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A Revolution Of Saints: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist DOUG ALDRICH Of REVOLUTION SAINTS

By Duane Vickers, Houston Contributor
Saturday, February 28, 2015 @ 8:57 AM


"Itís great to be able to play guitar every day and then come home and sleep in the same house with my boy and wake up and do breakfast and all that stuff."

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As a fan it is on rare occasion that you get to converse with a bona fid ďGuitar GodĒ but labeling Doug Aldrich as anything less is left for those who have never had the privilege of hearing Doug shred or seen him steal the spotlight from even some of the most iconic front men in Rock history. In 2002, when David Coverdale reformed whitesnake, he followed his standard format of surrounding himself with amazing guitarists by luring Aldrich away from dio. While giving fans a true chord for chord performance of the whitesnake classics, Aldrich left his own mark on the band, co-writing and recording the albums Good To Be Bad and Forevermore with Coverdale as well as recording numerous live albums and DVDs. Aldrich has stayed busy with his own band BURNING RAIN and by most recently playing in the Las Vegas rock show Raiding The Rock Vault. With his latest project, Aldrich has joined NIGHT RANGER lead vocalist and bassist Jack Blades and JOURNEY drummer Deen Castronovo to form the ďSupergroupĒ REVOLUTION SAINTS. I caught up with Doug to get his take on the band and new album which is out on Frontiers Music srl February 24, 2015.

KNAC.COM: I tell you Doug Iíve been a fan of yours for a long time and I last saw you on the WHITESNAKE tour I think in 2013 down in Florida and man it seemed like just a few months later I hear that Doug Aldrich is leaving WHITESNAKE and I was like NOOOO! But youíve been a busy guy with your band BURNING RAIN and the Raiding The Rock Vault show in Las Vegas and now REVOLUTION SAINTS, and I guess what Iíd like to know is how did this whole thing come together and how did you get involved with it?

ALDRICH: Well originally I was contacted by the record company, they were putting together a project for Deen (Castronovo), a solo record and they asked if I wanted to be involved and I said ďabsolutelyĒ because I had met Deen over the years when WHITESNAKE and JOURNEY would tour together and then in 2013 we did a co-headline I guess it was in the UK and then we did a couple of other shows together and it was a really great tour and Deen and I just hit it off. And I love to watch him; heís such a phenomenal player and every night Iíd go out and sit and watch him throw down, him and Neal (Schon). He just brings it every day, and thatís how his personality is, heís just full on all the time and I love it. So I was flattered and I said ďyeah of course Iíd love to play on it, whatever you need me to doĒ and then I found out that Jack (Blades) was already involved. When Deen was asked who he wanted to play with, he said ďwell I definitely want to work with my friend Jack if possibleĒ and Jack signed on and then they got me in it and thatís how I got involved, it was initially his solo project, and eventually it somehow turned into a band (Laughs).

KNAC.COM: Well ya know, I did a review of the album and basically what I said is that itís one of those albums thatís gonna stay in your player forever, youíre just gonna want to wear it out because thereís so many great songs and to be honest, when I first heard that Deen was going to be singing on it I didnít know what to expect but you know what? He nails it, the cat can sing.

ALDRICH: Yeah he really does.

KNAC.COM: Is that something that everybodyís always kind of known and weíre just now finding out about it because heís got an incredible voice?

ALDRICH: He really does, I would buy the record just for the drumming alone but his voice is definitely the cherry on top. Everybody that knows him knows that he can sing, and a lot of people that have seen JOURNEY have seen where heíd sing a couple of songs during the set and I think that they were blown away when theyíd see him and hear him sing during the show and so Serafino (Frontiers Music President, Serafino Perugino) said ďwhat do you think?Ē And they all agreed that it would be a good idea. I knew he could sing JOURNEY stuff, but I didnít know what it would be like with him singing his own stuff, I just know heís a great singer and he really did, he shined man. So we knew he could sing but he did just as you say, he nailed it.

KNAC.COM: Well youíve obviously worked with some of the most iconic front men in rock in Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale and Iíd imagine that those guys have their vision or formula if you will that they stick to in the writing and recording process. So how did this album come together with you guys in the writing and recording process because youíre one of those guys that we always talk about that when you hear them play we know itís you, itís likeĒ Yep thatís Doug AldrichĒ, you definitely have your stamp on this album.

ALDRICH: Thatís cool, thatís exactly what I wanted to do. The songs were put together and primarily written by a guy named Alessandro Del Vechhio and he basically submitted these songs and we kind of went thru them and picked the ones that we thought were appropriate for it and he said to me to do exactly what you just said, put your stamp on it and make it your own and he allowed me to kind of change some spots here and there where I thought were really good starting points but some of the riffs and a couple of songs where with the arrangement Iíd ask him Ēhey, what do you think about this, I think this could potentially be improvedĒ. But thatís how the songs came together, he wrote them and we were able to put our stamp on it. I took this whole thing as a challenge because itís definitely a little more melodic and I hadnít really played on anything like this and it would be really a good opportunity for me to put my stamp on something different. And I tried to maybe heavy it up a little bit with a little bit of a blues flavor on some stuff and that was it, it turned out really good.

KNAC.COM: Well I tell you man, you guys have knocked it out of the park. Iíve been a big NIGHT RANGER fan which is a little bit of an understatement for 30 plus years now and Iíve always said thereís not a better song writer out there than Jack Blades, and it seems that every project that heís involved with is a massive success, the guy is so creative, so I have to ask how was it to work with Jack on this album?

ALDRICH: Itís great to work with him. Most of the recordings we all did in various studios because of schedules. But when we did get together and we got guitars on and we were playing thru stuff for the video and working on parts I could just see that there was a real chemistry with him and you see pictures of us together ya know, the more casual stuff, and you can tell that we were having a good time. And then when we were doing some background vocals and doing photos and videos, and all three of us have very different personalities but Jack definitely took the leadership role and it was cool because Deen and I kept screwing around, not wasting time but we were just messiní around and Jack was really good about keeping us balanced. Let me tell you, Deen is like the Tasmanian Devil, heís got that much energy. Heís like a cross between Steven Tyler and Tommy Lee (Laughs) ya know, heís somebody thatís on fire and just kickiní ass all the time. Tommy Lee, Steven Tyler...those types of people, heís like that, he should definitely be a front man. And I just want to play guitar, just tell me where to plug in, tell me what time to be there and thatís what I want to do and I love the creative process but when Iím around people, I feel most comfortable with the guitar. And so Jack as I said just kind of organized everything so heís definitely the General. And heís great because heís straight up; he knows what heís doing, like you said heís done a million projects. And one thing that sticks out about working with Jack, because I had just met Jack last year, Iím sorry the year before in 2013, is that his bass playing is so melodic and Iíve never really played on tracks like that before. Usually youíve got people that are influenced by maybe John Paul Jones or maybe even some of the older blues guys but the way Jack plays reminds me of a little more of a pop sense and he circles the chords with his bass and he really made it fun and easy for me to put guitars on this stuff.

KNAC.COM: When I first listened to the album I said well itís got kind of a JOURNEY vibe to it but thatís given no surprise because Deen's in JOURNEY and youíve got Arnel (JOURNEY lead vocalist Arnel Pineda) and Neal (Schon) playing on it as well but if you dig a little deeper into the album with songs like ďLocked Out Of ParadiseĒ and ďTo Mend A Broken HeartĒ, Iíve been playing the hell out of that one.

ALDRICH: Yeah I love that song, but I agree with you, I think ďLocked out Of ParadiseĒ is kind of one of my favorite tracks. And ďWay To The SunĒ itís really cool, and Neal Schon, heís one of the greats man and he threw down a solo on that, it was spectacular. He was gonna play on the record and then he got busy and it was difficult ya know to find out when he was gonna do it so I just put a solo on ďWay To The SunĒ myself and I did one that I really, really liked and I fell in love with it and I said thatís cool, I put a solo on it and then all of the sudden the record company called and said ďHey Nealís gonna play on the songĒ and I was like ďAhh Shit, I love that soloĒ (Laughs). So we ended up keeping mine as like a bonus track or something but you know when you have Neal itís a real honor. We were happy to have him and Arnel like you said on ďYouíre Not AloneĒ, I mean heís such a great guy and itís a perfect track for him, he can sing anything. I tell you what, the two hardest vocal jobs I think on the planet are JOURNEY, because that stuff is not easy to sing, and FOREIGNER is one too.

KNAC.COM: Oh yeah absolutely, and Kelly Hansen for FOREIGNER just kills it.

ALDRICH: Yep, he really does. And itís great to have Arnel and like you said, the record does have a little bit of a JOURNEY flair to it for a couple reasons, mainly because thatís the way the song writing was. Alessandro was trying to do something that was going to appeal to Deen and to Deenís fans of JOURNEY. And then I tried to put a little heavier stamp on it from my end and just add maybe a little more of a blusier side to it than what the original demos were like. So thatís how we went about it and hopefully we got right where we were trying to get, I think it sounds pretty cool.

KNAC.COM: Man I tell you, I think itís straight forward in your face melodic rock and itís you doing what you do best, I think you guys have done a perfect job of putting something out there that not only the JOURNEY fans are going to like but the NIGHT RANGER fans, WHITESNAKE fans and rock fans in general I think are really going to enjoy the album for a long time and Iím assuming thatís what you were aiming for and well, mission accomplished.

ALDRICH: Well thank you man, we had a good time doing it and it was a different process for me. Normally with WHITESNAKE I would write everything with David or present it to David and then weíd work on it together, and sometimes heíd present me with songs. For example, if David presented me with a song I would take it apart and live with it like it was my own song and try and rewrite whatever parts he asked me to work on or if I got an idea Iíd present it to him, but what my point is, is that you take these songs to bed with you and you take them with you everywhere you go because youíre mentally invested in them. And then you do demos and the demo has a really cool vibe and then you do the record and then you mix it and then youíre working on the sequencing of the record, but with REVOLUTION SAINTS I really didnít have to do any of that stuff, it was Alessandro who was in charge of all that. And I might say ďI think we should do thisĒ and heíd say ďyeah, thatís coolĒ, pretty much everything he said was like ďDoug thatís awesome just keep goingĒ. But the point is I didnít have to toil over the songs, I just hit them fresh and recorded them and tried some different spins on the parts and then I turned it in and it got mixed, and itís got some really fresh vibe about it, thatís one of the things I noticed. Itís really a good idea for bands to have a producer thatís not involved maybe all the time who can hear things fresh, ya know what Iím saying? With me and David, David and I would always produce the stuff and David was the executive producer but he was hearing every note too so itís hard for anyone around there to have a really fresh perspective. That said, Iím very proud of what we did together, itís just interesting that working on REVOLUTION SAINTS itís something that I think people will hear when they hear the record, that itís really not a session that you just go in and you forget about because I did try to develop certain things, you know what I mean?

KNAC.COM: Well yeah and you know, I kind of commented in my review of the album that itís amazing that you guys havenít played together before, this is the first collaboration between the three of you and itís like you guys have been a band together forever with this record, I mean itís just solid all the way through and through.

ALDRICH: Oh thanks man, I really appreciate it.

KNAC.COM: That brings me to my next question that I know youíve been getting a lot. I mean youíre three busy guys, youíve got Deen in JOURNEY and Jack in NIGHT RANGER and youíve got the Rock Vault show and BURNING RAIN, so whatís the possibility of gettingí out on the road with this stuff, I think these songs need to be heard live.

ALDRICH: I do too and I would love that, and I think thereís a good possibility when JOURNEY takes a break from touring and if NIGHT RANGER is off as well, I can make it happen. One of the main things about me leaving WHITESNAKE was that I just needed more time with my family, especially with my son, so thatís why I took the gig with Rock Vault last year and at first I only had committed to a couple months and then just like when I joined WHITESNAKE I said ďIím gonna make this my own, Iím gonna make this gig as bad ass as I canĒ and I take it as a challenge. But the cool thing about it is itís like a superstar cover band with Howard Leese and Hugh McDonald from BON JOVI playing bass, Jay Schellen from HURRICANE on drums and Robin McAuley, Andrew Freeman and a bunch of different great singers like Paul Shortino and itís really fun and itís great to be able to play guitar every day and then come home and sleep in the same house with my boy and wake up and do breakfast and all that stuff and my schedule is pretty free. I donít really want to go on the road for months and months at a time like what the other guys are doing (laughs), but I will eventually maybe and if the stars align ya know weíll see.

Weíve had some really significant offers to come tour already and so those are on the table, we just donít know schedule wise whatís going to happen but I would make it work. Weíve talked about it, we want to, we talked about it would be great to have Deen come out from behind the drums in a way like Phil Collins used to do, you know what I mean? And just get him out in front man heís so bad ass, heís a very contemporary kind of a person, I mean if I was gonna be a lead singer without a guitar Iíd be more like I was in MOTLEY CRUE or something (Laughs). But heís really bad ass. And we talked about certain songs that would be really cool but would probably be hard for him to play like he does and sing. But the other thing that would be really cool is we could also take a couple of songs that I wrote with David like for example on the Good To Be Bad record thereís a song called ďCall On MeĒ thatís just super bad ass and I would love to play that live in a trio situation where itís no frills, just simple riffs but we would do it the REVOLUTION SAINTS way, which would be a stripped down rock three piece sound. Then maybe weíd do a NIGHT RANGER song or a DAMN YANKEES song, it would be a killer show I guarantee it. Also, we didnít talk about it but I know you know better than I do that Jack is equally an awesome front man, so he could take over certain things too like for example if a song was recorded with Deen singing lead vocals, if Deen wanted to just play drums and just hammer it, Jack could sing it, the song would still translate. But weíll see what happens man, fingers crossed on that one.

KNAC.COM: Yeah because I mean between the three of you, youíve got enough material to play all night, Iím really hoping it happens. Iím kind of old school, I still like to buy albums and have them in my collection and read the liner notes and get them signed, but now with the day and age of iTunes and downloading music, everythingís on the internet and you guys have done a hell of a job of getting the word out about the album on social media, youíve put out a few songs before the album drops and youíve recorded I think what, three videos?

ALDRICH: Yeah thatís right.

KNAC.COM: Do you still think music videos are a valuable tool to sell records? You know I wish weíd go back to the old cheesy videos where they still had plots and stuff. What are your thoughts on that?

ALDRICH: I do too, think of all the hours people spent watching MTV waiting for a certain video to come on and all the videos were on and they were cool. I agree with you and I do think videos are important to get the record out there but the budgets are pretty low so you canít hire actors to do all the stuff that they normally would do on those bigger budget videos but that said, it could be done and I think that would be pretty cool and Iím sure somebody will bring back some of those kinds of fun videos, they almost had comedy in them ya know, like the TWISTED SISTER stuff or JUDAS PRIEST, I remember the ďHeaded out To The HighwayĒ video with the JUDAS PRIEST guys jamming out in the back of a convertible and it was just some cool stuff. But I think itís important that people see the band and see that theyíre playing together and thatís why the record company does that because the songs are cool when you hear them but thereís nothing like seeing it.

KNAC.COM: So how about BURNING RAIN? ďEpic ObsessionĒ was a killer album man, do you guys have any plans to do a follow up to that in the future?

ALDRICH: Thank You, yeah weíre gonna do a couple of one offs in Europe in April but yes, we do have a few songs that are pretty much together, once we get in for rehearsal for these one offs in Europe I think weíre gonna start finishing off a couple more songs, I would reckon that we will do a fourth record and that itíll be out either at the end of this year or early next year. It doesnít take a whole year or two years or four years to do a record for me, it just takes sitting down and knocking it out. This time with BURNING RAIN I think it might be nice to like I said have some fresh ears, but I agree with you, I think BURNING RAIN is a cool project for me, the band are really great guys and Keith (St. John) is a phenomenal singer and he and I have been friends a long time and I want to pursue it so weíll get it together this year.

KNAC.COM: Well I tell you Doug, Iíve seen you many times and have been a fan of yours for a long time. I pulled up the old LION ďPower LoveĒ video the other night, and it was like Friday night videos all over again.

ALDRICH: (Laughing) Oh man, thatís awesome.

KNAC.COM: Well everything youíve done or been involved in, whether it was DIO and of course WHITESNAKE, youíve always left your mark on it, youíve always been one of my favorite guitarists to watch. Thereís a lot of great guitarists that just stand up there and play man, but youíve got that presence, youíre all over the place and I mean you make the show. And I really appreciate you calling in today and I think what people are going to find out about REVOLUTION SAINTS is that this is one of the finest albums to come out in a long time.

ALDRICH: Well thatís very cool, all kind words from you Duane, I really appreciate it, you know how I feel is that youíre only as good as the people you work with and Iíve been really blessed to have worked with some of the greats of all time with Ronnie and David and now Deen and Jack and up and coming greats like Keith, and I just really enjoy what I do and I feel very lucky for the support from fans and I just want to say that once in a while youíll be in a situation that might be uncomfortable and your fans stick up for you and they say ďhey man I really love thisĒ and it really is a blessing that we have fans that love this kind of music and thereís people like yourself that are promoting the music and itís really a great thing. I appreciate all of your kind words. I basically just love to play and I try to improve all the time.

KNAC.COM: Well absolutely, you know Iím going to be out in Vegas I guess in May to catch NIGHT RANGER and Iím hoping to catch the Rock Vault show. Whatís the chances of you and Jack maybe getting together for a little impromptu jam while heís out there?

ALDRICH: Thatís definitely possible. Iím not sure when theyíre coming but if Iím off Iím gonna go see them. Iíd love it if youíd come to the Rock Vault, I think it would be great, itís not like your typical Vegas show, itís loud and live, thereís no background tapes, thereís no jive, itís just jamminí with a really cool band playing covers. Itís interesting because I never worked in cover bands even when I was a kid, I just jumped straight into working in original bands and trying to get record deals and joining bands that were established and helping with keeping the band name out there. This is me going back full circle now with being in a cover band and if you come see a couple shows in Vegas and then see Raiding The Rock Vault youíll understand why people really love it and why Iím sticking around for a while. Itís really fun. That said, I might take the night off and go see Jack if Iím working.

KNAC.COM: Yeah theyíre going to be at the Golden Nugget.

ALDRICH: Iíll go to the Nugget.

KNAC.COM: Man I hope it happens; Iíd love to see that. Well I tell you what, Iíve been telling a lot of people about the REVOLUTION SAINTS album and I canít wait for people to get their hands on it and I think itís going to be something that a lot of people are going to be talking about for a while and you guys have done a hell of a job with it and just canít wait to hear it take off. I really appreciate your time today Doug, I know that you guys are doing a lot of press for this and I canít wait to start hearing some more reviews and hopefully seeing this stuff live.

ALDRICH: You got it brother, Duane thank you so much, I really appreciate your support and it was a great interview.

KNAC.COM: You take care Doug and best of luck with the album.

ALDRICH: Thanks man, hope to see you in Vegas.

Keep up with all things REVOLUTION SAINTS on the web at:
https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionSaints

Grab a copy of the REVOLUTION SAINTS debut album in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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