For Light In The Dark, the sophomore album from monster trio Revolution Saints, we find Deen Castronovo (vocals/drums), Doug Aldrich (guitars) and Jack Blades (bass/vocals) once again teaming up with producer/songwriter Allesandro Del Vecchio for an infectious compilation of inspired songwriting and tasty guitar work, highlighted by Castronovo’s amazing vocal prowess.
Light In The Dark [which is set for an October 13 release] continues to build off the classic, melodic rock style of the band’s debut and their collective musical resumes (which includes Journey, Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Dio and Whitesnake), but fans should also prepare for a more unique set of performances, as we all as a few surprises.
In this interview, I spoke to Aldrich about Revolution Saints, his gear and The Dead Daisies.
How does Light in The Dark compare to the band’s debut album?
It’s similar in that everything is representative. It’s a little bit heavier in some songs but it’s still got the melodic rock guitar sound and a real riff rock feel. Overall, it’s a little bit edgier.
I like it because we all had a chance to write on this one. I brought in a bunch of guitar parts and arrangements and Deen threw down an mp3 of him playing guitar that I got a few riffs out of as well. Jack also wrote on a few of the songs and Alessandro co-wrote pretty much everything except for one of the ballads.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from the new album, beginning with the title track.
That originally started out as a song that Allesandro had with simple, blocked down guitar parts, a verse and a chorus. I worked with him on an arrangement and started out by taking the guitars in one direction.
Once I got to Italy to record and started playing against the real drums I changed the riff a little bit to toughen it up. It’s right in the same vein of the last record and a good leadoff track.
What about “Freedom”?
I had brainstormed a song that was kind of our version of Phil Collins’ track, “In The Air Tonight." That was the initial inspiration behind it. Deen had sent me an mp3 of a drop D riff he had recorded and I took a little piece of that and simplified it. In the end, it has a little flavor of “Separate Ways” by Journey with how the three of us played it.
“I Wouldn’t Change A Thing”?
That was a song written by Richard Page, the singer from Mister Mister. When I first heard it I was excited to see what I could do with it. Allesandro had done a rough demo where the guitar solo broke into a melody. I really liked it but when I picked up the guitar and started to play around it, I got a hit for a completely different melody that really set well with the vocal. I’m happy with how it turned out.
That was the first song we cut, and was originally sent in from a writer named Simone Mularoni. I remember wanting it to be a little meatier so I simplified the guitar parts, worked on the arrangements and put an intro piece on with the band starting together.
What was the setup you used for Light In The Dark?
This record I used mostly Les Pauls. I also have a killer ESP Telecaster Custom that I used on some of the more delicate, cleaner stuff and to change up the rhythm sound. My old Marshalls have still been my main thing. Although, I recently found a 50-watt in my storage that I hadn’t played through since the early Eighties. I really like the sound of it and have been using that lately for songwriting.
How do you record your solos? Do you usually plan them out ahead of time?
A few solos I did when we were in Italy but the rest I recorded when I was on tour with The Dead Daisies. I was doing songs everywhere: on the bus, on the bullet train in Japan and even in my hotel room [laughs]. But I’d go in with nothing planned out.
I’d just jam on a few things and record them and then would leave for sound check or a gig. Then when I came back, I’d listen to what I had done in the afternoon and pick out the cool parts to use as an outline.
Where do you think your best ideas come from?The best stuff comes by playing for fun. When you’re recording, you first go into rehearsal and write the songs and then practice them together. Then you go into pre-production and you’re still playing the songs again and finding positions that feel good. Then when you finally get into the studio to record, you’re excited by the sounds that you hear.
A lot of the time that’s when you come up with some really great solos without even thinking about it. Even when I’m traveling on my own I try to feel it like I’m playing with the band and listening to the guys and seeing what fits.
Can you give me an update on The Dead Daisies?
We did a lot of dates this year. We played a few festivals in Europe as well as in South America and Japan. We even did a concert in Poland with a sixty-piece orchestra and did a few select shows in the U.S. Right now, we’re in writing mode and will be going to New York in October to work on a new record.
Of all the highlights of your career, which ones stand out to you as memorable?
Songs that I wrote with Whitesnake, Dio and The Dead Daisies have all been highlights, and so has performing, like getting to perform with a sixty-piece orchestra. They played the entire show with us and the whole thing was charted out. It was kind of scary because the intro and jam sections we were used to couldn’t happen because those guys were following a chart.
I’m used to being able to play off other musicians but quickly realized that if someone made a mistake at the beginning of the song, the whole thing might be off and the orchestra wouldn’t even know it. It was high pressure but a lot of fun and really turned out great. To hear back the orchestra with the heaviness of the band was so cool. I had never done anything like that before, so it was definitely a highlight.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.