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Rod Morgenstein-Drummer

Rod Morgenstein- Drummer

Dixie Dregs and Grammy Nominee

Rod is a New York native, founding member, and drummer of the Dixie Dregs, a six-time Grammy nominee. Rod is a professor, teaching percussion at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Massachusetts. Recently offering, Drum Set Warm-Ups, touted as the definitive text for developing and improving all aspects of drum-set playing.  He is also a columnist for Modern Drummer magazine.
The beginning of the Dregs started in 1973, when he attended the University of Miami in Florida. There he met Steve Morse, Andy West, and Allen Sloan, playing under the official Studio Music and curriculum title of, Rock Ensemble II.  At the university, The Dregs recorded their first album in 1975, The Great Spectacular, as a class project.
The Dregs had a rough time getting signed and were turned down and told their music was difficult to market because they were a jazz fusion band had no vocals, odd timing, and that their music combines rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, and classical influences. The group was finally signed to Capricorn in 1977, and recorded several albums before they temporarily disbanded in 1983. Rod then joined Steve Morse’s new band and stayed for two albums before wanting a musical change to try something both new and challenging. The Dregs last reunion was a tour in 2018.

Winger and Other Projects

Rod moved back to New York City and began auditioning for jobs, one of them turned out to be a band that Kip Winger was forming. Two months later, Rod received a call from the band, and they were off to record their self-titled, debut album, Winger, in 1988.  It went double platinum. Winger followed up in 1990 with In the Heart of the Young. In 1993, they released the album, Pull, as grunge came in and changed the music scene. The band decided to take a break, but got back together in 2002, and have had sporadic reunions since, and continue to do so as time permits. Winger will be releasing a new album in 2021.
Rod’s other projects include the Rudess/Morgenstein Project, an instrumental progressive power-duo, featuring Rod and Dream Theater keyboardist extraordinaire, Jordan Rudess, with two albums to their credit. Rod is is involved with jam band, Jazz Is Dead, which features creative improvisations of the music by the Grateful Dead.  Another project is, Platypus, whose two recordings feature: John Myung (Dream Theater), Ty Tabor (King’s X), and Derek Sherinian (Planet X). The music is a mix of instrumental and vocal tunes that blend many different styles together. An offshoot of Platypus is The Jelly Jam, a power trio featuring Rod, Ty Tabor, and John Myung. Their debut release came out in 2001, and The Jelly Jam, ‘2’ was released in 2004.

Interview with Rod Morgenstein (Part 1)

Dixie Dregs “Patchwork”

Here are links to Rod

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Jeff Kazee (Part 2 of 2)

Jeff Kazee- Part 2 of 2

Southside Johnny Bandleader

In Part one with Jeff, we discussed his influences and moving to the New Jersey area in 1993 and when he joined Rock/Soul band Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. We also talked about meeting with guitarist G.E. Smith and saxaphonist Mark Rivera, and when G.E. took Roger Waters to a club in Long Island that Jeff was playing at. During the Covid Pandemic, Jeff created the Living Room Lounge where he was able to raise over $10,000 for the Fulfill NJ , to help folks in need.

Bon Jovi and Early Elton Trio

In Part 2, we talk to Jeff about when he auditioned for Southside Johnny and met Jon Bon Jovi and Steve Van Zandt.  We then continue when Bon Jovi asked him help out on keyboards for the bands 2003 tour This Left Feels Right Live and the Have a Nice Day Tours from 2005 until 2006. Kazee also filled in for David Bryan on keyboards and vocals for night five of Bon Jovi’s 2010 London O2 Arena residency as Bryan was attending The Tony Awards in NYC.
In 2009, Jeff joined Fab Faux drummer Rich Pagano and Asbury Juke bassist John Conte in an ongoing side project performing music selected from Elton John‘s Trio Years (’70-’72), entitled Early Elton Trio.

Video interview with Jeff Kazee Part 2

Early Elton Trio-Take Me To The Pilot

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Tommy Mandel

Tommy Mandel

Paul Simon to Bryan Adams

Tommy Mandel is a keyboardist who has played with many well-known musicians, but is best known for recording and playing with Bryan Adams from 1981 through 1998. He grew up in the New York City area and began studying music at the age of six. Mandel studied songwriting with Paul Simon at NYU in 1969-70, in a class that included The Roches.

Ian Hunter, Ellen Foley, and more

Mandel was involved with the band, Stories, in the mid seventies and in 1978, his friend Paul Jacobs helped him to go on tour with the National Lampoon Travelling Road Show. His career started taking off from there.  In 1979, he began recording Ellen Foley’s debut album and met Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson, playing on three albums with them from 1979 through 1981. Since then, Mandel has worked with David Johansen (aka Buster Pointdexter) of the NY Dolls, Dire Straits, John Waite, Little Steven Van Zandt, and more.

Solo Recordings

In 1981, Mandel released his first solo recording with the EP, Tommy Mandel on Songshop Records.  He has released several solo recordings since, including in 1984, Music for Insomniacs and The Secrets of Marital Bliss. He has also composed and recorded a song cycle based on the touring experience, entitled, Starlight, featuring the vocals and writing talents of Marianne Faithful, John Waite, Joe Cerisano, Fran Eckert, Jeff Southworth, and Pete Hewlett. In the nineties, Mandel compiled the following CD’s of his instrumental compositions:  Themes for Dreams (his favorite), Music for Insomniax II (sleepy synths),and recently, “Every Dog,” and The Enlightenment of Age, and most recently, Curio-City.

Video interview with Tommy Mandel (Part 1 of 2)

Bryan Adams”Run To You”

Here are links to Tommy

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Kristin Rose Kelly

Kristin Rose Kelly

Chicago-Based Artist

Kristin is a self-taught, rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, born and raised in the Chicago area. Kristin developed her style as soon as she had her hands on her first guitar at age 12, and has been playing and singing since. Kristin’s influences are Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Led Zeppelin, and Queen, to name a few. She has auditioned on American Idol and Nashville Star, but would rather play with her band any day. She had an Emmy nomination in 2011 for the intro theme to the Herman the Jester television show. Her debut album, Pantyhose, was released in 2017. Kristin says of the album’s title, her “female rock anthem,” meant to empower women and has been aired on Chicago’s Rock the Fox.  Pantyhose really shows Kristin’s talent on songs like “Rockin Muse” and “Hapi” to the acoustic ballad, “In Your Eyes.”  Touching on many views, her songs and lyrics naturally fall into place once she has the music. Kristin has supported the album by recently touring across the country and with southern Belk winner Eryn Shewell. Her other accolades include singing and writing for Al Krouse, opening for Dilana, and Isaiah Grass.

Video interview with Kristin

Kristin Playing Zeppelin

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Glen Burtnik (Part 2 of 2)

Glen Burtnik

Beatlemania and The Weeklings

In Part One, we spoke with Glen about his influences and learning to play bass. We also talked about his major breakthrough playing in Beatlemania.  Glen has been a member of the legendary Asbury Park music scene, and has been involved in many projects throughout his career. At many times, Beatles related. In 2015, Glen and Bob Burger formed The Weeklings, and the band released three albums with critical praise. The band performs Beatles’ songs (and songs the Beatles wrote but did not record themselves), and their own originals.

Solo Career, Song Writing, and Styx

In 1986, Glen was signed to A&M Records and released his first album, Talking In Code.  Then, in 1987 he released his follow-up album, Heroes and Zeros, featuring the single, Follow You. It was during that time that he began working with Bob Burger.
After Glen left A&M Records, Dennis DeYoung asked him to audition for his band, Styx (after Tommy Shaw left to form Damn Yankees). Glen jumped at the chance, and was hired as the second guitarist and songwriter and helped them release their new record, Edge of the Century. He stayed with them through 1991.  Glen eventually returned to Styx in 1999, playing bass.
With Glen’s successful songwriting with Styx, he continued writing for other artists, most notably, his collaboration with Patty Smyth of Scandal.  They wrote Sometime Love Just Ain’t Enough, and Patty ended up doing the duet with Don Henley, and it went to the top of the charts, reaching number one.

Video interview with Glen Burtnik (Part 2)

Sometimes Love Ain’t Enough

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Chuck Burgi – Part 2 of 3

Chuck Burgi- Drummer

 Joe Walsh, Allman Brothers, & Al Anderson

In Part One, we spoke with Chuck about his high school days in Montclair, New Jersey, and hanging with Joe Walsh.  Also, about when he went to Berklee in Boston, with his friend, Al Anderson (who eventually became the lead guitarist for Bob Marley), and their chance to meet and jam with The Allman Brothers Band when they came to town. Chuck told us about being influenced by Ringo Starr, Mitch Mitchell, and his start in playing Jazz and Jazz Fusion. He mentioned his preference for playing Tama drums and Paiste cymbals.

Al DiEmiola, Brand X, & Phil Collins

In Part Two of our three-part interview, we chat about Chuck’s time with jazz-rock guitarist Al Di Meola for his first solo venture. In 1978, he joined English fusion group, Brand X.  As a member of Brand-X, he replaced Phil Collins and recorded and toured for the classic album, Masques.

Hall and Oates and Rainbow

Returning to his rock and pop roots in 1980, Chuck joined Hall & Oates on their Voices album, featuring the number one hit, Kiss on My List. After a world tour to support Voices, Chuck went back in the studio with Daryle and John to record their follow-up album, Private Eyes. It featured the hits, the title track, and Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) Another world tour followed.
In 1983, Chuck joined Ritchie Blackmore’s band, Rainbow, to record their album, Bent out of Shape, and subsequent tour, to support the album and the hit single, Street of Dreams. Chuck returned when Ritchie put a new band together in 1995, and he was the only returning band member from the Bent out of Shape line up. The band did two sold-out tours in Europe, South America, and Japan for the album, Stranger in Us All.

Interview with Chuck Burgi (Part 2 of 3)

Rainbow “Street of Dreams”

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Matt O’Ree

Matt O’Ree

King of the Blues Winner

Matt O’Ree is an American blues-rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, born and raised in Holmdel, New Jersey. He formed the Matt O’Ree Band in 1994, releasing his debut album, 88 Miles in 1998. In 2006, he entered the Guitarmageddon contest, sponsored by Guitar Center and Guitar World Magazine, hosted by BB King and John Mayer. He won after competing against 4,000 other guitar players. O’Ree was the touring rhythm guitarist for Bon Jovi in the 2015 South East Asia Tour. In 2016, he was inducted into the NY/NJ Blues Hall of Fame.

O’Ree has released four studio albums and two live albums, with his latest album, Brotherhood, released in 2016. The album features contributions from Bruce Springsteen, David Bryan (Bon Jovi), Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MG’s), and John Popper (Blues Traveler), to name a few. The band includes his wife and singer, Eryn Shewell.

David Bryan and Bon Jovi

In 2013, O’Ree met David Bryan, and have been friends since. Bryan helped O’Ree with his career by introducing him to Jon Bon Jovi and getting him an audition to be the guitarist in the Bon Jovi band to help support their album, Burning Bridges.
After the South East Asia Tour in 2015, O’Ree did a homecoming show with his band at the The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey to a sold-out crowd. The show included David Bryan, where they performed Bon Jovi’s song, Wanted Dead or Alive, as well the song co-written by O’Ree and Bryan, My Everything is You; and their new single, the recorded version of “Black Boots,” featuring  Bruce Springsteen.  Also in 2015, O’Ree and Bryan performed with blues legend, Buddy Guy at B.B. Kings Club, with backing singer, Eryn Shewell.

Video interview with Matt O’Ree

Matt at the King of the Blues Show

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