Frontman of the Week – Gavin Rossdale

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Early life and career

Gavin McGregor Rossdale born on the 30th of October 1965 is the lead singer and guitarist for the British rock band Bush.

Gavin was born in Killburn, London, England to mother Lucy Stephen who was of Scottish descent and father Douglas Rossdale who was a doctor of Russian Jewish descent. When Gavin was 11 years old his parents got divorced and he was raised primarily by his father and aunt. Lucy Stephen was later remarried and she moved to Tampa, Florida. He has a younger sister Soraya and an older sister Lorraine who had a daughter called Jade.

Gavin Rossdale had a brief modelling stint with his then good friend Marilyn. Gavin’s sister Lorraine had a boyfriend who was in a band called The Nobodyz and he taught Gavin how to play bass guitar, but Gavin later switched to playing rhythm guitar.

At the age of 17 Gavin had left Westminster High School and started playing semi-professional football until he was sidelined by an injury. He decided to form a band called Midnight formerly known as Little Dukes. Midnight produced a few singles and a bunch of publicity photos. In 1991 Gavin decided to move to Los Angeles, lived where he could and took whatever part-time jobs that were available at the time. One of these part-time jobs was as a production assistant on video shoots. After 6 months he spent some time in New York City with his friend Bill MacAdam, before he returned to England motivated and inspired to start a new band. He met up with Scottie Mac whom he had met in LA around this time. In 1992 Gavin formed Future Primitive whose original line-up (previously known as The Diceheads) included screenwriter Sacha Gervasi who decided to leave the band in order to pursue a film-making career.In the summer of 1994 the band changed its name to Bush and released a promo called Sixteen Stone.

Bush

Gavin became the lead singer/songwriter for the post-grunge British rock band Bush. Their first album Sixteen Stone was released in 1994 and it was a huge commercial success. Bush experienced almost overnight success from playing small pubs in London to headlining festivals in the US which was a result of their non-stop touring. Some critics labelled Bush as an inferior incarnation of bands such as Nirvana and the Pixies, this criticism followed them throughout their career. Rossdale’s voice and lyrics was termed by some to be an imitation of Nirvana’s lead singer Kurt Cobain. The band reached Superstar status in the US, but failed to make an impact in the UK, mainly due to the UK’s Pop dominated charts. The exception came in the form of their single “Swallowed” which reached #7 in the UK. Bush faced some challenges when they changed record labels, changed management and added to that an extended hiatus. Eventually all these obstacles caused the band to split in 2002.

Bush’s albums up to this point in their career include Razorblade Suitcase, Deconstructed, The Science of Things and Golden State. None of the aforementioned albums matched the sale success of their debut album.

Post-Bush Era

After Bush had been on hiatus for two years Gavin Rossdale formed Institute in 2004. Their first album “Distort Yourself” was released on the 13th of September 2005 and enjoyed moderate success. The single “Bullet-proof skin” was used in the movie Stealth. Bullet-proof skin is still one of my favourite rock songs, I discovered the song while watching a DVD compilation which features numerous rock music videos. I listened/watched the video constantly and I still love it.

You can watch the video here:

Gavin was featured on the soundtrack of Sony Pictures’ 2002 film xXx with a song called “Adrenaline”. This song was the official theme song for WWE’s Unforgiven pay-per-view event in September 2002 and it was also used as was The Undertaker‘s Desire/Tribute theme of that same year. Gavin appeared as a guest for Blue Man Group’s “The Current” and he is featured in its video. The song was used in the ending credits of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Gavin started to dabble in acting and appeared in Zoolander (2001), The Mayor of Sunset Strip (2003), Little Black Book (2004), and The Game of Their Lives (2005). Gavin played the villian Balthazar in 2005’s Constantine. Next Gavin Rossdale landed a role in How To Rob A Bank (2007) alongside Nick Stahl and Erika Christensen. Additionally Gavin appeared on the TV show Criminal Minds and he appeared on the in the 8th episode of Season 5 of Burn Notice.

In that same year Gavin Rossdale announced on his website that he is working on new music, a solo album to be more specific. He was satisfied with the sound of the album stating that he went back to his roots from Bush. Rossdale’s single “Can’t Stop The World”on which his wife Gwen Stefani sings the background vocals became the theme song for Fox’s TV program Drive.

In 2007, for the album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur he covered John Lennon’s “Mind Games”. Later in the same year Gavin finished recording his first solo album called Wanderlust and it was released on the 3rd of June 2008. The 1st single off of the album “Love Remains The Same” was released on the 1st of April 2008 and it entered the Billboard Hot 100 at Number 76, rising to 27 in October 2008, giving Gavin his first Top 40 hit since the days when he fronted the post-grunge band Bush. Gavin also provided the vocals for Apocalyptica’s killer song called “End of Me” which is the first single off of their album 7th Symphony.

The Return of Bush

On the 21st of June 2010 it was announced that Bush would be returning. Founding members Nigel Pulsford and Dave Parsons both decided not to rejoin the band. Pulsford and Parsons were replaced by Chris Traynor and Corey Britz respectively. Bush released The Sea of Memories on the 13th of September 2011. The Sea of Memories managed to peak at No. 18 on the Billboard Top 200. The first single off of the album, “The Sound of Winter” was released in July 2011 and reached number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

Gavin co-wrote two songs for The Pretty Reckless‘s album Light Me Up. The songs are called “Fix Me” and “You”. Bush joined The Pretty Reckless on their world tour for a few dates.

Their song “Into The Blue” is featured on The Avengers soundtrack album released on May 1, 2012. They toured with Nickelback on their Here and Now tour.

I was extremely surprised when Bush made a comeback, especially after such a long seperation, but I’m glad they decided to get back to performing and creating rock music.

Personal life

In 1995 Gavin met Gwen Stefani the fearless lead singer of the punk band No Doubt. The pair met when Bush and No Doubt were on tour together. The couple married in 2002. In 2005 on a radio show called Loveline, Gavin stated that he and Gwen prefer to keep their relationship private and out of the media. Gavin had a choatic childhood and  he wanted to provide stability for his family.

On the 26th of May 2006 the Rossdale family gained a new member in the form of a son Kingston James McGregor Rossdale. On the 21st of Augst 2008 the Rossdale celebrated the arrival of another baby boy called  Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale.

In 2004 a paternity test revelaed that Gavin was the father of Pearl Lowe’s daughter, Daisy Lowe who was born in 1989. Gavin and Pearl had a brief releationship and Gavin was Daisy’s godfather. It was reported that Gavin had cut all ties with Pearl and his teenage daughter, but in 2009 numerous websites posted photos of Daisy walking with Kingston in London. Both Daisy and Gavin have said in interviews that their relationship is good and that they share a friendship.

Gavin and Gwen have homes in Primrose Hill, London and California. Gavin is an avid tennis player and a regular on the Californian celebrity tennis circuit. Gavin and Gwen are good friends with Lindsey Davenport and Roger Federer. The couple has been spotted at numerous tennis tournaments supporting Roger Federer.

Gavin has a strong and smooth voice that has the ability to stand the test of time. I admire Gavin’s dedication to his family and his determination when it comes to his music career.

You can follow Gavin Rossdale on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GavinRossdale

You can follow Bush on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bushofficial

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

gavin_rossdale__the_contortionist_by_runninghair-d57j4r4

Gavin Rossdale: the Contortionist by ~RunningHair on deviantArt
Source:http://runninghair.deviantart.com/art/Gavin-Rossdale-the-Contortionist-314980816

Gavin_by_sharonmmm

Gavin by ~sharonmmm on deviantArt
Source:http://sharonmmm.deviantart.com/art/Gavin-98324279

Guitarist of the Week – Eric Friedman

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Eric Friedman photographed by Shutter Disgrace Photography

Eric Friedman photographed by Shutter Disgrace Photography

Eric Charles Friedman was born on the 28th of June 1984 in Yorba Linda, California, United States. Eric is also referred to as Erock and he is best known as the current rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist for Creed.

Eric’s career more or less started when he was just a teen at the Galaxy Theatre (Santa Ana, Ca) in 1996 when his teenage guitar hero Kenny Wayne Shepherd (who is married to Mel Gibson‘s eldest daughter) pulled him onstage for a jam session during his set. Shortly after he began playing in his own blues band called The Eric Friedman Band. Eric was endorsed by Fender at the tender age of 13! Eric Friedman was the youngest guitarist at the time to be fully endorsed by Fender.

Eric had the opportunity to open up for bands like Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughn and Jonny Lang. He had a developmental deal with Steve Vai’s label Favored Nations at the age of 15.

In the year 2000 at the age of 16 Eric started a band called Blacsun that had demos produced by Brett Hestla (Virgos, Dark New Day, Replaced Brian Marshall as touring bassist for Creed). That same year Eric became the lead guitarist for the band Submersed. Their debut album was called In Due Time and their second album was titled Immortal Verses which was released on the 18th of September 2007. Eric didn’t resume his role as the lead guitarist for their second album, but he did have songwriting credits. Submersed disbanded in 2008. Eric was the lead guitarist for Daughters of Mara which was founded in 2001, their self-titled album was produced by Garth Richardson (Mudvayne, Rage Against the Machine). The group disbanded in 2008.

Eric Friedman grew up listening to Creed’s music in particular My Own Prison (one of my faves too!). His first introduction to Mark Tremonti was at a NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show. The NAMM Show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world, founded in 1901. Eric’s manager at that time introduced him to Mark Tremonti. They subsequently jammed at one of the Rivera amp booths and although they had very different styles of playing, they realised that they both complemented one another. Eric Friedman is heavily influenced by blues and Mark Tremonti is heavily influenced by metal music. That is how Eric became the rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist on Creed’s 2009 Reunion tour. I was first introduced to Eric Friedman on Creed’s record-breaking 2009 “Creed Live” DVD where he appears as a touring member. Mark recounts the manner in which he was introduced to Eric on Behind the Scenes footage on the DVD. Eric has appeared in interviews, promotional videos and photos of Creed recently which has led to rumours that Eric might officially be joining the band. The band admits that it has been discussed, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Friedman joined Creed in 2012 on their 2 Nights tour.

Eric is currently also the lead guitarist and songwriter for the band Hemme. He is featured on Tremonti’s debut solo album All I Was playing guitar, bass and singing background vocals. In 2012 Eric became a member of the supergroup Projected alongside Sevendust’s John Conolly, Vinnie Hornsby and Creed/Alter Bridge drummer Scott Phillips. Their debut album called “Human” was released on the 18th of September 2012. They plan to do a tour in support of the album, but with the band members being involved in various projects its going to be a challenge to arrange it.

From the few glimpses I have seen of Eric these past few years I have come to the conclusion that he is a genuinely sweet, easygoing guy who loves to play Disc Golf, ride motocycles and spending time with family and friends. It is apparent that he has a deep appreciation for music, therefore he has remained humble even though he has accomplished much in his early career. Eric is currently in a relationship with Sara Lawrence who is expecting a baby girl. Sara has more or less 9 more weeks before she delivers.

I wish them the best of luck for the future and I’m sure Eric will make a fantastic father!

You can follow Eric Friedman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IIEROCKII

You can follow Eric Friedman on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EricCFriedman

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

eric friedman 1

Eric Friedman of Creed by AlfieLipa, on Flickr
Source: http://www.pinoyphotography.org/forum/index.php?topic=106039.0

In This Photo: Eric FriedmanGuitarist Eric Friedman of Creed performs at the Wiltern Theatre on May 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (May 14, 2012 - Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

In This Photo: Eric Friedman
Guitarist Eric Friedman of Creed performs at the Wiltern Theatre on May 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (May 14, 2012 – Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

The Rock Riff is on Facebook!

The Rock Riff is on Facebook!

I’m proud to announce that as of the 22nd of January 2013, The Rock Riff now has its own official Facebook page!

Feel free to “Like” the page and receive the latest rock related news straight onto your newsfeed!

You can find The Rock Riff here:

http://www.facebook.com/TheRockRiff

You can follow The Rock Riff on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TheRockRiff

I hope to see you there!

Enjoy!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month – Prime Circle

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As a South African and as a South African rock music blogger I believe that I should feature some local talent. So this month I’m honoured to present to you, Prime Circle. A band that has changed the landscape of the rock music industry in South Africa. When Prime Circle formed in December of the year 2001 in the mining town of Witbank, Mpumulanga the South African rock music industry was very different to what we experience at the moment. Finding talented, dedicated musicians was a challenge to say the very least. Prime Circle is currently based in Johannesburg and was originally signed to The David Gresham Record Company. Since early 2008 Prime Circle has been signed to EMI Music South Africa.

Prime Circle consists of Ross Learmonth (vocals&guitar) , Dirk Bisschoff (Guitars), Marco Gomes (Bass Guitar) , Neil Breytenbach(Keyboards) and Dale Schnettler (Drums & Backing Vocals).

Prime Circle has played at most major concerts and they have opened for US based band Live during the South African leg of their Birds of Pray world tour. In 2005 the band performed at Nelson Mandela‘s 46664 concert. In 2006 the band played alongside Metallica, Seether, Collective Soul and Simple Plan at the Coca-Cola Colab events in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. Prime Circle was invited to join 3 Doors Down on the European leg of their tour and they performed in Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart on the 7th, 8th and 10th of June 2011. Both bands were joined on stage by Alter Bridge.

In 2003 Prime Circle released their debut album Hello Crazy World, which reached Gold Status in South Africa. The singles off of this album “Hello”, “My Inspiration” and “Live This Life” was in heavy rotation on South African radio stations. They started building a solid fanbase that has stood by them for over a decade. I still consider these singles as rock classics, because when I listen to it now, it still makes me feel the same way I did when I first heard it…in awe.

In October 2005 they released their second album “Live This Life” which reached gold status in 12 months solidifying their position as South Africa’s biggest selling rock act of 2003/2004/2005/2006. In July 2006 a DVD of their performance at The Function in Johannesburg was released and it was called Living in a Crazy World. In 2007 David Gresham Records released a CD/DVD Best of… box set which followed the success of the previous two albums. The CD featured 17 tracks including acoustic, live and remixed versions of previously released favourites including a new track called Moments which reached number 1 on numerous local radio charts. I was slightly baffled by the release of the Best of… box set at the time it was released, because the band had only released two albums up until that point. Initially I didn’t know different versions of the tracks were included. My personal suggestion would have been just to give the box set a different name.

After signing with EMI the band released the album All or Nothing in 2008. This album in essence was just a taste of things to come, it was the most important step in the band’s evolution. The album was recorded at Bellville Studios in Cape Town the album changed their musical direction from post grunge to a more anthemic rock sound. The band was nominated at the South African Music Awards for Record of the Year and Best Rock Album for All or Nothing. With the success of All or Nothing the band released a live DVD of the same name in early 2009 which coincided with the international release date of the album. The first single off of the album called “She Always Gets What She Wants” is a really special song and received 810,932 views on Youtube to date. You can view the video below:

It is the most viewed South African rock song on YouTube. Follow-up singles from the album include “Consider Me” and “Out Of This Place” which are listed among my favourites.

In mid 2010 the band started working on their 4th album “Jekyll and Hyde” which had a lot to live up to. The album was mixed in Los Angeles by Kevin Shirley who has worked with the likes of Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Silverchair and Journey. Mastering engineer George Marino who is famous for his work with Guns ‘n Roses and Ozzy Osbourne added some final touches to the album. The first two singles released from Jekyll and Hyde was the power ballad “Breathing” and the thoughtful “Turning In My Sleep”. Both of these songs were nominated for the SAMA MTN Record of the year. In March 2011, Prime Circle won the Best International Breakthrough Act at the MK Awards. Both singles from Jekyll and Hyde still enjoy heavy rotation on South Africa’s regional radio stations.

In July 2012 the band entered the studio once again to tackle their fifth studio album called “Evidence”. Their first single off of their latest album is the title track. On the 11th of January 2013 the Official music video for the track was released and its pretty intense. Check it out!

Here is an alternative link if the video above doesn’t work: http://vimeo.com/57280650

After being part of the music industry for the past 11 years Prime Circle has cemented their brand and they have put their stamp on the South African music industry. I just wish them all the success in the world and I believe they will only grow from strength to strength in the future. Ross Learmonth’s voice has become one of the most recognisable voices in the South African music industry, but the band still remains humble and continues to be dedicated to their fan base.

German fans are in for a treat, because Prime Circle are busy finalising some German tour dates which should be released soon, exciting things to come for Prime Circle fans.

You can follow Prime Circle on the following social media sites:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Prime.Circle (Like)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/prime_circle (Follow)

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102173999209147308575 (+1)

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/primecircleofficial (Subscribe)

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Please note, I do not own any of the photos listed below and these photos were sourced from Prime Circle’s official Facebook page, credits go to the photographer respectively.

Adam Gontier leaves Three Days Grace

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I was shocked when I learned early this morning that Adam Gontier will no longer be the lead singer for Three Days Grace, just a few weeks before their co-headlining tour with Shinedown. According to a brief post on the band’s website it was stated that Adam Gontier left the band due to a non life threatening health issue. Speculations did the rounds that Adam’s exit might be due to addiction problems that he previously had with drugs. Adam reassured his fans in a statement he made, that he was definitely still sober and ready to start a new chapter in his life. After 20 years of being a part of an ever evolving band, Adam feels that its time to move on and to continue to evolve on his own terms and in his own way.

The band found out on the 21st of December that Adam wanted to resign from the band. Instead of cancelling the tour Three Days Grace felt an obligation toward their fans to put forth the best show they can. Brad Walst reached out to his brother, Matt Walst lead singer for My Darkest Days, to fill in for the tour dates that have already been announced. Matt’s role in the band is temporary and the band’s immediate future is still unknown.

Matt Walst was indecisive after being offered the role of lead singer for Three Days Grace on their upcoming tour, but after a few sleepless nights he accepted the offer. Matt stated in a message to his fans on his Facebook page that it was his childhood dream to share a stage with his brother and that dream will now become a reality. My Darkest Days’ future was questioned when it was announced earlier this week that guitarist Sal Costa had left the band. Matt Walst assures fans that My Darkest Days are still going strong and that My Darkest Days are currently busy writing material for their third album. The rest of the band will continue to write music with Matt even while he is on tour with Three Days Grace.

Three Days Grace bassist Brad Walst. (Photo by Todd Reicher)

Three Days Grace bassist Brad Walst. (Photo by Todd Reicher)

I can imagine its been quite a rollercoaster ride for everyone involved and I hope it all works out for the best.

Matt Walst from My Darkest DaysTaken at Hockeyfest Photo taken by thricelife on deviantArt Source: http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=matt+walst#/d2r9cf0

Matt Walst from My Darkest Days
Taken at Hockeyfest
Photo taken by thricelife on deviantArt
Source: http://thricelife.deviantart.com/

http://thricelife.deviantart.com/

If you want to read more on this subject, visit Loudwire’s website:

http://loudwire.com/singer-adam-gontier-explains-departure-from-three-days-grace/

http://loudwire.com/matt-walst-new-role-three-days-grace-singer-status-my-darkest-days/

http://loudwire.com/adam-gontier-leaves-three-days-grace-replaced-by-my-darkest-days-matt-walst/

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

What awaits rock music fans in 2013?

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So we find ourselves in 2013 and the world didn’t end which served as an anti-climax, when everyone realised it was just another day just like the many days that passed before it.

Rock music fans have a lot to look forward to this year, quite a few bands are releasing new material while others are embarking/continuing with their tour schedules.

Loudwire published a reader’s poll in order to determine which upcoming albums for 2013 readers are looking forward to the most. Device is in the lead at the moment with 38, 94% of the votes, with Avenged Sevenfold in second place with 27, 3 % of the vote. The rest of the nominees each share a small percentage of the votes. The list includes: Alice in Chains, Alter Bridge, Black Sabbath, Black Veil Brides, Buckcherry, Bullet For My Valentine, Hatebreed, Hollywood Undead, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Sixx: A.M., Slayer, Stone Sour, Tool and Rob Zombie. You can vote here: http://loudwire.com/most-desired-2013-album-readers-poll/

Sad news came from My Darkest Days  three days ago when it was announced that one of their most-loved members, Sal Costa was leaving the band. It seems like Sal wants to embark on his own musical journey and calls his fans “Saldiers”, he recently launched his own brand of merchandise which you will be able to take a look at if you visit his Facebook page. Its sad to see Sal leave the band, but I can’t wait to see what he is going to do next!

I’m so excited for Alter Bridge to release their fourth studio album that I can hardly contain myself, loyal fans can be prepared for more talent, guitar riffs, angelic lyrics and astounding vocals. For new fans hold on to your earphones/headphones and be prepared to be inspired. They started writing on the 4th of January and the sessions seem to be going quite well.

Source: Alter-Bridge-FacebookThe band posted this picture on the 4th of January stating that writing has begun.

Source: Alter-Bridge-Facebook
The band posted this picture on the 4th of January stating that writing has begun.

Look at what Slash decided to tweet today, I was FREAKING out, just too bad I will have to wait more or less another two years before it happens. In case you were wondering thats me commenting like a crazy fan, that I just HAVE to see Slash play live. 😀

Source: Slash on Twitter

Source: Slash on Twitter

So seeing as it is 2013 I decided to share what I consider my rock music collection at present. Take a look!

My personal rock music collection

My personal rock music collection

My personal rock music collection

My personal rock music collection

My Slash Figurine (my prized possession)

My Slash Figurine (my prized possession)

All the best for the new year and thanks for reading!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K