NAMM 2020 Interviews by Tony Lepre

Interview with Jeff Duncan (Armored Saint, DC4, Odin) at NAMM 2020

Tony Lepre: What do you have coming for 2020?

Jeff Duncan: There is a new Armored Saint album coming out in August, I think, so we’re excited about that. I’m also going to be promoting my solo album called “Wanderlust,” which was recorded in late 2019. That’s going to be coming out in hard copy in 2020.

Tony: Where can we find the download for your solo release “Wanderlust”?

Jeff: It’s available for download through DownBoy records on all digital platforms.

Tony: You’re here at NAMM 2020. What gear are you repping?

Jeff: ESP Guitars, who I’ve been with for 20 years now, Pig Hog Cables, Reunion Blues, gig bag, Coffin Case, and FU-Tone. Those are the companies I’m working now and they’ve all been really good to me.

Tony: Any live shows coming up or tours, for Armored Saint or your solo album?

Jeff: No shows are booked at this time. Armored Saint will be going out on the road sooner than later, but first we will complete the record and see what happens after that. I’m sure I will be doing at least a Vegas and LA show promoting my solo album.

Tony: Anything you want to say to your fans and friends out there?

Jeff: Thanks for all the support, and keeping me going all these decades. I’m not gone yet. I plan on sticking around a while longer.

Please visit the following Links for more information and order “Wanderlust” on Amazon here.

Armored Saint Website 
DC4 Website

Interview with Skum Love at NAMM 2020

Tony Lepre: How you doing today man?

Skum Love: I’m insane, but you know in a good way

Tony: What you do have going on for 2020?

Skum: Well for my band Skum Love, we’re going to record a bunch of cover songs I’ve always wanted to record. Some of them are female vocalist songs. We’re going to record some new songs, just have a good time. I’m not looking for a new record deal or any of that bullshit. I just want to have a good time. Keep it really simple. With Schecter, we have some great guitars, and I think it’s my 12th year with them. I started with them in 2008 and we have some amazing guitars, some really good new amazing artists, so you know, just doing that stuff. And of course, Rahk a Holic at the Viper Room. We were at Skinny’s for 7 or 8 years. Now we’re at the Viper Room every Wednesday and it’s been great. They’re an amazing club, still very rock n roll, which is really what I wanted.

Tony: Now we’re here at NAMM. Is there any gear you’re a part of, other than Schecter?

Skum: For my Indie party here, DB technology brought us a great 20,000-watt PA. You can hear it out here and down the street. DTK, Don Dish, who runs DTK been helping me out with a lot of gigs. I’m just trying to keep Rock alive. Its hard to do but I’m trying. You can see the crowd in there. You can’t even walk in the place.

Tony: This event is a charity, right? What is the charity it’s for?

Skum: Take Me Home Foundation, which is about dogs, cats, and other animals. We do this every year at The Grove. We were giving tickets out all over the place, but we said, you know what, why don’t we tie a charity to it? You can donate a dollar or donate twenty dollars, and we will give you tickets for The Grove show. That’s what we’re doing now. Now we are helping others by helping dogs find new homes.

Tony: Where do we find you?

Skum: Just type in Skum Love (in Google) and you will find me, Schecter guitars.

Tony: Is there anything you want to give out to anyone out there, friends, fans?

Skum: Follow your heart, don’t follow a wagon. You know what I mean.

Visit the Official Skum Love Website more information.

Interview with Toni Aleman at NAMM 2020

Photo by Bailey Holiver

Tony Lepre: Tony Lepre here with Metal Babe Mayhem at NAMM 2020. I’m with Toni Aleman. What’s going on in 2020 for you?
Toni Aleman: 2020 is actually a really good year for me. I just got signed to Iconic Guitars. We just started  doing a demo earlier today. I’m having a new custom guitar made, which is the Evolution SD series. It’s a very high end, boutique style instrument. Besides that, my band Vile A Sin released a record last July called “Blood Fiend” and we just got done working with our label, Cleopatra Records to have some placement in the Danzig movie “Verotik.” We’re on the soundtrack, which is coming out really soon on purple vinyl. The record is out on Cleopatra, offering the vinyl, CDs, digital downloads on Amazon. You can get it at Barnes and Noble, and Target also offering it. It’s been a really great experience for us working with Cleopatra records.

Tony: Congratulations on the Cleopatra deal. That’s a great thing; I was stoked for you guys when I saw that.

Toni: Surprisingly, as of yesterday, I am now a Cordova artist, I’ve been working with David Unger over at Cordova, who is the new Artist Relations rep. I do other styles of music other than Rock. I write, arrange and compose Classical, Orchestral, Jazz and Be Bop. With Cordova and having their support I can engage a new market. We did a livestream to about 30,000 followers of theirs. This is my first time legitimately trying to push classical music, I played a couple of Chopin pieces, and I did an arrangement of “Over the Rainbow.” It was a little nerve racking but was complete fun. I am hoping to start working a Classical style album this year. We’ll see how that goes, hopefully by the end of the year.

Tony: Being that we’re here at NAMM, are there any other endorsements, or gear that you use?

Toni: Yes, I’m a Blackstar artist, and I just did a video demo for them of their new Silverland series amp, which is their new valve-less technology. I am also with NUX. They make this delay called the “Atlantic”, it’s both a reverb and a delay. I also use the “Cereberus” for all my fly out gigs. It’s an all in one five switch processor, and I use Sinister picks.

Tony: Is there anything you want to give out to the fans, a shout out, anything like that?

Toni: Well the owner of Iconic, put out a guitar that is in F*ck Cancer Pink. It’s something I must mention, as I know that Breast Cancer affects humanity, someone’s sister, someone’s mom, daughter… It can happen to anyone. If I had advice for any players, starting out, younger generations, and for any that are doubting themselves; follow what you want to do, create your path. It’s hard and difficult the music industry. I have noticed that those that stick it out, whether its easy or hard, are those that end up getting some success and longevity and discipline following their goal. I went from gig to gig to gig, and never stopped. Having a pre-established business plan and having a real idea of how you want to engage your audience. All that stuff goes a long way. Creativity is always going to be there; the music business is still the music business. At the end of the day, you’re creating a brand and it can tie into so many different things, the merchandising all that.

Please visit FaceBook, InstaGram, or YouTube for more information on Toni Aleman and Vile A Sin.

Interview with Patrick Kennison and Nikki Stringfield at NAMM 2020

Tony Lepre: Go ahead and introduce yourselves.

Patrick Kennison: Guitar and vocals

Nikki Stringfield: Guitar and vocals

Tony: So what do you guys have coming up for 2020?

Patrick: Not a lot, I know you guys, The Iron Maidens are kicking into high gear.

Nikki: Lots of touring with The Maidens. We are recording an Iron Maiden cover album.

Patrick: Our band Heaven Below just completed a cover album called “Rest in Pieces.” It’s a tribute to everyone who has departed us… Queen, AC/DC, Pantera, The Ramones, Johnny Cash, Alice in Chains, etc. We’re getting ready to release that before the summer. Then I’m hitting the road with Lita Ford and Alice Cooper for a tour in the spring. Heaven Below has some Texas shows in May. People always ask us why Heaven Below isn’t playing more, why don’t we get to see you more, and the truth is; Nikki plays with The Iron Maidens and I play with Lita Ford. We got to keep the rent and the lights on, and Heaven Below does make money, but it doesn’t have as many zeros on it. Well, the zeros are on the other side.

Tony: We’re here at NAMM, do you have any artist endorsements or gear you use you’d like to mention?  

Patrick: We’re both on Schecter Guitars. (To Nikki) Tell them about your new signature model.

Nikki: I have a new signature model coming out. It hasn’t debuted yet, but it’s played a few shows. The formal announcement isn’t out there yet.

Tony: Is it a pending release then?

Nikki: It’s not in the booth right now. We are waiting for the updated version. It’s thinner, lighter, a brand new color. It sounds killer and has new pickups.

Patrick: She’s not the only one with a new signature guitar. Mine is in the research phase right now. I will have my own signature model. They were like, where do we put the autograph? I said put it on the body really big so no one buys it. No…. It goes on the back. We have a lot of cool ideas. I’ve learned a lot about what goes into a signature model just by watching what Nikki does with the Schecter people. You got to get something that works for you, but somebody might want to buy it.

Nikki: I use GHS strings.

Patrick: I’m on Elixer strings. We’re both on the Kemper profiler. The profiler has changed our worlds. We are tube amp lovers, and we are playing a digital piece of gear. It doesn’t model, it profiles. I used to think, what does that mean. I don’t know what it means, but I love the way it sounds.

Nikki: I take mine everywhere. I take it on the plane with me, everywhere I go, I always know what I’m going to have, and the soundman…

Patrick: Yeah the sound guys loves it. When we roll up with the Kemper, this makes my job amazing. They’re like, I don’t have to dial as much. It’s already there.

Tony: Is there anything you want to say to anyone out there, your fans, people who follow you on social media?

Patrick: Nikki has an EP out now. Her solo EP just dropped recently. She has limited edition vinyl records and vinyl bundles available here. There’s a niche market for vinyl.

Please visit the Official Heaven Below Website for more Information.

Interview with Emily V at NAMM 2020

Tony Lepre: How are you doing Emily?

Emily V: I’m good how are you?

Tony: Good . So what’s going on for you in 2020?

Emily: 2020 is the year I am writing my own original music and going to try and attempt to do my own thing.

Tony: Are you going to get some cats together and record an album?

Emily: Yeah that would be the long-term goal, but for right now work out some songs that have been sitting on the back burner for a long time due to just playing with other people and being on the road. I’m still playing with a bunch of bands, but in my “free time” I’m doing my own thing.

Tony: I’m glad to hear that. I’ve caught some of your creative on the spot. It’s pretty intense, so I’m sure you doing your thing would be as well.

Emily: I’ve always really been into, actually when I was younger, if I wasn’t going to be a violinist and still a musician, I was going to be a drummer. If I wasn’t going to be a musician, I was going to be a writer. I’m really into writing lyrics and that’s something I’ve been spending a lot of time doing.

Tony: That’s awesome, what is some of your inspiration for your lyrics?

Emily: Life experiences, and things that have happened, but the time I get the most creative, when I think about lyrics, is when I listen to other music, especially when I’m driving to gigs. Right now I’m really into all Chris Cornell, Alice in Chains, Mad Season… All that kind of stuff. That’s actually the vibe I’m going for with some of the stuff. I hate to describe it in any way until it actually comes out, but that’s the stuff I f*cking love.

Tony: We’re here at NAMM, what’s going on for you at NAMM this year?

Emily: This year it’s been a bit more relaxed, but I just acquired two more endorsements; a violin stand and a cable company. That is awesome. I’m really stoked about that.

Tony: Who are these companies?

Emily: Cordial Cables and Hercules stands.

Tony: Do you have any other ongoing endorsements?

Emily: Yes, actually last year I hooked up officially with LR Baggs. They are my violin pickups and DI boxes. A lot of my guitar pedals are LR Baggs. That’s another thing, this year, I’m playing more guitar this year for a live show. I haven’t told anyone this, so here it is for the world. Quilter of course, I’ve been with them for a while. They are my Amp company. I absolutely love them. They are an insane company. Dunlop, I’ve been with them for some time, and last NAMM I picked up Bam Cases. They are my violin cases, for everyday and traveling/touring. Any place I drive or fly, I put my violins in those cases. They’re lightweight and super sturdy. It’s a double violin case so I can bring two all the time.

Tony: What would you want anyone reading this to know, and/or shout out to anyone, or a philosophy or anything?

Emily: When it comes to me, I’m looking for the next bigger artist to play with, I love all the people I’ve gotten to play with, I’m looking to share the stage with Steven Tyler, Dave Grohl, Rival Sons, all these guys. Another thing, for anyone reading this, is anyone struggling to get out there as an artist, and Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons told me this, you have to fall in love with falling down and getting back up… because it’s not easy for anyone. You just have to keep going.

Please visit Emily V’s Official Website for more information.

Interview with Worldwide Panic at NAMM 2020

Tony Lepre: Go ahead and introduce yourselves.

Worldwide Panic: Lane Steel, bass and vocalist, George Patmas, lead guitar and vocalist, George Gutierrez rhythm guitar and vocalist.

Tony: What do you guys have coming up for 2020?

Worldwide Panic: We have a single we’re going to be dropping sometime around early spring, called “I Tried.” Keep an eye out for that.  

Tony: What is going on here at NAMM for you all this year? What gear do you represent?

Worldwide Panic: We represent Schecter, Pig Hog Cables and Coffin Case, Killer Q Guitar Straps, Dirtbag Clothing, SIT Strings. These people are gracious enough to bestow upon us this gear that we need to be a touring band, so the least we can do is come and show our respect, say hello. That’s mainly the reason we are here. We are fortunate to have so many companies behind us, and yes it would be cool to catch some new ones, but we already have stuff beyond our wildest dreams, and we’re so lucky.

Tony: Anything you want to say, shout out to any of your fans or friends out there?

Worldwide Panic: We have a big 2020 planned. We are going to go back on tour, and plan on doing at least two runs this year. We have the new single coming out, and we plan to do a video shoot for that. We just did a promo shoot where we will be showcasing our new wardrobe, which took quite awhile to achieve. We’re really stoked on introducing that, in tandem with this single, which will usher in a new era in Worldwide Panic. We’re going to stay busy and we’re far from done. I think, with all the touring we’ve done, and our experiences as individuals, putting this record out, having it chart on iTunes and Billboard in September of 2019, we’re just really dead set on pushing this unit further and keep this crazy adventure going.

Tony: Where can people find you on all the regular social media, digital platforms?

Worldwide Panic: FaceBook, InstaGram, Twitter, Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, BandCamp, and to our fans out there, you’ve been so supportive. We get your messages all the time and it really does mean the world to us, you guys letting us know that you want more of this. We heard you and we’re coming.

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