Musician of the Week – Cello Player Perttu Kivilaakso

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From the very first time that I was exposed to Apocalyptica’s music, Perttu has fascinated me the most. At first it was for obvious reasons (:D), but he is an extremely talented musician.

The musical prodigy Perttu Päivö Kullervo Kivilaakso was born on the 11th of May 1978 in Helsinki, Finland. Like fellow band members Eicca Toppinen and Paavo Lötjönen he attended Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He started playing the cello when he was only 5 years old after witnessing his father Juhani Kivilaakso perform at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. Perttu joined Apocalyptica in 1994 when he was only 16. When the band started their professional career Perttu decided to concentrate on his studies. He won third place in the Paulo Cello Competition in 1996, and joined the Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra. Perttu attained a  lifetime chair in the Helsinki Philharmonic orchestra,  where his father, Juhani,is also a cellist. He played alongside his father and many other talented musicians. In 1999 Perttu rejoined the band when they were making preparations to record for the album “Cult” and he replaced Antero Manninen who left the band. He was on indefinite leave while he was touring with Apocalyptica,  but in 2007 he made the decision to leave the Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra and to concentrate on achieving international success with Apocalyptica.

Perttu was part of the band line-up when their third album “Cult” was released in 2000.

Perttu listened to opera since childhood and he is a true aficionado. His favourite composer is G. Verdi and favourite opera is Il Trovatore.
He loves metal (Amon Amarth, Judas Priest, Immortal, Testament, Slayer, Metallica, Napalm Death, Rammstein). He learned to appreciate rock (U2, Muse), blues (Aretha Franklin) and all sorts of music. Perttu likes to read a lot and his favourite author is JRR Tolkien, but he also likes to read books written by Stephen King and H.Hesse. Perttu’s other hobbies consist of watching horror movies and playing video games. Perttu is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and he has had 3 tattoos done to prove it. He has Aragorn’s sword tattooed on his left arm, Witch king of Angmar on his right shoulder, Aragorn and Arwen’s kissing scene on his left side. Perttu has composed music for the video game Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne, a few documentaries and he has done some original compositions for Apocalyptica including “Conclusion”, “Farewell” and “Beautiful”.

I find Perttu inspiring because he has dedicated his entire life to perfecting his craft. He has never denied an opportunity where he could gain more knowledge and experience to improve his skills. He has stopped at nothing to follow his dream and I think that is something that few people can attest to.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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Thirty Seconds To Mars debut “Up In The Air” video

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Thirty Seconds To Mars has just released their latest short film for their latest single “Up In The Air“!

A must see!

You can see the video here: http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/thirty_seconds_to_mars_debut_up_in_the_air_video?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=altpress

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month – In This Moment

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In This Moment is a heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Maria Brink along with guitarist Chris Howorth formed the band in 2005. In August 2005 Maria Brink and Chris Howorth met through common friends. They soon realised that they shared some common interests and they began writing songs together. They later recruited drummer Jeff Fabb and the band was named Dying Star. Unhappy with the direction their music took, they changed their name to In This Moment and the band gained two new members guitarist Blake Bunzel and bassist Josh Newell. The band recorded some demos and decided to post them on MySpace. Close to the end of 2005 Josh Newell left the band to focus on his other project Ketaset and he was replaced with producer Pascual Romero who was replaced with a friend of the band, Jesse Landry shortly afterwards. Rob “Blasko” Nicholson (Bassist for Ozzy Osbourne’s band) became the band’s manager after discovering them through MySpace.

By the end of 2005 In This Moment had generated a fan base through internet-marketing and DIY touring. They sparked Century Media Records‘ interest and the band gained a worldwide record deal.

Jesse Landry was replaced in 2009 with Kyle Konkiel and Kyle’s place was taken by Travis Johnson in 2010. Jeff Fabb and Blake Bunzel left the band in 2011 and Tom Hane and Randy Weitzel took their place.

In This Moment’s debut album “Beautiful Tragedy” was released on the 20th March 2007 and delivered the singles “Prayers” and the title track “Beautiful Tragedy”. Their debut album was produced by Eric Rachel and it joined sounds of metalcore and hard rock. To support the album the band performed on several tours including “The Hottest Chicks In Metal Tour 2007“, Ozzfest, Megadeth, Rob Zombie and the Ozzy Osbourne tour. They recorded a cover of Lacuna Coil’s Heaven’s A Lie with the band Manntis as a part of Century Media Records’s Covering 20 Years of Extreme cover album.

Their second album “The Dream” was released on the 30th September 2008.  “The Dream” debuted at number 73 on the Billboard 200 chart. “The Dream” was produced by Kevin Churko and the album took a less heavy approach. Forever was the first single released off of their second album. A cover of Blondie’s Call Me was released as the album’s second single. The cover is available on a special edition, titled The Dream: Ultraviolet Edition to coincide with Warped Tour, which included unreleased tracks and acoustic performances. In This Moment embarked on their first headlining tour titled A Winter to Remember Tour.

Maria Brink revealed the title of the band’s third album “A Star-Crossed Wasteland” on her website in February of 2010. The album was released on the 13th of July 2010. The album’s first single “The Gun Show” was released on iTunes on the 1st of June 2010. The album sold 10, 500 copies and the album debuted at number 40. On the 24th of September 2010 In This Moment released a video for their song “The Promise” shot and directed by David Brodsky.

Maria Brink was named the Hottest Chick in Metal at The Golden God Awards in April 2010.

In May of 2011 In This Moment announced that they were working on a new album due for a 2012 release. The band’s two founding members were not scheduled to be part of the recording due to the fact that they started working with James Durbin from September 2011. Later in 2012 the band supported Shinedown and Papa Roach on their US headlining tour along with Mindset Evolution. In This Moment was the supporting act for  Halestorm from November 8 to the 14th of December 2012.

Their fourth album “Blood” was released on the 14th of August 2012 and debuted at number 15. With the recording of their fourth album Maria has been quoted as saying that she has let go of the fear that constricted creatively. Through the creation of “Blood” Maria decided to disregard other people’s opinions about their music. There will always be people who either love it or hate it. They have performed at several notable tours and festivals namely, Ozzfest (2007, 2008), Warped Tour(2009) , Download Festival (2009), Mayhem Festival (2010), Music as a Weapon V (2011), Uproar Festival (2012) and they are set to play the Download Festival in 2013 as well. The band has tours lined up for March, April, May and June of 2013 with possible headlining tours in August and July.

I heard about In This Moment from a link that Brent Smith (lead singer from Shinedown) tweeted. The link led to In This Moment’s video for “Blood”. At first I hated the song and closed the video halfway through. Shinedown kept sharing photos and news about In This Moment and their tour together. I decided to watch the video again and the more I listened to the song the more I liked it. Later on I listened to it about 5 times a day. I couldn’t get enough of the power and energy that I experienced through their music. Its loud in your face and addictive. Maria is unique and she creates a great contrast to the other band members. I love to expext the unexpected from Maria. She is one of a kind and I always look forward to In This Moment’s music videos. I adore their latest single and music video “Adrenalize Me”. The song is sexy, energetic and features a great guitar solo.

I can’t wait to see what In This Moment will come up with next!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

You can follow In This Moment on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OfficialITM

Maria Brink - 05.09.2012by =sarahdope Source: http://sarahdope.deviantart.com/art/Maria-Brink-05-09-2012-301373438

Maria Brink – 05.09.2012by =sarahdope
Source: http://sarahdope.deviantart.com/art/Maria-Brink-05-09-2012-301373438

Guitarist of the Week – Mark Tremonti (Part 2)

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Continued from Part 1…

After Mark and Scott decided to call Brian Marshall to ask him if he would like to join them in their new endeavor. Brian accepted their offer and he decided to quit his band at the time called Head Heavy. They began auditioning singers for the  band asking potential vocalists to sing over demo tapes. Myles Kennedy auditioned and the band remembered him fronting The Mayfield Four as the opening act for Creed in the 1990s. They instinctively knew that Myles had the vocal range and tone that they were looking for. They flew him down and they got along so well that they asked him to join the band.

After juggling many different band names they finally settled on Alter Bridge named after a long-standing bridge near Tremonti’s childhood home in Detroit, just off of Alter Road. Parents forbade their children to cross the bridge as it led to the bad side of town. All of the band members were very excited to be on the verge of a new chapter in their lives.

While Mark Tremonti was between bands he got involved with Submersed a new band on Wind-Up’s label. Mark introduced Eric Friedman to the band who was impressed by his impressive guitar playing. Eric was then added as the band’s lead guitar player. Mark produced Submersed debut album “In Due Time”. The band opened for Alter Bridge’s US tour in 2004 & 2005. Eric ultimately left the band and the band was dropped from Wind-Up’s roster in 2008 and the band later broke up.

Alter Bridge entered the studio in 2004 to record their first album. The band turned in their first single and the producers edited the guitar solo out, the reason being that radio stations won’t play songs that have long guitar solos in it. Mark didn’t want to compromise and refused to surrender to their demands. Mark’s role in the band changed slightly from Creed’s setup. Mark contributed to many of the lyrics as well as more prominent backing vocals. “In Loving Memory” was a tribute to Mark’s deceased mother and “Shed My Skin” refers to the isolation Mark felt as a child when his family moved to Florida.

Alter Bridge’s debut album “One Day Remains” was released in August 2004. Their first single “Open Your Eyes” reached #2 on the mainstream rock chart. Alter Bridge began to build a fan base in the US as well as in Europe. Mark brought his brother Michael on as the band’s press and fan liaison as the band was about to embark on their tour. Alter Bridge mostly played small clubs and started earning acclaim for their live performances.

In 2005 “One Day Remains” has already sold 500 000 copies and reached Gold status. In 2005 Mark became a father to his first son Austen on the 24th of May. In 2006 Wind-Up was not providing adequate support due to its lack of mainstream success. Wind-Up wanted its much more profitable band Creed to reunite. Mark and Scott Phillips engaged in a multimillion buyout to release Alter Bridge from their recording contract. Alter Bridge funded the recording of their second album “Blackbird”.

Alter Bridge toured European Summer Festivals to keep going and when they returned to the States they tried to get signed by many record labels. They eventually signed with Universal Music who was happy to let the band keep up their creative independence. Mark became a father for the second time on the 19th of November 2006. The band completed Blackbird and their second album was released in October 2007. Blackbird was the first album where Mark incorporated a second guitarist whereas Myles contributed a lot of the songwriting, guitar layering and half of the title track’s guitar solo. The album achieved moderate success with the lead single “Rise Today” reaching number 2 on the mainstream rock chart. Alter Bridge continued to tour small clubs in the US, but they most notably gained more attention in Europe more specifically in the UK, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Alter Bridge often returned to Europe where they were able to play larger venues to fund the band financially, making them able to tour the US’s smaller venues as well. Danish pedal maker T-Rex Engineering offered Mark a signature phraser pedal in 2008.

In 2008 Mark decided to release an instructional DVD – “Mark Tremonti – The Sound and the Story”. The DVD has technique practice routines, songwriting tips, a documentary and guest lessons offered by some of Mark’s guitarist friends. Mark has always been a fan of instructional dvds and Mark’s brother Dan released the dvd from a guitar venture he launched called Fret12. Dan owns a media marketing company called Core12.

Alter Bridge decided to record a live dvd in 2008, they originally planned to film it at the Brixton Academy in London, but logistical issues forced them to move the shooting to the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. The venue can hold about 6000 people. The band once again experienced label trouble and the DVD was delayed multiple times due to Universal’s lawyers. The full dvd was not released until January 2011, two years after the concert was filmed. The concert-only version reached number 1 on Amazon.com’s music dvd charts.

Throughout Alter Bridge’s career the ex-band members including Mark sought to distance themselves from Creed. Creed was often ridiculed in the media and their hits were often parodied. Mark was often quoted as saying that a Creed reunion will never happen and after 5 years since the breakup it seemed like rumours of Creed’s reunion was a thing of the past.

Early in 2009 rumours started to surface that Creed will return and initially the band didn’t even know about the rumours. Scott Stapp‘s management got in touch with Alter Bridge’s management and arranged a meeting with Creed’s ex-bandmembers. Scott Stapp apologized for his behaviour that caused the downfall of the band, saying that the past 5 years have changed him. Mark and Scott both had families now and both have matured. They decided to put the past behind them and before long the band decided to practice some of their old songs together. The first song they practiced was “My Own Prison” and the moment they started playing together the bond that they had as a band was reestablished. They knew they had to set up a tour and they started planning a 2009 summer reunion tour.

With a tour coming up Creed decided to write an album to support the tour. The first song that they wrote was “Full Circle” which was a reflection of Creed’s rebirth. After they completed the album, the band embarked on their first tour in six years with Mark bringing along Eric Friedman to play rhythm guitar.

“Full Circle” was released in October 2009 on Wind-Up Records and although it was Creed’s least-successful selling album it still reached number 2 on the Billboard 200 beaten only by Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” album. Creed recorded their first live dvd in Houston, Texas. At the end of the show the band received a Guinness World Record for the most cameras (239) ever used in a live recording. The dvd was released in December 2009.

After Creed’s 2009 tour, Alter Bridge began to work on their third album, internally codenamed ABIII. The band was once again faced record label issues and decided to fund the recording for ABIII themselves. Alter Bridge eventually landed on Roadrunner Worldwide, everywhere except the US where the album was released on Alter Bridge Recordings via Capitol Records a subsidiary of EMI.

After calling it ABIII for so long the band decided to name their third album ABIII. The album was released in October 2010 in Europe and November 2011 in the US. The album received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The album’s material was affected by the band’s frustrations on the music industry and Myles’s struggle with faith. Their first single off of the third album “Isolation” slowly gained momentum on the charts until it reached Number 1 on Mediabase’s Active Rock chart, as well as Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it stayed for four weeks straight. In 2011 PRS refreshed the Tremonti SE guitar by providing new colours and incorporating bird inlays.

While on tour with Alter Bridge Mark solidified his intentions to make a solo album, with Eric Friedman joining the project as well as former Submersed drummer Garrett Whitlock. Mark’s solo album “All I Was” was released on the 17th of July 2012 by Fret12 Records. He decided to make a solo album, because he writes so much material and some of it is not suited for Alter Bridge or Creed. All I Was was produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette and the album shows prominent speed metal influences.”Wish You Well” the third single released off of the solo album was written by Mark when he was only 13, he released a demo recording of the song which was recorded in 1987.

Mark is known to be a collector of pinball machines and he is a car enthusiast. When he is on tour he will make an effort to fly back for his son’s birthdays.

Mark is well on his way to cement his name into the list of history’s great guitarists. A true idol that any musician can look up to, he is a hard worker and passionate about music. I hope that he will create music in any shape or form for many years to come.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K