website then you can guess that the prog-rock genre is near and dear to my heart.  Last spring, as Steve Hackett was about to release his latest solo record, At The Edge of Light , and begin his latest Genesis Revisited tour celebrating Selling England By The Pound , I had the pleasure of talking with him about his brilliant career.  Now, this tour is approaching its end and I jumped at the opportunity to hear the classic songs from this record brought to life on stage. Genesis music of the 1970s is largely ignored by those who created it.  Former vocalist Peter Gabriel has, for the most part, stayed away from all of the material since he began his solo career while the three-member line-up of Genesis have played only a few songs during their tours (one can only wait and see what the latest reunion brings).  The lone exception is guitarist Steve Hackett.  Hackett has always included songs from his tenure with the band (1971-1977) in

A Conversation with The Verve Pipe Singer Brian Vander Ark

Some bands are content to live in the past.  They survive by the formula of touring each summer, playing a 30 minute, hits-filled set with a bunch of similar bands.  The Verve Pipe has never been one of those bands.  They were alt radio mainstays in the late 1990's and early 2000's with hits like "The Freshmen", "Photograph", and "Colorful" from the soundtrack to Rock Star .  After a brief hiatus, front man Brian Vander Ark came back with a new lineup, strong new music and hit the road playing songs from throughout the band's career. As The Verve Pipe  gear up for a spring US tour and the release of a new record, Brian took some time to talk about all of that and more. Please press the PLAY icon below for the Conversation with Brian Vander Ark: On touring the East Coast - (The East Coast) is definitely a sweet spot outside of our own home area, the Midwest.  The East Coast has always been really good for us. And I t

A Conversation with Neal Morse Band Guitarist Eric Gillette

Neal Morse is a leader in the modern progressive rock movement.  Together with his band, featuring Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette. they have released two unquestionable classics, 2016's The Similitude of a Dream and 2018's The Great Adventure .  As the band is about to release a live record called The Great Adventour - Live in Brno 2019 guitarist Eric Gillette took some time to talk about what it takes to bring such a production on the road, the live record itself, and so much more. Please press PLAY below to hear the Conversation with Eric Gillette: On transferring the studio creation to the stage: I'd say we're kind of old school in the sense that we don't use any track or click track or backing tracks or anything of that nature. So everything you hear is literally coming from all of us onstage. Basically Bill (Hubauer) and Neal (Morse) I would say have the hardest time doing that. As a guitar player there