TNA was really born in Tucson, Arizona in the fall of 1984. I met Danny, (the drummer) at fraternity rush my freshman year. We hit it off right away as we were the only two long haired guys in the place. :) Turned out we only lived 10 minutes away from each other back in NY. It's a small world. We put the band together during the summer of '85 and recorded our first demo. For two years we played gigs and recorded demos when we all weren't away at college. We finally decided to get serious in 1987 and moved back to NY permanently. For the next six years we hit it hard. We headlined places like LaMour and the Cat Club and opened for over 40 national acts including Skid Row, Winger, King's X, Kix, and Badlands to name a few. The band finally imploded in '92 out of sheer frustration and a changing music scene. We kept banging on the door but for some reason it just wouldn't open. It seemed we were always a day late and a dollar short. We all went our separate ways to pursue other interests, musically and otherwise. Sometime in 2000, Danny and I decided to fire things up again. The band was just too good to let fade away so we reunited and started rehearsing. As fate would have it, John Kivel contacted Danny and offered us a record deal. Turns out he had been a fan years before and had been trying to find us! It's all about timing I guess. :)
Your band has an '80s influence, yet more slanted towards bands such as LYNCH MOB, SPREAD EAGLE and DOKKEN as opposed to the more mainstream '80s bands. Was this a concious effort or just seemd to work out that way?
I must confess that I've been a George Lynch fan since the first Dokken record came out. However, my main guitar influences hands down are Jimmy Page, Michael Schenker, and Eddie Van Halen. I've always wanted to make a statement with my guitar playing, especially solos. I guess you can attribute that to the kinds of bands I grew up listening to: Zeppelin, UFO, Van Halen, Dokken, etc. These bands all had amazing guitarists and killer solos were just a given. What kind of kick ass rock song doesn't have a kick ass solo? Go on, try to name one. Nobody solos anymore. What's up with that? That's just my mentality when to comes to writing. Of course, the solo doesn't make the song, it's really the other way around but you can see why our material sounds the way it does. Everyone in the band wants to be the best they can be at their instrument so I guess that translates into a more aggressive style like Lynch Mob and SpreadEagle.
Kivel Records seems to be a really cool haven for bands who want to play the music they want to play. How did you get hooked up with the label?
Johnny Kivel's a true fan. He loves this stuff and he's giving the rock a chance because of his love for the music. We all owe him a big thank you. As I said before, he had been a fan of TNA back in the day and had been looking for us to see if we were still alive! I guess he and Danny had a mutual friend and fate took care of the rest. :)
Melodic hard rock seems to be getting back in fashion. How do you feel about the current music trend?
All I can say is: it's about fucking time! Rock needs to come back so bad it hurts. The Foo Fighters are doing an admirable job but there needs to be more. There's no excitement anymore, no spark. Everything is so J-Lo and Britney Spears. Enough already. It's time for some grainy ass, balls to the wall, foot stomping, head banging, Marshalls on 10, have a fucking good time rock n' roll daddy! Hey now!!
You had a debut album in 2001 entitled,"Finger On The Trigger". Now you're releasing "Branded", can you tell me about the new record and how it differs from your first effort?
"Trigger" was a good album but "Branded" is just so much better! The energy really comes through this time. We're all a little more mature, we had a better idea of what we wanted to do in the studio as far as tracking and the overall production values were concerned. To me the biggest difference are the lead vocals. Mike's vocals are incredible on this record! He has really come into his own. He's going to blow some minds with this release. :) The rest of us weren't too shabby either. :)
Would you say this album defines you more then the previous effort, or do you feel your still finding yourselves?
We have definitely defined ourselves more with this release but we are still evolving as song writers, artists, and musicians. I don't think this is the definitive TNA quite yet.
Please give us some insight on what to expect from this album and its material.
Melodic yet heavy. It's always been the "goal" for lack of a better term. We've always strived to write and play music that nails you to the wall but leaves you humming the melody. :) Beautiful aggression. :)
Any paticular song on the album that really gets you going?
"The Sound". It embodies the beautiful aggression. :)
Tell us a little about the songs. Do any of them have a "message" that you're trying to say?
I don't know if it's a message so much as it's a feeling. The songs all have their own taste and smell like pasteries in a bakery. The familiar ingredients are there...butter, sugar, guitars, drums...but each of them tastes a little different and you associate a different place, feeling, and experience with each one of them. :)
How do you feel about the downloading music issue? Do you think this is a wave of the future or do you think most people would rather have official releases on CD?
I personally would rather have a CD or a record in my hands, something tangible. That's what I grew up with though so my experience is different. I like to look at the artwork and photos of the bands on something other than a computer screen. Kids today don't know a world without computers so they're more comfortable with downloading music and pictures. It's their thing, it's what they relate to so who's to say it's wrong. My grandparents knew a world before TV, think of how they must have felt watching us stare at a TV instead of reading a book? It's all relative. It would be a shame if CD's go the way of vinyl but I think it's inevitable. What bothers me the most is the recent shift towards "singles". "Buy a .99 cent single from Apple and throw it in your Ipod". Artists will be reduced to their greatest hits and the concept of the "album" will slowly fade away. That will be a sad day.
Are there any new musical gadgets you'd like to see invented that you feel would be useful to you?
A teleportation device like in Star Trek would be nice so I didn't have to hump all my gear to the gigs. Oh yeah, that's why we have a road crew! God bless those guys. :)
Are you guys currently touring and what plans do you have after "Branded" is released?
We're not touring at the moment but we plan to sometime early next year. We're currently rehearsing and putting our show together.
Any closing thoughts?
Thank you for providing this outlet. It's nice to be able to express my views. Keep diggin' the rock! We'll see you on tour in 2004!