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X-DRIVE : "Get Your Rock On"
X-DRIVE - - is the lovechild of lead guitarist Jeremy Brunner (long-time underground hero) and he's got the excellent Keith St.John of Montrose, Burning Rain, Lynch Mob fame as lead vocalist. Add to this bassist James Lomenzo of White Lion and Megadeth and drummer Fred Fischer (Midline, Cure For The Fall) and get ready for the groove. It's basically a rocking good time with no intention to save the world or experiment with sounds from the darkest depths of the sea. It's been nicely produced by the late Led Zeppelin engineer Andy Johns and the CD contains well-crafted melodies that draw influence from the bluesy as well the melodic side of hard rock (Wild Horses meets Hardline meets Shark Island meets Lynch Mob). Find out more about the album, here's the man of the moment: Jeremy Brunner
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
Excellent. I'm thrilled. I'm just so glad it's finally finished. All of the reviews have been more than kind.
What can you tell us about your personal background and music(al) history?
Really isn't much to it, I originally started on piano, then moved on to guitar. I had no formal guitar training but did learn alot from a series of audio cassettes called Learn to Burn. Then later just learned songs by ear. Then from all of those techniques and different styles started doing my own thing with them.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish?
I guess I started getting serious about recording in the early 2000's. At that time I was working with some musicians from the LA area who were flying to Oregon. I did that on and off for years until about 2009 or so. Then I just decided I wanted to finish it and moved to LA.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to recording
I wanted it to sound like the Lynch Mob Wicked Sensation album, especially the drums and the guitar. But also wanted that early Van Halen raw, four guys in a room playing together sound. I guess those are totally opposite but somewhere in between, where one production style meets the other.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process? (the late Andy Johns of Led Zeppelin fame)
Andy had alot of input, the songs were basically done when Andy came onboard. But he kind of went through them and fine tuned them, tweaked things, and had me add new things. For example he had Keith add more background vocals and had me record alot of 12 string guitar. Andy loved to do overdubs.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Honestly I would have preferred Andy to mix the entire album as that was the original plan, but unfortunately he fell ill. But he was able to mix a version of California which is available as the digital bonus track on iTunes and Amazon. It's also the version featured in the music video. Me and Andy really clicked and he really understood the sound I was going for. All of that aside, nothing against Wyn and I think he did a pretty bang up job mixing and mastering the album.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
When I first started working with Andy I wanted to have Fred go back and retrack all of the drums with Andy producing/engineering so we could get that famous Andy Johns' drum sound. But Andy told me it was a waste of time and money so it never happened. As for guitars I plugged in to an analog preamp and used all Protools plugins. Mostly Line 6. Andy didn't care for the plug in sound and we were going to reamp it but that never happened either. So there was no miking.
Please inform us about your favorite songs off the album.
Obviously I like them all but I think Keith really shines on 'Change Of Heart'. Also 'Steppin' On The Rock' is a really dark song with a cool heavy riff. 'Lay Me Down' is another favorite, I thought the bass came out great on that one.
Any overall theme of mood/sound that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Not at all, nothing I do is pre determined. I never really sit down and deliberately set out to write a song in a specific mood or sound. You just jam and whatever comes out, comes out. Once I come across something I like I do put some thought into song structure such as how the song builds, breakdown etc. But as far as the original riffs and ideas, I have no idea where those come from.
What's the story behind your moniker?
Keith came up with the name for the project. You'd have to ask him to expand on the meaning.
How did you hook up with singer Keith St.John (Montrose, Burning Rain) and bassist James Lomenzo (White Lion, Megadeth, etc).
I had auditioned alot of different singers but none of them really fit. So while on the hunt for the right singer somewhere along the line I was given Keith's number, started talking to him, sent him a track, he sang on it, sent it back, and as soon as I listened to it I knew he was the right guy. Then in 2010 Keith was singing for Lynch Mob and James Lomenzo was the bassist at the time, I went to the show and struck up a conversation with James afterwards and the rest as they say is history.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
As far as guitar heroes go I'd have to say Eddie Van Halen and George Lynch.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do
It's been good talking to you and thanks for your support and interest in the project. Get Your Rock On!!