fbpx

Share the Music!

To burst open with a short, sharp, explosive sound.

B8E81E59 195B 4C6F BDB2 D5209C82760D

Rod Morgenstein, Part Three- Winger and Robert Plant

Rod Morgenstein

Highlights from Part 1 and 2

In our previous two stories, we talked to Rod about his influences and his time at University of Miami in Florida in 1973, where 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 Dixie Dregs recorded their first album in 1975, The Great Spectacular, as a class project. The group was finally signed to Capricorn in 1977, and recorded several albums before they temporarily disbanded in 1983. The band has been nominated six times for a Grammy award.

Winger and Robert Plant

Rod joined Steve Morse’s new band and stayed for two albums before wanting a musical change. In 1987, Rod went to the NYC area, where he hails from, to look for work and his auditions for George Michael, Billy Idol, and Joe Lynn Turner. Rod met Kip Winger and the band in a studio by chance and hit it off. The band released their latest album 7, and currently on tour.
Rod also tells his story about why Robert Plant was looking for him in 1988.

Interview with Rod Morgenstein (Part 3)

Part 2 with Rod Morgenstein

Here are links to Rod

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

biopic

Gary Mallaber Part Two- Finding Van Morrison

Gary Mallaber

Drummer – Song Writer – Arranger – Producer – Engineer

Highlights From Part One

Gary Mallaber started his career in Buffalo, NY, playing drums with his band, Raven. The band was getting noticed in 1968 and moved to New York City.  They soon found themselves  jamming with Jimi Hendrix and met Eddie Kramer. They were opening for Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, and others. George Harrison and Peter Asher were even interested in Raven, but the band fell apart.  Soon after, Gary was in search of Van Morrison.

Searching for Van Morrison and making Moondance

Gary arrived in the Village in NYC, and quickly found Van Morrison at a local music spot. He noticed there were no drums, and asked if he could bring his kit.Gary was in and was soon recording the album, Moondance with Van. We talk to Gary about the history of the album and what it means today. We chat about the tracks, his favorite songs, the mixing of the album, and how Van was open to band contributions; such as, Gary adding Vibraphone on Crazy Love, and helping Van to mix the album.

Interview with Gary Mallaber (Part 2)

Gary with AJ Croce” Operator”

Here are links to Gary

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

Diana Ross Wynn Encore Theater Las Vegas NV 20181116 379 copy scaled

John Scarpulla- Saxophonist Extraordinaire

John Scarpulla

Diana Ross, Billy Joel, and the last play at Shea

John is a well known and established saxophonist, best known for his work with Diana Ross and his association with Billy Joel, and being a part of the Movin’ Out musical. After Movin’ Out, he continued to work with Tony nominated Michael Cavanaugh, playing the music of Billy Joel and more with symphonies all over the world.
He has recorded and performed with many music icons, including: Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Ricky Martin, Hall and Oates, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper,  BB King, and Billy Joel, just for starters. Besides working with Diana Ross, he performs with quite a variety of bands, as well as working with Funk Filharmonik, and with the Billy Joel Tribute band, ”Big Shot” led by Mike DelGuidice. John’s versatility allows him to pursue many avenues of the music culture and many styles of music.
John has had many highlights throughout his career, including as musical director and co-musical director for the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Awards, since it’s inception since 2004. He was asked by Billy Joel to join his band for the historic “Last Play at Shea,” the last two concerts at Shea Stadium where the band was joined by such icons as Don Henley, John Mellencamp, Tony Bennett, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltry, and Garth Brooks. As if that were not enough, Sir Paul McCartney closed out the second show.

Funk Filaharmonic, Tower of Power, and East 4th Horns

John took up the saxophone at an early age and later attended Berklee School of Music and studied with many teachers, including Joseph Viola. While  continuing his studies in Boston, he was hired by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. When John went back to New York City, he was soon auditioning for Funk Filharmonik and was hired. At the same time, he and John Wheeler started another horn section they called the “East 4th Horns,” and quickly became men-in-demand horn section. In 1996, John received a dream phone call from Emilio Castillo of Tower of Power. Shortly after John sent the demo, he was in the band and stayed through 1999.

Video interview with John Scarpulla

“Work To Do” Brent Carter and Friends with John Scarpulla

Here are links to other things related to John

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

Militia Vox headshot by Taylor Hooper scaled

Militia Vox- A Woman With No Boundaries

Militia Vox

Solo Career, Bad Penny, and Dee Snider

Militia Vox is a multi-talented artist, producer, writer, actress, and more. She has proven to the music world she is one bad-ass woman.
She has recorded, toured, and performed with some of the best in the business, including: Cyndi Lauper, Dee Snider, John Petrucci, and many more. Militia’s two recent releases were recorded with the band, Bad Penny, featuring Danny Miranda of Blue Öyster Cult, duets with Rob Halford – “Push Comes to Shove,” and  Dee Snider – “Cry Little Girl.”
Beginning her music career at eight years young with classical piano, she quickly accelerated into becoming a regional and state award-winning concert pianist, and has starred in movies, tv shows, Off-Broadway stage, European tours, and national touring rock musicals, including: Dee Snider’s “Van Helsing’s Curse,” and Sandra Bernhard’s “Everything Bad and Beautiful.”
In 2000, M claimed her rightful place as a front woman at the legendary BITCH nightat Don Hill’s in Soho NYC (as seen in the documentary “The Bitch Movie” which premiered at Wacken Open Air in 2019.)  In 2005, her hard rock/groove metal band, Swear On Your Life emerged on the scene.  SOYL released one e.p. “BURN MY CROSSES” that was deemed “offensive” and was banned at several colleges duringits first week of release. The band toured the east coast, opening for Twisted Sister, Made Out of Babies and Bella Morte.Craving more creative freedom, Militia Vox officially went solo in 2013

Judas Priestess

Besides Militia’s solo career, she has the vocal duties for the world’s only All-Female Tribute to the Metal Gods, Judas Priest, a heavy metal phenomenon! Endorsed by the metal gods themselves!
The band religiously packs houses and events with frenzied fans all over the world.  They recently headlined House of Blues at Mandalay Bay on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and played to a sold-out crowd at their 10 year anniversary show at the legendary Stone Pony in NJ.

Video interview with Militia Vox (Part 1)

Here are links to Militia

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

MX Photo

Tommy Mandel Part 2

Tommy Mandel

Highlights from Part One; Bryan Adams and Ian Hunter

In part one with keyboardist Tommy Mandel, we talked about his career, but is best known for recording and playing with Bryan Adams from 1981 through 1998. Mandel studied songwriting with Paul Simon at NYU in 1969-70, in a class that included The Roches.Mandel was in the band, Stories, in the mid seventies and in 1978,  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.

Mark Knopfler, The Clash and a Disco Hit

In 1981, Mandel also was touring with the Dire Straits and recording the live Alchemy: Dire Straits Live, we talk about the improvising of Sultans of Swing and working with Mark Knopfler. Tommy’s first solo recording with the EP, Tommy Mandel on Songshop Records contained a minor hit in the Disco clubs. Tommy has released several solo recordings since, including in 1984, Music for Insomniacs and The Secrets of Marital Bliss. We discuss the making of The Clash album Rock The Cabah, auditioning for Steve Winwood and his current activities.

Video interview with Tommy Mandel (Part 2 of 2)

Video interview with Tommy Mandel (Part 1of 2)

Here are links to Tommy

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

biopic e1657996937972

Gary Mallaber- Drummer for AJ Croce

Gary Mallaber

Drummer – Song Writer – Arranger – Producer – Engineer

Raven and Van Morrison

Gary Mallaber started his career in Buffalo, NY, playing drums with his band, Raven, and in 1969 opened for Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, and others. Soon after, the band broke up and he was in search of Van Morrison.  He found him in the Village in NYC, and soon recorded the album, Moondance. With the success of Moondance, his career took a major turn where he became an in-demand session drummer in Los Angeles.
Gary has recorded with many artists, but the folks that sent chills up his arm and knew there was something special were Steve Miller,  Eddie Money, and Van Morrison.

Steve Miller, Eddie Money, and More

After the success of The Joker, Steve connected with Gary about recreating more of that magic with bassist, Lonnie Turner. Together with Lonnie , they recorded what became Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams. Gary stayed with Steve through the 1980’s. While he was recording with Steve Miller, he was asked to play for the up-and-coming Eddie Money.  Once he met Eddie, he knew it was going to be great. The hits they recorded on the first release were, Two Tickets to Paradise and Baby Hold On.
For further reading on the artists he has played and recorded with, check out: Peter Frampton, Poco, Paul Williams, Jimmy White, and Kermit the Frog. Some of the other artists Gary has recorded with include: Joan Armatrading, The Beach Boys, John Lennon, Gene Clark, David Cassidy, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Rush, Bob Seger, Barbra Streisand, Warren Zevon, and Hughes/Thrall — the list goes on.

Interview with Gary Mallaber (Part 1)

Gary with A.J. Croce “Operator”

Here are links to Gary

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

thumbnail johnBarclay

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

Here are links to Jeff

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

MX Photo

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

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE

20882861 1718543358454078 6619171142058568537 n

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

Here are links to Glen

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MUSICXPLORER NEWSLETTER HERE