Band of the Month – Airbourne

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Airbourne formed in 2003 as a hard rock band hailing from the Victorian town of Warrnambool, populated by 32,000 people. At a very early age Joel ‘O Keeffe’s main interest was listening to the albums that he had stolen from his uncle which included bands like Rose Tattoo, AC/DC, The Angels, Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs and Cold Chisel. By the tender age of 11 Joel had picked his first guitar trying to emulate his Oz-rock idols. Joel’s younger brother Ryan was paying close attention to Joel’s hobby and soon after he was under the same spell as his brother. Ryan started playing drums at the age of 11 and started rehearsing with his now 15-year-old brother much to the delight of their neighbours who was constantly calling the cops due to the noise. Joel met David Roads when the two worked at the Hotel Warrnambool. The pair brought their guitars back to work and started jamming after their shifts ended. Bassist Justin Street was recruited in 2003, whom Ryan met after stumbling home after a party one night. Turns out he was interested in moving to Melbourne with the band.

It would be another nine months before the band would make the permanent move to Melbourne, so in the meantime they had to drive to the capital to play shows as regularly as they could, often returning to Warrnambool as the sun was coming up with $25 to their name and a full day of school stretched out before them. They were exposed of the realities of what it would be like to be a working rock ‘n roll band in Australia. In early 2005 the band relocated to Melbourne. The band found a four-bedroom home and started playing gigs relentlessly. Ryan claims that they attacked Melbourne putting up a posters for every gig they were playing and if it got ripped off they will just replace it. They had to walk, because they couldn’t afford a car. In March 2004 the band won a state-wide band competition Push-On in Melbourne. The band recorded an eight-track extended play Ready To Rock which appeared in July 2004 as an independent self-funded release. In August, they signed a five album record deal with Capitol Records. According to Joel while the band were living in a shared house they threw a party and while listening to a Krokus CD a blown fuse resulted in a fire burning the back part of the house.

Gigs at Melbourne pubs became stadium shows and the band even supported The Rolling Stones and Motley Crϋe. Given that the band had only released one EP (Ready To Rock) it was an amazing feat. National tours with the likes of Dallas Crane, Jimmy Barnes, The Living End, You Am I and Magic Dirt helped further hone their rowdy live show. A main stage slot at the 2006 Big Day Out festival cemented the band’s role as one of the country’s fastest rising bands.

Airbourne always go on stage to try to prove to the public and their audience how good rock ‘n roll music is.

In 2006 Airbourne got their big break after they started to receive a lot of attention from international record labels. They relocated to the States to start working with legendary producer Bob Marlette.  His credits include albums by Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Shinedown. Airbourne started with a lengthy pre-production stint narrowing down 40 songs to only 11 songs which would eventually appear on “Runnin Wild“. The band enlisted Andy Wallace (Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Linkin Park, Slipknot) to mix the album to make sure that their immense live energy translated to CD. Runnin Wild released in Australia on the 23rd of June 2007. In February Capitol Records had cancelled their contract with the band, but their album was still issued in Australia through EMI. In 2007 Airbourne attracted the attention of Roadrunner Records’ A&R man Ron Burman in New York and secured a worldwide record deal in July. During late 2007 ,  the group toured the United States supporting Kid Rock and Korn. In September 2007, they issued a five-track live extended play “Live At The Playroom“.  Runnin’ Wild was issued in North America, Europe and Japan in January 2008, after which they relocated permanently to the US. The album reached the Top 100 on the UK albums chart and appeared on the Billboard 200. In November at the Astoria in London, Dan Hawkins (Stone Gods/The Darkness) joined Airbourne played the AC/DC song “Whole Lotta Rosie”, Hawkins played Joel’s guitar while Joel sang without any guitar.

One of Ryan’s ears blew out, because he had his headphones on too loud! So he recorded the album with the use of only one ear.

In January 2009 David Roads confirmed that Airbourne would enter the studio to start recording their second album No Guts. No Glory. The album was produced by Johnny K, mixed by Mike Fraser and was released on 8 March 2010 in the UK, Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and released on the 20th of April in the US. The album reached the top 20 on the ARIA Albums Chart, and top 20 on albums charts in Austria, New Zealand, Finland, Greece, Sweden and Switzerland. In the UK the album peaked at No. 31, while on the US Billboard 200 it reached the top 100. The band went on a UK Tour supporting Iron Maiden on their Final Frontier World Tour from July to August 2011.

In November 2011 it was announced on the band’s official Facebook page that the band had started working on a new album mid-2011 and that updates were to follow soon. The album’s name Black Dog Barking was revealed in early February 2013 on their Facebook page. The album was released on the 21st of May 2013 via Roadrunner. The cover artwork was created by Australian artists The Sharp Brothers who also created the cover artwork for the No Guts. No Glory. album. According to David Roads , the idea behind the album title was to use the black dog as a metaphor for the bands’ ability to break the rules. At the end of 2013 the band toured Europe and supported, among others, Swedish band Corroded.

Airbourne’s music carries a distinct 80’s rock flavour which is really unique in today’s market. They are a passionate, determined band, which they convey through their energetic live performances. Airbourne draws inspiration from classic rock bands without being false. The band is keeping the spirit of classic rock alive in the 21st century.

You can follow Airbourne on Twitter here:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Lead Vocalist of the Week – M.Shadows

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Matthew Charles Samuels was born on the 31st of July 1981, better known as M.Shadows the lead vocalist and songwriter for the American heavy metal band, Avenged Sevenfold. M.Shadows posesses the voice type of high baritone. A baritone is a classical male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voice types, the baritone is the most common male voice type. He is well-known for his gritty singing style and occasional screaming.

M.Shadows started singing at an early age, but his interest in rock music grew as he got older and started playing the guitar. His early musical experience with the piano, had a strong influence on his guitar playing and singing voice. He attended Huntington Beach High School where he played in a punk band called “Successful Failure” for a brief period. M.Shadows later formed Avenged Sevenfold in 1999 along with his high school friends Zacky Vengeance, The Rev and Matt Wendt. Soon after one of The Rev’s friends joined the band as the lead guitarist. In 2001 the band released their first studio album called Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, the album gained mixed to positive reviews from critics. The band released their second album Waking The Fallen in 2003 and the band played the Vans Warped tour later that year. While discussing the band’s name, M.Shadows says that all the band members had the task of coming up with a list of names and he was the only one who completed the task. Avenged Sevenfold is a reference to the Book of Genesis, a name that the band  preferred over Lips of Deceit, another biblical note.

M.Shadows like the rest of the band has stage names, because many of the bands that inspired them for example Slash from Guns ‘n Roses and Munky of  Korn had stage names. He decided on the name M.Shadows, because he felt like the darker character of the group and he used M instead of his first name Matthew due to the way it sounded.

Shadows’ vocal style has evolved over the years, initially on the band’s first album he used a harsh metalcore-style growls with limited use of clean vocals. The release of the band’s second album demonstrated his progression towards melodic vocal melodies but still retained a strong screaming influence. With the release of City of Evil the band’s first major label release in 2005 featured minimal background screaming, stronger vocal melodies and increased attention on harmonies and melodic hooks. This change resulted in vocal contributions from each band member during live performances and remained prevalent on every album the band has released since 2005 with two exceptions being God Hates Us and Not Ready To DIe which returns to the band’s style of their earlier releases between 1999 – 2003.

One of M.Shadows biggest influences is Guns ‘n Roses, he cites them as the reason for him being in a band and writing music in the first place. He was also influenced by bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne and Pantera. M.Shadows says that Megadeth are the reason they incorporated a classic metal sound into their music, because that type of sound crosses over and extreme metal doesn’t.

Some might say that these influences was what lead to Machine Head frontman Rob Flynn calling “Hail To The King” a covers album. Rob went as far as to list 10 jokes about the album and the similarities the album/songs have with other classic rock bands. After Chris Jericho (Fozzy singer/WWE Wrestler) made M.Shadows aware of the comment he responded to the claim by shrugging it off and taking it as a joke. He has met Rob on many occasions and he says that Rob has always been friendly to him. As a joke M.Shadows thinks Rob might have gone a little overboard, but he realizes that everyone has their own opinion.

I decided to feature M.Shadows on the blog when I saw a screenshot of their “Hail To The King” music video on I was very impressed with the video’s style and the execution. I will admit that I was pretty intrigued by M.Shadow’s long hair, although the overall verdict on YouTube didn’t sound as positive. I’ a sucker for a guy with long hair!

The following quote was taken from an interview M.Shadows had with Metal Injection:

“We feel that metal dropped off after the ’90s in terms of production and songwriting,” Shadows said after naming the likes of Pantera, Metallica and Megadeth as the new record’s main influences. “Metal music isn’t at the forefront as much as it used to be.”

The vocalist elaborated further, “We wanted to write a record that was highly influenced by the early ’90s records and mid-’80s records we grew up on. Then we went back even further and were influenced by [Black] Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. We studied those records, looked at what they were doing and how they were doing it. A lot of them came out of the blues, so we studied the blues and classical music. We just wanted to write a record that was different.”

View the latest video from Avenged Sevenfold here:

You can follow the band on Twitter here:



Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Vocalist of the Week – Cristina Scabbia

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Cristina Adriana Chiara Scabbia was born on the 6th of June 1972 in Milan, Italy. As a child Cristina was influenced by all different genres of music, but one of her first influences was Genesis, Led Zeppelin, AC-DC, and traditional Italian music. She has 2 brothers and a sister, all of them had different tastes in  music. Christina started listening to metal music in her 20’s.

In 1991 Cristina started singing professionally as a touring musician for other bands and mostly provided backing  vocals. Later that same year she met male vocalist Andrea Ferro and Marco Coti Zelati from the band which was formerly known as Sleep of Right. The band later changed their name to Ethereal. In 1996 the band changed their name for a third time after a Greek band had already claimed the name Ethereal. Lacuna Coil is a mix of Italian and English words and can be translated as Empty Spiral.  Cristina was first employed only as a session singer. She was initially only employed to give backing vocals for the choruses of the songs that was going to be on their demo tape. The band started to like the way the male/female vocals sounded together and asked Cristina to become a permanent member. The band recorded a two track demo tape in May of 1996 and they were soon signed by the German branch of Century Media, eventually joining the American branch as well.  In 1997 Lacuna Coil played their first live concert supporting their label-mates Moonspell. Anxiety, stage-fright and intense emotions led to the break-up of the band.  Their debut self-titled EP was recorded at the Woodhouse Studio in Hagen, Germany. Shortly after, there came the departure of bandmates Raffael Zagaria, Claudio Leo, and Leonardo Forti. After several changes to the band’s line-up, only three members from the original line-up was left, namely Andrea, Marco and Cristina. Cristiano ‘CriZ’ Mozzati (drums) and Cristiano ‘CriZ’ Mozzati (guitar) officially joined the band in 1998. Not long after their second tour they recorded their debut album, In A Reverie, adding another guitarist Marco Biazzi in the process. Since then the band has released 5 more studio albums.

Cristina started dating guitarist Marco Coti Zelati around about 1994, their relationship lasted about 10 years and they went through an engagement period before they broke up. They still remain friends and professional partners. Cristina is currently dating James Root, one of the musicians from Slipknot and Stone Sour. Cristina writes an advice column in the popular rock magazine Revolver alongside musician Vinnie Paul.

Cristina has been featured as a guest artist several times.

Watch Over You – Alter Bridge

Basta! – L’Aura feat Rezophonic

S.O.S. (Anything But Love) – Apocalyptica

A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free) – Megadeth

Can You  Hear Me? – Rezophonic

I’m That – Franco Battiato

Nell’acqua – Rezophonic

Cristina’s family is very supportive of her endeavours and has had faith in her abilities as a musician ever since she joined the band. Cristine enjoys watching movies, photography, shopping, cooking and spending time with her friends and family. Her favourite sport is soccer and she supports AC Milan. When she is in the United States she enjoys watching the Food Network and she is a fan of Emeril. She enjoys watching Giada De Laurentiis’ program Everyday Italian and Rachael Ray’s program 30 Minute Meals. She took an interest in PETA when a friend showed her a video of animal cruelty. She would like to tell people who although fur has a certain aesthetic appeal, you could still get the same effect without killing animals for their fur. She claims she has a lot of faux fur jackets that you can’t even tell are fake. At the moment Cristina’s favourite bands are said to be Depeche Mode, Linkin Park, Korn and InFlames. Her favourite colours are red, black and white, her favourite Lacuna Coil album is Unleashed Memories. Her favourite singers are Tori Amos and Skye of Morcheeba

Cristina first came to my attention when she appeared as a guest artist on Apocalyptica’s S.O.S (Anything But Love). Her voice is clear, powerful and captivating. You can check out the video for the song here:

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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’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


Front(wo)man of the Week – Hayley Williams

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Hayley Nichole Williams was born on the 27th of December 1988 and she is currently best known as the lead singer of American rock band Paramore.

After her parents divorced in 2002 at the age of 13, Hayley moved from her hometown, Meridian, Mississippi to Franklin, Tennessee. Before she was discovered Hayley was frequently bullied as a teenager and she was very timid growing up. She met band members Josh and Zac Farro in her new school. While still attending school Hayley tried out for a local funk cover band The Factory where she met Jeremy Davis.

In 2003 Hayley Williams was discovered by managers Dave Steunebrink and Richard Williams. They signed Hayley who was 14 years old at the time to a two year production deal. Hayley was introduced to Atlantic Records A&R Tom Storms by  Richard Williams’ attorneys Jim Zumwalt and Kent Marcus and eventually was signed to the label by Jason Flom. The label’s original plan was to turn Hayley into a solo pop artist, but she rejected this by saying that she wanted to be part of a band and play alternative rock music.

Atlantic decided to go along with Hayley’s wishes and Paramore was born as a result. The band consisted of Josh Farro (lead guitar/backing vocals) , Zac Farro(drums) and Jeremy Davis (bass guitar) at the time. For the sake of the image of the band it was decided that it would be better to have their music released through a cooler niche label called “Fueled by Ramen”. Paramore’s debut album was released in 2005 when Hayley was just 16 years old.

In 2007 Hayley appeared in the music video for New Found Glory’s “Kiss Me”. Hayley won Kerrang!’s 2008 poll for “Sexiest Female” and again in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Hayley wrote and recorded the song “Teenagers” which appears on the soundtrack for the movie “Jennifer’s Body”. In 2010 Hayley appeared on alternative rapper B.o.B’s debut album “B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray“. The single “Airplanes” was hugely successful and peaked in the Top 10 in 19 countries including number 1 in the UK and New Zealand.

In 2006 Paramore started touring outside of the United States for the first time, which included a headlining tour in the UK supporting The Blackout on the Give It A Name Festival in Europe.

The band has released three studio albums All We Know Is Falling, Riot! and Brand New Eyes as well as 2 live albums and 3 EPs. In June 2009 Taylor York was added as an official member, even though he was playing as a touring member with the band since 2007.

In December 2010 two of the founding members (Josh and Zac Farro) of the band left. It was announced on Paramore’s website by Hayley. Josh posted a controversial blog post confirming their departure.

Paramore almost ended entirely, but it took a while for the band to get used to the new lineup and they decided to continue playing music. The band went on a mini tour of South America just to ease back into playing live and getting used to the new lineup.

The band wrapped the recording of their fourth album which is self-titled “Paramore” on the 1st of November 2012. The album will be released on the 9th of April 2013. Their first single called ” Now” was released on the 22nd of January 2013. Paramore will start touring in the early spring after the album comes out. The band is still looking for a drummer, but as far as the touring goes Paramore’s crew is pretty permanent.

The music video for the latest single from Paramore “Now”. I love the message behind the video and the video itself is captivating.

Hayley’s voice is crisp, clear and angelic, but the contrast her voice creates when combined with alternative rock music is fantastic! I can see why the music industry wanted to turn her into a solo pop artist, but I’m so glad she stood her ground.

You can follow Hayley on Twitter:

You can follow Paramore on Twitter:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K


Paramore - Hayley Williams by ~madradjessicaSource:

Paramore – Hayley Williams by ~madradjessica




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:

You can follow Eric Friedman on Facebook:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

eric friedman 1

Eric Friedman of Creed by AlfieLipa, on Flickr

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)

Frontman of the Week – Shaun Morgan

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Today I’m proud to feature a talented local musician (fellow South African)from the rock band Seether. Shaun Morgan Welgemoed was born on the 21st of December 1978, he is widely known as the lead singer and lead/rhythm guitarist for Seether. All of his early life was spent in South Africa, his parents divorced when Shaun was still a child. At the tender age of 14 Shaun heard Nirvana’s Nevermind album for the first time, which inspired him to become a musician.He began to play the guitar by first learning to play “Polly” by Nirvana before starting to piece together bands that he could play with. His biological father did not approve of his son playing in bands, so Shaun ran away from home in order to cut a demo while living in friends’ garages and even their cars. Shaun eventually returned home to Pietermaritzburg to live with his mother and stepfather. He started playing in bands again, but quit playing music after three years, because he wasn’t making any progress.

Shaun is one of three children, he has a sister called Lucy and a brother Eugene who passed away in 2007. Shaun attended Maritzburg College (which was renowned for their sports) in Pietermaritzburg where he showed promise as a front-row rugby player for his age group’s top teams in his first 3 years in highschool. In his third year as a rugby player Shaun injured his back and he was forced to give up the sport. Rugby is a hugely popular sport in South Africa.

Prior to forming Saron Gas, Shaun was a member of a tribute band that used to play covers of songs from Metallica and Korn. In May 1999 Shaun became the rhythm guitarist and back-up vocalist of Saron Gas. Four other members excluding Shaun formed the line-up for the band which included a female vocalist, drummer, bassist and a lead guitarist. However the vocalist and the guitarist didn’t attend the band’s first practice, the remaining members decided to form a three-piece with Shaun on lead vocals and guitar. Saron Gas had moderate success up until the point where the bass player decided to quit in January 2000 which forced Shaun to find a replacement. Shaun Morgan phoned the only other good bass player he knew which was Dale Stewart. Later that year Saron Gas released their debut album entitled ‘Fragile’.

In January 2002 the band relocated to the United States where they signed with Wind-Up Records. During this time the original drummer for the band decided to return to South Africa where the two remaining members had to fulfill Wind-Up Record’s request to come up with a different name for their band. The band agreed on Seether named after a song performed by the band Veruca Salt. Due to the fact that Americans had a hard time pronouncing Shaun’s surname ‘Welgemoed’, Shaun decided to use his middle name as his last name while performing, which is more convenient. Seether released their debut major-label album called ‘Disclaimer’ on the 20th of August 2002.

Shaun Morgan has a daughter named Jayde Fourie-Welgemoed with his first wife Jill Hollon with whom he split in 2002. From 2003 to 2005 Shaun Morgan dated Evanescence’s lead singer Amy Lee. The relationship ended bitterly and Amy Lee eventually admitted that their song ‘Call Me When You’re Sober” was written about her relationship with Shaun Morgan. Shaun had a brief stay in rehab in August 2006 for alcoholism. Shaun’s rehab stint began on the same day that the Evanescence track in question was released to the nation’s rock radio stations. Shaun Morgan was not happy (to say the least) about the fact that Amy released intimate details about the couple’s relationship, he claimed that the song followed him around for a year and has haunted him ever since, influencing his reputation in a negative way. Shaun Morgan was not interested in a public response to the song and preferred to avoid any Amy Lee references on their album ‘Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces‘ as he didn’t have the need to write back and be mean. Shaun added that if there was any references in the album it would refer to his most recent ex which he claims was a horrible relationship. “Amy and I, at our worst moments, were still better than this last girl and I at
our best moments.” – Quote source, article by Chris Harris

In September 2006 it was reported that Shaun was engaged and was about to become a father once again. His fiancé gave birth to a son named Bowie in November 2006. In August 2007 Shaun’s brother Eugene sadly comitted suicide just a few weeks before ‘Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces‘ was set to be released. Eugene’s death was reported by Rapid City Journal, who stated that he had jumped to his death shortly after midnight on Monday 13th August 2007 from an 8th-floor window in Radisson Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota.   Shaun has 1308 tattooed on his four right fingers and 2007 on his left four fingers in tribute to the day that Eugene died. Seether’s song ‘Rise Above This’ is a tribute to Eugene, I have always really loved this song and it just means so much more after I learned about the subject matter. This song will never lose its potency and power, a true classic. Another song was written about Eugene on Seether’s latest album ‘Holding on to Strings Better Left to Fray” called “Pass Slowly”. In March of 2011 Shaun became a father for the third time when his daughter Gracelee was born.

In addition to their major-label debut album Disclaimer, Seether has released three more studio albums Karma and Effect (2005), Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces (2007) and Holding On to Strings Better Left to Fray in 2011. In addition to these albums they released a compilation album titled Disclaimer II in 2004 and the live cd/dvd One Cold Night in 2006. In 2009 Seether released the original track titled “No Shelter”, the cover of George Michael’s Careless Whisper which was a huge hit and received a lot of radio airplay in South Africa especially and lastly “I’ve got you under my Skin” a Frank Sinatra cover.

Shaun Morgan is known for his raw, emotionally charged and aggressive voice paired with Seether’s equally powerful teeth clenching rock songs. Seether appeals to quite a wide range of tastes, they have hard rock songs, ballads and rock/pop hybrids in their reportoire of songs which make them all-rounders in the rock genre. Definitely a band that have moulded themselves into a successful rock act.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Shaun Morgan

Shaun Morgan
Photo Credit: Sean Derrick

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I came across this gem where Seether performs Nutshell by Alice in Chains with Shinedown,

two great bands performing together is always a treat!