Johnny Gioeli


Johnny Gioeli - Hardline (2002)


I caught up with Johnny at this year's Gods 2002 Festival, but didn't get a chance for that interview. Instead, I talked to Johnny a few weeks ago via phone, catching Johnny hard at work in the office...

I may get interrupted once or twice so you'll have to bear with me. This week Andrew you just wouldn't believe what's happened with my business. I have over 100,000 orders this week.

Are you serious?
I am dead serious as a heart attack. I have a client who has a huge hit, a television hit. It's a tiny Portable sewing machine and we can't keep up with the orders. We can't produce them fast enough in China.
It's just unbelievable and that's just what's on backorder. For the weekend we sold 30,000 of the things.

Someone's getting rich quick?
Yup. We're all taking a piece of that action. You take it when you can because these television Infomercials have a life expectancy of about 8 months. If you get a year out of them that's great.

So the business that you and Joey set up is really happening for you?
Yeah it's out of control. Seasonally we average about 100 employees. We have 30,000 square feet of offices alone and we have distribution centers. But I kill myself. People say you have all these managers why don't you just take off and relax a little. It's not my personality. You have to watch like a hawk, you have to watch what's going on. Day to day this business changes. I could come in here and have a huge batch file of 40,000 orders or whatever and so it's completely wild what's happened.

The first time I talked to you, you had just expanded and things were going pretty well.
Yeah now it's out of control. I didn't get out of here till frigging 8.30pm last night. I was in at 7am, it's a long day.

So how amongst all of that did you find time to record?
I'll tell you exactly what I did man. I'd work a full day here, go home and share a little dinner with my family, throw some water on my face and do it. Pretty much just went for it. We'd work till 2am, 3am, 4am in the morning, go home and then get up and do it all over again. This record almost fucking killed me mate.
As we've talked about previously, I didn't want to do this record, my wife said you know what else are you going to take on this is too much. So whatever the wife says I do the opposite. In the long run if I think about it now that I'm finished and I'm happy with the result the pain goes away. I mean in the middle of it I was kicking myself saying that my wife was right that this record was going to kill me. You know you think you are full of all this energy and you can do it. Hey it kicked my arse. But I did have fun doing this record. This project was definitely the least amount of stress and it was painless. The songwriting and the actual recording process so painless and really easy.

Where did you know Bob Burch from?
Bob is actually a good friend of Joey Taffola and that's how I met Bob. Bob is very well known in the heavy Christian scene. Kind of like the Linkin Park of Christian music. Yeah he does some stuff that is just out of control. You know Track One on Hardline, ' Hold Me Down' times a thousand.
We got along really well and he was the twist that I really wanted to put in this record. I wanted Bob and his flavoring to the record.

The album does have a modern edge.
Yeah it sure does. What do you think of it though, really?

The album is great I love it.
You do, the album is different.

I'll be honest though, there's a couple of spots that I would have liked to hear something else of something a bit different. Some songs are freakishly good I'll tell you that. 'Why', 'Face The Night' and I love 'Only The Night'. 'The Way It Is' is great and 'Paralyzed'.
What do you think of 'Weight'? It sounds really great live. Now the more I listen to track Nine I wish we could have got it even heavier.

Johnny I've already written the review and you know what I said - I wish 'Weight' was heavier.
Yeah see me too.

I saw you guys live and my ears nearly bled because it was so heavy.

Don't worry there was only 2,000 to 3,000 people at the God's that heard it that heavy so many others that hear this are not going to have that comparison. I talked about the God's in the review but though that not enough people would have heard that so I took it out. I did leave in the comment that I thought that it could have been heavier.
Right, well just so you know we are on the exact same page. I actually sung everything on that record in the recording studio in my house and I'm telling you what's wild about that song is that when I sang this song I was in pure sweat. I went into the house and my wife said holy shit are you ok.
I said honey I just kicked shit out of this song. I said you know what I feel better. This was a song that stemmed from an argument I had with my wife and I compared the marriage and the situation to being physical weight on my shoulders.
It's what you are the weight. I wrote this song very quickly and when I sang it I was in a pool of sweat literally and it translated so frigging well. When we mixed it though it seemed to have smoothed out what was really aggressive. I listen to it and think fuck that's really not what I had on tape. What can you do, shit happens?

Isn't it strange how the process of recording does that sometimes?
Yeah kind of messed up the vibe a little bit. So just so you know it was more like the live thing it just didn't translate when we mixed it.

It has some radio potential I thought.
I think so.

So have a couple of other tracks on the album.
Yeah that song 'Weight' would be a good choice here in America. We're picky bastards over here. Hardline 2 would never be played over here, maybe at college level. Maybe some of the hard rock stations. Mostly because it's just stereotyped as an 80's style band. Even though a 'Weight' could easily compare to a Nickelback type of vibe.

Do you get frustrated is put into that category when your debut album wasn't even released in the 80's?
Yeah, I do. Even my friends say hey we love this 80's stuff and I'm like gosh damn it, it was 90's not 80's.
It's a bit frustrating for sure. My whole idea and the whole outcome I wanted for this record is that I can make music to make music. I don't have to rely on music to put bread on the table and I'm in a very fortunate place. The purpose of this record was to give true Hardline fans a chance to see where we left off and what we would have done.
I'm getting mixed comments on it, but that's cool we had mixed comments on the first record.

I've had a bit of feedback from the sound bytes on the site, which is a little bit mixed. I rate the first album as an absolute classic. Like you said though I've also heard mixed comments on that one.
I think the same people that thought the first one was classic will think the same of this and those not convinced last time won't be convinced this time.

Exactly right I've put this out there for Hardline fans and acceptance would be great but if they don't then that's fine too. I could give too shits about selling this record in America. It wouldn't work here.

You had your first taste of the European scene at the God's I take it, what did you take away from that?
Although my personal view on that show was that it was a fucking disaster. Oh God I couldn't hear myself, I had just gotten over a cold so my voice really wasn't in great shape for the show.
Would you like someone to tell you that you have to start in 30 seconds or you can't play? So there we are still plugging shit in and the cops are on their way. The audience didn't know all this but it was 30 seconds away from us not playing. They said the cops were on their way and it was something to do with the curfew. We were told you start in 30 seconds or we're pulling the plug.
So I can't hear myself and all my guys aren't settled and relaxed. It's very stressful and we don't have any water to drink and we have to try to pull off the show. That's why at first if you saw me running back and forth to the mixing guy I was yelling at him a little bit, nicely of course. I was trying to get it straight.

I was backstage for some of the show and I didn't know about any of it.
It was wild. My reaction to the vibe of the audience was great. It's a wonderful starting point to where I want to take it. Overall I had a blast.

You put together a new lineup; did you put a call to any of the original guys?
Well, I did. Neal and Dean. Dean was contacted first and although he was interested in doing it he was petrified that Neal would be pissed if he did it. Such baby bullshit and kind of hard to explain but for some reason Neal treats Hardline like a girlfriend he broke up with. Even though he broke up with her he's not real happy she's got a new boyfriend. Do you know what I mean. Kind of hard to put on paper. That's my analogy of how Neal reacts to Hardline. If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything.
I was disappointed because Dean really wanted to do it and from what Joey told me he was petrified of Neal's reaction. Then of course as you know I contacted Neal directly and he was all in favor of doing solos on the record based on him liking the songs. I said play on what you like and the fans will love it.
But I don't know if you want me to rehash how that went screwy.

I think we have covered that…
I had no way of knowing how to get in touch with Todd. I think he was back on the road with David Lee Roth. I just recently got word back from our keyboard player Michael that Todd would have been interested doing the record. It's a real kick in the ass but hey he couldn't have anyway being on the road.
I almost had the whole band back. I tried. I'll be honest with you Andrew, I tried for the Hardline fans.
It would have been nice for the fans to have the whole original group cut another record just like it should have been. I personally could care less I was only doing it for the fans. The Hardline 1 just so you know came about when Joey and I were putting a solo project together called 'Brothers' and it was going to be Hardline 1 and Neal was brought in to produce. Neal's brilliance with chord knowledge and his songwriting really gelled all three of us as writers.
We wrote a lot of material. Neal was actually having a great time and asked to join the band and we said no. I don't know if you ever recall hearing that. He wasn't too happy with that and at the time I think he was dating my sister, I don't think they were married, he said I can't believe you don't want me in the band. Well we had a different vision.
To cut a long story short I got with Joey and said look man it's not what we really wanted but he's a great musician and we're learning so much I don't think it could hurt anything let's give it a go. We're different but let's try it. The songs that are there 'Hot Cherie' and 'Can't Find My Way' these are all songs that came from Joey and I. This was our baby and this was going to be our solo record. Getting back to Hardline 2 I didn't really give a shit whether Neal was going to play or not. I think these songs are just as good as to whether Neal was playing or not in my opinion.

They're great songs. Neal has one co-writing credit on the album?
Yeah 'This Gift', which was actually recorded for the first record but we had so many good fucking songs on that record that we just didn't know what the hell to put on. Even 'Face The Night' was a song that I wrote that we recorded as Hardline 1 and didn't have space for that one either. 'Do Or Die' and 'Your Eyes' were also songs recorded for Hardline 1. So people are getting a real Hardline record.

The tracks on here are they actually the original recordings or the re-recordings?
No I re-recorded them. The only one that is original is 'The Gift'.
That is the actual demo of when Neal and I created that song. I thought that would be pretty unique. This is a piece of music that Neal handed to me just very unique and different and religious based. The premise of the song is that I was raised a very good catholic Italian boy and did all my Catholic schooling and to thank God for giving me a
Voice to sing and this was to sing back to him.

Is there a possibility of a Hardline 3?
With original members or this lineup?

Oh definitely. It's funny man you go through hell making a record and you're tired and this and that and the
Second it's done you want to start thinking about the next one. I am definitely thinking about the next one, it's in my brain. I have to make sure there's a level of acceptance that makes it worthwhile. I'm sure we're going to get that. If we don't sell any records I don't see a purpose in Hardline 3. I think our wonderful fan base will be the deciding factor on whether we do another record or not. I hope so cause I love making these records.

You've got one of the great rock n' roll voices I truly believe.
Thank you.

It's great to hear new stuff. I mean the Axel Rudi Pell stuff is great but he has such a distinct style.
Yeah it's different…that straightforward Metal kind of witches and dragons.

Are you going to be on Axel's live album? Is that recorded already or are you going to go over and do that?
You mean the DVD thing?

Yeah I'm on that.

It's already recorded?
Yeah we recorded it in Germany. So that's done. I think he went to Tenerife, that little island and they mixed it and all that kind of crap.

Are you guys going to release the live CD/DVD from The God's?
That's what I hear.

Still a plan then?
Yep still on plan. So I actually just signed off on some very important paperwork to make that happen.

Excellent. See people will get to hear 'Weight' that way.
Exactly, a good point.

'Face The Night' just went over so well.
You know I'll tell you what blew my mind is when we played 'Only A Night' and people were singing the lyrics and I thought what the fuck is going on. I forgot that it was released as a sampler. That blew my mind. I had a lot of fun when I figured it out and though oh you dummy.

You actually recorded a bunch of stuff for this record early didn't you, some heavier stuff? Bob mentioned it to me backstage.
Yes sir. That contributed to the long delay in getting this record out. It's because I had an entire record already to go in demo version. I'm just getting ready to record and Frontiers sent an e-mail and said I don't want any experimental shit I want Hardline. I sat back and thought well hey man this is ten years later this is who I am as a songwriter and I took a deep breath and then said you know what he's right. This record needs to be a Hardline record and I scrapped that whole thing. I then began to collect the old songs and new songs and worked from there.

So how many songs did you have in demo format, half a dozen?
Well I had a whole record; probably I actually had maybe 15,16,17 songs. I may turn those into a solo record someday. I've always wanted to do it. I could safely come out with it and call it Johnny, who the hell cares. Preview this music and people go holy hell I didn't know he had it in him kind of thing.

I'd love to hear that some time.
I'll see if I can get you some little snippets of that. You'll be blown away. It's pretty heavy stuff.

What happened to Joey Taffolla? Did he just do this original heavy material and then wasn't available for the next stage?
No basically he was involved in some of the writing for the heavy stuff. In a nutshell he also has a business that is also really busy and then we started to get some pressure to get the record finished. We wanted to get it into the Japanese record company hands as quickly as possible. They needed it to try and meet a deadline.
So I tried really hard to meet that deadline and we came really close but Joey wasn't able to let his schedule meet basically. He wanted a lot of time to do the solos and it was a lot of time I didn't have. So we kind of agreed to take a different path. So that's what we did.

In steps in Mr Ramos.
That's right. Yeah so I had to sit back and think who is talented and can emulate Neal Schon. Ding enter Josh Ramos.

He's good isn't he?
Even Neal said he is the perfect choice. He's like Austin Power's Mini Me. It's not that he copies Neal but stylistically the way he plays is very similar. We really were in the 11th hour and Josh recorded those
Solos in two evenings. He didn't hear anything just came out and said here play. If he'd really had the time to analyze and really get inside the song and work some stuff out it probably would have been beyond amazing.

He's a great guy too isn't he?
Yeah he's great, a really nice guy.

He was a bit sick at the God's too?
Yeah a little beat up. We were tired and having to wait around all day.

Michael Ross added a nice little dimension didn't he?
Yeah he sure did. The poor kids keyboards didn't work for the first three songs. So I felt so bad for him.
I always wanted to play with live keys but before Joey and Neal used to cover it on their guitars with guitar synth. I just think it adds a new dimension.

Yeah I think he does a really nice job on the 'Face The Night', the keys at the end of that.
Big time I agree.

You've got one of the best drummers in the business still.
Yep, I think so man. We go way back to the 80's and the Brunettes days. He actually played drums for several of the Brunettes shows. We had this little drummer guy and his name was Eric who was such a great kid but sonically he wasn't the greatest drummer but we didn't want to fire the kid we just wanted him to get better. We couldn't let him get better and risk failure for the group. It was a very weird situation that we created but Bobby actually played live shows with us. I'll never forget it because this kid Eric would go to the shows almost like he was studying and he put a fake cast on his arm. So he looked like he had a broken arm and that's why he couldn't do the show. Hilarious man. He was embarrassed but he knew he wanted to get better so Bobby filled in and he put a cast on his arm.
So we've know Bobby for a long time. We did this crazy Brunette movie called 'Smash, Crash and Burn'
With the Coppola family and Bobby cut all the drums on that record.

Oh you've never heard about this?

Back in around 1988 or 1989 Brunette the group I was in was hired to star in a film that Francis Ford Coppola's son Roman produced. It was the stupidest fucking movie. Kind of like 'Rockstar' but worse. Basically this group comes from the East Coast of the U.S and goes west and becomes famous and a girl tries to break up the group. It was one of those stories. We starred in it and we did an EP and Bobby cut the drums, Dana Strum From Slaughter produced it. It's funny we bring up Dana because it was Dana who brought the song 'Hot Cherie' to us. Yep. He was in a group called Danny Spanos and he said you guys should remake this song. This is a smash song. We listened to it and thought holy fuck this is a great song. The rest is history with that one.

I've got that LP; I'll have to go get it out now.
Did this movie ever get released?

No. We saw it and thought my God this piece of shit can't get out. They pretty much filed it away under garbage.

So you don't have a home video of it?
No. It's illegal. They wouldn't release anything in the fear that we may do something with it. So no absolutely not.

We could get some bootlegs going on the net or something!
Great, I'd laugh my ass off if I could see that.

I suppose we should do a track by track on the album.
'Hold Me Down'
I'll tell you a bit about personality, I'm an over achiever and there have been several people in my life that have tried to keep me from doing certain things. That's really the premise of this whole song. They keep trying but they can't succeed. That's what the song is about.
Simply a question that I ask myself about why things are the way they are so to speak. This song is about not really having an answer to the question. I hate doing these songs by song things because there are a lot of things that went through my mind when writing this stuff and I can't get it all out to you.
You know that was the only song written with an outside songwriter besides Neal.
Paralyzed was written with Mark Tanner who co wrote the song 'Everything' on Hardline 1. So I got back in touch with Mark and said I was doing another Hardline and I loved working with you on the first record and what do you have. So we worked together and came up with this. It's basically a chick song and totally engrossed in some one. I just thought it was a great rock song with a great hook to it. Mark Tanner's great, do you know who he is?

Yeah I'm a big fan of his work with 'Fiona'.
Yes of course.

I went out and brought 'The Calling' album purely because he produced it.
He's awesome.

Yeah very talented.
Again back in the 80's I used to write with him when we were going to do a deal with Capitol Records. He used to come over to my apartment and we used to sit and write lyrics together and he'd have to go and take a piss and he'd be so excited as he's pissing if he came up with a lyric that he'd piss himself. He would come back out to the lounge room and his pants would be all wet cause he'd pissed himself.
That's how into writing he is.

'Face The Night'
I wrote this song so long ago. I wrote it in 1987. Do you remember the original guitar player for Poison before CC Deville? I don't even remember his name that's how long ago it was. He quit the band to go back to his girlfriend in Pennsylvania. He literally gave up what might have been a wonderfully successful career with a lot of money and a lot of fame to go back there and start a family. That just took my balls off and I wrote the song. In the song lyrically when I say, " No matter what life could have bought me or brought me it bought me right back to you to face the night alone'. It was written because of that situation.
'Do or Die'
It was an inspired song when we had our LA riots. I could smell the burning from my house. It was when I was poor and nameless and had to live close to that area.
'Hey Girl'
I wrote this song about regret. One of my biggest fears in life because I am an over achiever is that I would not be fulfilled by not doing everything possible with my life. It was written in the context of somebody else not necessarily my life. They are looking at themselves saying do I like what I see. Am I really happy? Am I satisfied with life?
'Only A Night'
This was written a few years ago when I was preparing an easy listening album, a Christian based record. It's merely about having an opportunity to be with a person for just one night alone and life will change.
'Your Eyes'
It's a very simple tune. Also musically written year ago. It just means sometimes I get caught up in my own views and sometimes I need to step back and see things the way other people see them as well.
We all have our marital problems at times and I felt like I was carrying a tank on my shoulders.
'The Way It Is The Way It Goes'
It speaks for itself. A song about things I can't control. It's kind of funny how I turned this record into a concept record. Although some of these songs are happy there's a lot of negativity in here.
'The Gift'
That is the actual demo of when Neal and I created that song. I thought that would be pretty unique. This is a piece of music that Neal handed to me just very unique and different and religious based. The premise of the song is that I was raised a very good catholic Italian boy and did all my Catholic schooling and to thank God for giving me a
Voice to sing and this was to sing back to him.







Johnny Gioeli (2000)



So Johnny, the first question I should be asking you, is what have you spent your time doing with life after Hardline?
Well, me and Joey started an e-commerce company that's going real well.

In 2000 we're going public

What exactly is the company?
It's a company called FULLe-com. What we do is handle the complete end-to-end transaction for an Internet site. Pretty much the Internet company comes to us and we don't do anything on the front end, we don't build sites or anything like that. We're all back office. We'll handle all the credit card authorizations. We have 327,000 square feet of distribution. We ship the product direct to the consumer. We do all the data storage and online reporting. We run Internet business for about 600 corporations. We started in a little eight by eight office 2 years ago in a little 3 car garage. We have 55 employees just on this coast.
We have offices in New York and Vienna, Austria.

Who else is the 'we' in that?!
My brother Joey and myself run the company. Joey is CEO of the company. My sister is also involved.

You are either incredibly smart cookies or had some fantastic advice or both?
Well you what is funny is that, this business is no different to making and selling a record. You have a story to tell and you go into pre-production. You build the record and promote the shit out of it. You release the record or release the stock and try to support it by working your ass or. The process is very much the same. Joey and I were always the business guys in Hardline. It just comes very easy for us. I attribute a lot of it to timing. The first time in my life I was really in the right place at the right time.

Yeah ok. Now tell me you obviously don't need to make records for a crust anymore but it's good to still see you involved.
Yeah it's in the blood. I gotta do it.
You are right though - financially I don't have to perform or make a record for creating revenue. I still have to do it or I will die internally.

It was a several year gap between the Hardline and the Axel Rudi Pell album.
Yeah it was a bunch of downtime that's for sure. It was out of the frustration of the band life. It's not having control of where you're going. It was the most frustrating part of music for Joey and I. The other thing was the fact that we had to make music to make money. When we were kids making music for fun and creating something was everything. Then all of a sudden you are forcing yourself to pick up a guitar or forcing yourself to write something that someone is going to like. That's when we looked at each and thought this sucks. This whole thing just fucking twisted on us. It's not supposed to work this way. That's when we decided we have to make a move to something we can control and we tinkered around with some things. We owned some rehearsal studios and we had a snowboard clothing company. We tried many things and it was Joey's brainchild to tinker around with this Internet thing. We had no idea what a browser was or what Netscape was. We had no clue. So we shipped product. I don't know if you guys have a 1-800-FLOWERS down there. We ship their orders.

No, but I know what you mean though.
I have 27 distribution clients. It's amazing. We ship anything from candles and food. We ship those infomercial products you see on television. We ship all that shit.

That's fantastic.
Thank you. I was telling a friend of mine today who was asking me how my daughter is. Katie (Caitlin) is 3 and a half. I said who knows I've seen her literally about 3 hours all week. When I come home she has to go to bed. That part of it is not fun. It still beats touring though.

Let me take you back to the start quickly. I've got a couple of question to ask you here. You first got started with Brunette…Why didn't that ever come to fruition? Timing again?
Probably. I think from a songwriter's point of view we weren't there with the music. We were a little dated. Although we were packing them in Hollywood, we were breaking like The Doors records at the Roxy and the Whiskey on the strip. The record companies were just thrilled but they didn't quite get the music. Now I look back I can understand. It wasn't right for that period. We were a little dated. In my opinion I think that group had a serious chance because it was incredibly marketable. We had 17 feet of hair and everybody looked like a brother. It was a good looking band I think. Almost the entire audience was girls and not that I minded that at all. I don't think we brought in a good mix of people.

You need a balance I guess...
Yeah you do need that.

You did record demos for the band and they are quite well traded around the fans these days.
Yeah I've heard of a few bootlegs out there. I actually have some people that check on all these auction sites like E-Bay and see what the hell is going on. I'm finding stuff I never even new we had.

Is it worth thinking about releasing some of that stuff?
I think we'll just leave it alone. Eventually I have a goal to make a disgusting amount of money in this business that I'm in now and then get back to music. I want to get back to my roots to when I was making music just to make music. That to me would be the ultimate life. Stylistically and musically I don't know that I'd go back to that direction. I think I'm looking more to the rock/pop and big ballad kind of sound. Something a bit different to what people are used to me doing.

Hardline was obviously an incredible band. People that visit my site often vote that as a benchmark album to comparing other albums. Do you still get good feedback on the record?
Yeah, absolutely. I know that you are aware of Sons and Angels the JVC group are begging me to come over 2001 and revamp that Hardline stuff. So the Japanese fans of Hardline could witness what that sounds like live.
I may give that a go.

I caught your show in San Francisco back in '93 . It was Mr. Big and the Electric Boys. The band smoked on stage!
That was a great tour. The goal was to try and destroy Mr. Big!! (Johnny said this is good humor folks!!). That was a very good tour for our morale and our ego. Truly you caught me enjoying every gig on that tour. I've had some miserable tours. The one with Extreme in Europe I would rather have been chopped into little pieces and sent home in a bag.

Why's that?
It was one of those tours that didn't sound right. The fans were not our fans. Every night was a battle to win the fans over. I nearly had to pull my pants down to try and get a reaction. It was a bitch.

On this particular show I saw Neal steps aside and Sammy Hagar steps out. The crowd just went wild.
It was so funny I had talked to Sammy and said make sure you know your own lyrics. He said don't worry I got it. He comes out singing all the wrong frigging lyrics and Neal and I just look at each other. This guy he doesn't care (laughs).

I've still got a Dean Castonovo drum stick he pitched into the crowd.
Oh what a drummer he is.

He's a machine.
He is just a mind-blowing musician. He's over with Neal at the moment. They look like they're catching a good wave with this Journey thing. I think the last I heard from Neal was that they are potentially using some of the songs that Neal and I wrote for this record.

What happened with Hardline? Who dropped the ball?
Our AOR Paul Atkinson left the record company. The new guy that came in was Ron Overman. He was a very respected guy but the only one that didn't respect him was Neal. The first meeting we had Neal just went ballistic on this guy verbally and Andrew I'll never forget it I walked out the door and I told our personal manager that's it we're done.
The very next day we were done. So do I blame Neal. Yep I certainly do. Could we have stayed together as a band and re-shopped another deal. Yep. The sad thing about the Hardline deal was and I'm open to admit it once the money was gone the band was gone.
Neal, Dean and Todd had a lifestyle to keep intact. They weren't really willing to dig in the sewers like Joey and I did. It was a shame.

How much money did the album cost to make?
It was half a million.

It was way to much. We had a 12 million dollar record deal. It was one of the biggest record deals for a new band in a very long time in this coast.

Bloody hell...
Bloody hell exactly.

Well you didn't piss it away then obviously?
No Joey and I saved every bloody penny. I know many people that have just lost everything. I knew there was a life span of about 3 years and Joey and I had this pact that if we could eek out a solid 3 years of income by enjoying our music then we are done. We have nothing to be ashamed with. It was time to move on.
Do I miss it though. Yeah.
I'm going to be doing the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany. This is old school rock. You know I want to play but I can't get the hell away from the business right now. So it's a struggle but I hope to open that up.

After Hardline you guys had a second project?
What we tried to do was not to disappoint the fans. We had to music all ready to go for the second album but couldn't' convince anyone to record it. So we started regrouping it.
Joey and I were always the foundation of it anyway. Neal was only going to be a producer in that group. He wasn't going to be a player but he twisted our arms. We turned him down the first time. We didn't want him in the band we just wanted him to produce.
We had a different vision. But anyway we started to have kids, which didn't make us want to sit on a tour bus for a year. Joey actually has 3 kids now. So we tried you know.
I do feel that every one that brought the first record deserved to see us play live or witness a second record at least. I especially feel we ripped off the Japanese market. We sold a shit load of record in Japan and the deserved more music and a live show. Maybe before I check out I may be singing Hot Cherie when I'm 60 but I will do a live show for some of those people.

Axel Rudi Pell e-mailed me and was looking for a new singer and I put him in touch with James Christian who in turn nominated you. How did the approach come?
It was strange. I had some of my guitars advertised for sale and this guy comes over to my house and I have a studio built into my house with all the Hardline posters up and the Billboard charts and this guy is like you're in Hardline. I said yeah I'm the singer of Hardline and it turns out he is a fan. We got to talking and he's become a very good friend of mine and he went back to his house and went to some Hardline page on the internet and put up on the message board that he met me. Axel accessed that Hardline page and e-mailed that guy that brought my guitar and said please forward this message to Johnny. I emailed Axel and we conversed via email for a year. It was old school stuff and I told him I could sing that sort of stuff in my sleep. So I told the family I'm going over there and I'm gonna make the record. He's like a brother.

You've made 2 and a half albums now?
Yeah that's right.

You sound a little different to Hardline.
Yeah. Journalists always say how do you compare guitar players. Neal to Axel. You can't compare. Neal is very polished and his chord knowledge is amazing. This is a more Richie Blackmore sloppy kind of style. I mean that in a good way. I don't have to be selling millions of records. I sing with people I enjoy working with period. I don't have to be top ten in the Billboard. I just want to sing and enjoy people.

I gave both records around the 9 out of 10 mark.
Oh thank you. I'll email you the reviews because I think I said several times that you were singing your ass off.
Oh thanks. This Maquerade Ball record I practically had to squeeze my testicles to get some of those notes. Holy shit.

I was going to say there was some pretty intense singing on this one.
I cut that whole record in 5 days. 4 days for the whole record and on the 5th day I touched up some harmonies.

You must have been busted after that?
Yeah I slept for a frigging week after that. I was fucking beat up. I put myself in the studio and I sing until I'm dead.

I'm really surprised it only took that long.
Yeah well I just don't have that much time these days.

How and where did you record the Sons and Angels record?
That was through Doug Aldrich. The music co-ordinator for the project got in touch with Doug to put them in touch with me. I started off by singing just one tune for there Sonic the Hedgehog project. I met Jun and we got along right away. That project led in to the Nascar Project and then JVC decided to turn it into a record.

So the Sons of Angels have both those songs on it?
Yeah that's right.

So how many vocal tracks are on there?
It's a vocal album with one instrumental song. What the music was written for is those entertainment games. So they are selling it as a band. We didn't write those songs for the public we wrote them for those games.
The unfortunate thing about that record is that I sang it sick as a dog. I was supposed to go to Japan to record and my schedule didn't allow that so they decided to come to me. So we record it here in LA. I got the nastiest sinus infection and sore throat so my range wasn't as great as I wanted it to be. I think it works ok though. I wrote some of the stuff on there too. Just think video game when you are listening to it.

So you guys are still based in LA then?
No, we have offices in New York so we jump back and forth. We are still LA boys.
I'm technically in San Bernardino, which is towards Palm Springs.
What's happening in your neck of the woods? How's the music scene?

It's not bad. Aussie is doing all right at the moment. It's more pop than anything else at the moment. We've got a few great up and coming bands that are going to make an impact at pop radio.
So how about Joey? How is he these days?

Joey is full on business guy and he's got one goal and that is to make this business a public one. That's all he cares about. He only misses one thing - Joey and I started a group called the Jiz Rivets with a Mexican drummer. It is the most hilarious full on punk. Joey often mentions that was the most fun he ever had. Joey's put on about 40 pounds. Oh my god it's funny.

That I would have to see…
I will send you a photo someday!

Thanks Johnny and thanks also for your time, appreciated.
Thanks Andrew…



AXEL RUDI PELL - Sign Of The Times (Review)

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I could be a lazy reviewer and just write 'Axel. Rudi. Pell'. You’d still know exactly what to expect from the German guitar wiz and his right-hand man, Johnny Gioeli. I’ve expressed some disinterest in the last couple of albums, due mainly to the restrictions of delivering the same formula album after album, but I’m very happy to declare this album head and shoulders above the last couple of records, with stronger songs and some terrific melodies – delivered by both guitar and vocals.
While there are no surprises, this album’s surge of urgency has definitely re-sparked my interest in Axel’s unmistakable style. I think fans will be more than happy.

AXEL RUDI PELL - "Only The Strong Will Survive (Live)" (Official Video)

German Metal wizard AXEL RUDI PELL releases a new digital single and video for the song "Only The Strong Will Survive (live)" today. The song is taken from the forthcoming live album "XXX Anniversary Live".
Axel Rudi Pell says: "Only The Strong Will Survive" was recorded live in Langen, Germany last year during our "Knights Call" Tour with the quiet guitar opening part coming from our show in Memmingen. Originally from the "Kings & Queens" album, we played that track live for the very first time last year and we really had fun doing that!"
XXX Anniversary Live will be released worldwide through Steamhammer/SPV on June 07th, 2019 as 2CD digipak version 3LP gatefold version, download and stream:

AXEL RUDI PELL Celebrates 30 Years With 'XXX Anniversary Live' June 7

Friday, June 7, 2019
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And the world has changed. Axel Rudi Pell hasn’t. For three decades, the Bochum-based guitarist has ticked and worked like a Swiss clock releasing critically acclaimed hard rocking albums consistently. Like his anniversary offering, a live document of his most recent tour. And it will come out on the same record company as his debut in 1989; his contract with legendary label SPV/Steamhammer having lasted longer than the average marriage these days. “SPV and I have grown together, we have witnessed highs and lows and we’ve managed to get through them all,” the 58-year-old musician states with a smile. “Never change a winning team” is the secret of his success. Having sold more than 1.6 million records so far, Pell also has a ridiculous amount of online streams: his songs have been streamed more than 37.5 million times, figures he would never have dreamt of when he first started out.
“XXX Anniversary Live”, his 30th album release in as many years, will see the light of day on June 7th 2019. A milestone by all accounts and a stunning document of his most recent tour which he did not plan at all, but the recordings, from Bochum and Budapest among others, were so good that he felt he just couldn’t scrap them. They are a worthy follow-up to “Magic Moments”, his 3-hour anniversary show at the ‘Bang Your Head’ festival in 2014, where he celebrated 25 years as a solo artist. BTW: Pell is planning to bring out another studio effort in spring 2020. The Swiss clock from the Ruhr area is till ticking.
1. The Medieval Overture (Intro) 1:48
2. The Wild And The Young 4:41
3. Wildest Dreams 6:12
4. Fool Fool 5:10
5. Oceans Of Time 5:47
6. Only The Strong Will Survive 6:15
7. Mystica (incl. Drum Solo) 14:24
8. Long Live Rock 6:31
1. Game Of Sins / Tower Of Babylon (incl. Keyboard Solo) 16:07
2. The Line 9:12
3. Warrior 4:44
4. Edge Of The World (incl. Band Introduction) 6:53
5. Truth And Lies 2:29
6. Carousel 5:10
7. The Masquerade Ball / Casbah 8:24
8. Rock The Nation 6:37
"XXX Anniversary Live" will be released on June 07th, 2019 in the following configurations:
=> 2 CD DigiPak 
=> 3LP gatefold, 180 g, black vinyl, printed inner sleeves, 2CDs in paper sleeves
=> Download 
=> Streaming
Line Up:
- Johnny Gioeli - Lead and Backing Vocals
- Axel Rudi Pell 
- Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
- Ferdy Dooernberg - Keyboards
- Volker Kraawczak - Bass
- Bobby Rondinelli - Drums
AXEL RUDI PELL "30th Anniversary" Tour 2019:
05.06. DE-Ulm - Ulmer Zelt
07.06. SE-Sölvesborg - Sweden Rock Festival
08.06. DE-Kiel - Pumpe
09.06. DE-Jena - F-Haus
11.06. DE-Mannheim - 7er Club (Open Air Stage)
12.06. DE-Gunzendorf - GUNZlive
13.06. DE-Osnabrück - Hyde Park
14.06. DE-Bochum - Zeche (sold out)
15.06. CH-Pratteln - Z7

RESTLESS SPIRITS Announce Debut Album Out May 17

Friday, May 17, 2019
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Lords Of Black​ guitarist Tony Hernando​ is one of the most exciting guitarists, writers, and producers in the European metal and rock scene today. With his many talents, it was a natural next step for him to stretch out and work on a solo album after the promotional cycle for Lords of Black third album, “Icons of the New Days” wrapped up. Hernando has always been passionate about melodic hard rock music, so the idea of pairing him with some of the best singers from his fellow labelmates' bands to lay their vocals over his songwriting seemed not only logical, but destiny. Thus, Restless Spirits​ was born and the self-titled debut will now be released on May 17, 2019.
Aside from Hilli, guest vocalists include none other than Johnny Gioeli​ (Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell), Deen Castronovo​ (Revolution Saints​, ex-Journey), Dino Jelusic​ (Animal Drive​), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline​, Jorn), and Diego Valdez (Dream Child​ and now, the new vocalist for Hernando's main project, Lords of Black). In addition to vocal duties, Deen Castronovo also takes care of drums on every track.
Hernando says, "Restless Spirits is a melodic hard rock record featuring several singers that showcases some different sides of my playing and songwriting. We have rockers, ballads, and everything in between. I had the opportunity to work and co-write with some of the best guys in the business. I hope everyone can enjoy this album as much as I did recording it!”
Restless Spirits is an album that showcases some of the most outstanding vocal talents operating in the melodic hard rock scene right now, while also offering truly exciting and adventurous melodic hard rock songwriting. Enjoy!
1. Stop Livin' To Live Online (Johnny Gioeli on Vocals)
2. Unbreakable (Deen Castronovo on Vocals)
3. I Remember Your Name (Kent Hilli on Vocals)
4. 'Cause I Know You're The One (Dino Jelusic on Vocals)
5. Nothing I Could Give To You (Johnny Gioeli on Vocals)
6. Calling You (Deen Castronovo on Vocals)
7. Live To Win (Deen Castronovo on Vocals)
8. You And I (Alessandro Del Vecchio on Vocals)
9. When It Comes To You (Alessandro Del Vecchio on Vocals)
10. Lost Time (Not To Be Found Again) (Dino Jelusic on Vocals)
11. In The Realm Of The Black Rose (Diego Valdez on Vocals)
PRODUCED BY: Tony Hernando
MIXED BY: Dani Luna
Tony Hernando: All Guitars, Bass, Keyboards except where noted.
Deen Castronovo: Drums, Lead vocals on 2,6,7
Johnny Gioeli: Lead Vocals on 1, 5
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Lead Vocals on 8, 9, Background Vocals on 2,6,7
Diego Valdez: Lead Vocals on 11, Background Vocals on 2,3,6,7
Kent Hilli: Lead Vocals on 3
Dino Jelusic: Lead Vocals on 4,10
Victor Diez: Piano and Keyboards on 2,5,6,11
Leif Elhin: Keyboards on 3

ROBERT RODRIGO BAND - Living For Louder (Review)

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Robert Rodrigo Band is the brainchild of Spanish guitarist Robert Rodrigo, the man behind the excellent Airless and composer of two previous instrumental solo albums.
This album is a mixture of all that has come before, delivered in an energetic collection of well-produced songs. There are a couple of enjoyable left turn instrumentals with another two additional more straight-ahead instrumentals later in the album. The remaining six tracks feature vocal god Johnny Gioeli in full force. His style and tone suit the album perfectly – giving both his trademark rasp and ability to turn melodic opportunities to shine.
There is real musical dexterity and diversity between the tracks – from a straight blues boogie to stadium anthems and some groovy sounding hard rock.
There is some vivid musical experimentation in several of the verses, but come chorus time, its all hooks and melodies.
10 tracks, 40 minutes….no room for fillers or fluff here. An enjoyable album with a few really good hooks and some impressive guitar work. Familiar for fans of the genre, but fresh also.

HARDLINE Give 'Life' To New Album April 26

Friday, April 26, 2019
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Hardline is back with a new studio album, “Life”!
In the past two years, Hardline has performed a number of shows across Europe, including festivals and more intimate gigs, and that live “energy” can certainly be felt on their new studio album. The band went back to 1992's “Double Eclipse” album for influence for the songs on this record, but additionally they also looked a little closer in the rearview at the tremendous predecessor to this album, “Human Nature”.
The resulting album, LIFE, perfectly blends the influences of those two albums and sees Hardline heavier, stronger, bigger, and better than ever. The band entered the studio feeling loose and relaxed from all their gigging. The two newest members, Marco Di Salvia on drums and Mario Percudani on guitar, had gelled seamlessly with the rest of the band from all those shows and combined with Anna Portalupi's pulsating rhythms and Alessandro Del Vecchio's songwriting and production abilities, LIFE was almost effortless for the band to create. And of course, Johnny Gioeli sings like only he can over top of these incredible musicians.
LIFE will be released April 26, 2019 on CD/LP/Digital.
More live dates will be forthcoming for the band, including a performance on April 27th at the Frontiers Rock Festival in Milan, IT.
1. Place To Call Home
2. Take A Chance
3. Helio's Sun
4. Page Of Your Life
5. Out Of Time
6. Hold On To Right
7. Handful Of Sand
8. This Love
9. Story Of My Life
10. Who Wants To Live Forever
11. Chameleon
12. My Friend
Johnny Gioeli - vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio - keyboards
Mario Percudani - guitar
Marco Di Salvia - drums
Anna Portalupi - bass
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Robert Rodrigo Band ft. Johnny Gioeli - "Living For Louder"

The Robert Rodrigo Band has just released its new album, “Living For Louder!” featuring 10 songs filled with energy and passion, and including instrumental tracks showing of the incredible musicianship this band has always brought to the stage.
Robert Rodrigo Band is: Robert Rodrigo on the guitar, side by side with his longtime companions Miguel Manjon on bass, Pako Martinez on drums, and joined by exceptional guests such as Gotxi Ibarra (Hammond) and the great Johnny Gioeli (Hardline, Axell Rudi Pell) on vocals.

JOHNNY GIOELI Solo Debut 'One Voice' Out Dec. 7

Friday, December 7, 2018
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If you are unfamiliar with the name Johnny Gioeli and the bands he is involved with, Hardline, Crush 40, and Axel Rudi Pell, then you have simply missed out on one of the most gifted voices to grace the hard rock genre in the past 25 years!
Gioeli will release his very first solo effort, entitled “One Voice”, via Frontiers Music Srl on December 7th. The title “One Voice” is a tribute to the fans who have supported Gioeli’s career for decades. Musically, of the album, Johnny says, “I love guitar driven rock. I love songs that have a direct impact, gets you thinking and puts you in a positive frame of mind.”
When asked why he decided to do a solo album at this point in his career, Gioeli says, “[c]reating music is my life. Starting with a pin needle of an idea and cultivating that idea into a song that has an effect on someone has always fulfilled me musically. When a young man in my hometown had a life changing accident leaving him paralyzed, I knew I wanted to do something special. I wanted to make this solo album to help him with some of the enormous costs associated with rehabilitation. I also knew that those who love the music I make are fans for life and I knew they would help too. It’s a testament to the beautiful hearts that circle this globe. I woke one morning with the title ‘One Voice’ in my head knowing that I need air from others to sing. I am so proud of this uplifting album. It’s been said that it is the ‘feel good album of the 21st century’. I’m grateful for those words.”
The aforementioned ‘young man’ is Joe Barber. A large portion of the money raised for this album through a Pledge campaign is going directly to Joe and his family to help him and his family with needs his recovery and the associated medical costs.
“‘One Voice’ is the sum of my efforts to bring a world together for the love of music”, muses Gioeli. “If you can imagine fans from all parts of the world. the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Scandinavia, Australia etc.all of them coming together to donate money to a kid they don’t even knowit’s a testament to the song ‘One Voice’. We are ‘One Voice’ together, we are love and hope forever, we are one world that matters, so let’s all just help each other.”
Of the team that helped him craft this album in the studio, Johnny says, “I have an extremely talented group of musicians performing with me on ‘One Voice’. Eric Gadrix on guitar, who wrote the musical compositions, Marco di Salvia on drums, Nik Mazzucconi on bass, and my Hardline bandmate Alessandro del Vecchio on keys, who is also my trusted producer, engineer and lil’ brother. A powerhouse band I will take on the road. Making this record was a labor of love, for sure. I spent countless days and nights in my studio thinking, singing, recording and making sure I loved it before you, the fans, got a chance to love it. I wanted to paint a picture I hope everyone wants to hang on their wall. ‘One Voice’ is that painting.”
“One Voice” Tracklisting:
1. Drive
2. It
3. One Voice
4. Mind Melt
5. Running
6. Deeper
7. Let Me Know
8. Hit Me Once, Hit Ya Twice
9. Price We Pay
10. Out Of Here
11. Oh Fathers
PRODUCED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio
Johnny Gioeli: Vocals
Eric Gadrix: Guitars
Nik Mazzucconi: Bass
Marco Di Salvia: Drums
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards
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