Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis and Mr. Big’s Billy Sheehan announce new Skills project, share debut single, Stop the World

Brad Gillis and Billy Sheehan
(Image credit: Mike Pont / Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic via Getty)

Night Ranger electric guitar star Brad Gillis has teamed up with Mr. Big bass guitar virtuoso Billy Sheehan for an all-new project, named Skills.

The pair will also be joined by Giant drummer David Huff and Electric Mob vocalist Renan Zonta, with the four-piece announcing their debut studio album Different Worlds

Set to arrive via Frontiers Music Srl on May 13, the quartet have previewed their upcoming offering with Different Worlds’ lead single, Stop the World.

It’s everything you’d expect from a project describing itself as a vehicle that “brings together the worlds of old and new in hard rock” – the guitar immediately dominates proceedings, introducing an upper-fret melody that tinkers away under some oversized, genre-appropriate power chords.

There’s also a classically Gillis – albeit fairly brief – guitar solo that crops up at around the 3:10 mark, with some whammy-tinged bends and gain-drenched descending scale lines that throw you back into the chorus’s deep-end.

The project itself is the brainchild of Frontiers president and A&R director Serafino Perugino, who had been “blown away” by Zonta’s vocal abilities upon first hearing him. Knowing him to be a fan of ‘80s classic rock, Perugino endeavored to pair Zonta with “monster players” from that era.

Gillis, Sheehan and Huff, as well as keyboardist/backing vocalist Alessandro Del Vecchio, joined the fray after Perugino presented them with clips of Zonta performing. Del Vecchio was also enlisted for production duties.

Skills Different Worlds album cover

(Image credit: Skills)

Of course, with a statement band name like “Skills”, you’d expect the group’s musical chops to live up to such lofty expectations. On paper – and, indeed, from the first single – the musical pedigree of the members certainly delivers on the premise.

Gillis, as previously mentioned, is currently part of Night Ranger – who last year announced their first album in four years, ATBPO – though also has a prolific history performing with Ozzy Osbourne and Rubicon.

Sheehan, meanwhile, is currently playing with Mr. Big alongside Paul Gilbert, as well as The Winery Dogs and Sons of Apollo with Mike Portnoy. His resume also boasts stints with Talas, UFO and David Lee Roth.

The tracklist for Different Worlds can be found below.

  1. Escape Machine
  2. Blame It On The Night
  3. Different Worlds
  4. Losing The Track
  5. Writings On The Wall
  6. Show Me The Way
  7. Just When I Needed You
  8. Need To Fall
  9. Stop The World
  10. Hearts Of Stone
  11. Don't Break My Heart

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.