About a year ago, Simon, Max, and myself spent three days writing and arranging some music. Then we rehearsed three days. Then we went into the studio. We had no idea what the songs would sound like other than we all knew that IT HAD TO BE VERY VERY GOOD or else it was not worth doing.
The first song that we completed is called "Watch The City Burn." I played some (very basic) keyboards on that one. And, after hearing how much the keyboards added to that song, I wanted to add keyboards to the other songs. However, I also wanted to perform live and I don't like to play keyboards and sing at the same time, so we called up Scott Warren to see what it would sound like if he put some keyboard parts on the tracks. Scott's contributions added a lot.
To introduce the new band to both the new and the old audience, myself and the folks at HNE/Cherry Red Records in the UK put together the "To Hellion and Back" anthology. We wanted to include one new song, in addition to twenty-five previously released songs from Hellion. That CD came out in April of this year and is available through New Renaissance Records in the US on amazon and through the Hellion store.
The "To Hellion and Back" CD set the stage for the release of the first new Hellion release in more than a decade. Amazon is selling pre-orders for it. We are also making a fan pack available through the Hellion Store.
Once we had a release date, it was time to schedule some shows. Initially the plan was to go on the road for ten days, see what happened, and then take it from there. Once word got out that Hellion was performing live, however, we got more and more and more offers. What started off as five shows, grew to ten shows, then to twenty.
Once the signed contracts started coming in for the shows it was time to pick a set list. In doing so, we had to consider how our current line-up of musicians would sound playing the old Hellion classics. It was at this point that we decided we needed to bring in a second guitarist as a special guest.
I realized that it was much more "cost effective" if the touring band had less people. But, after all these years, I believed that the fans deserved more than just a "cost effective" incarnation of Hellion. So, instead of being a four-piece, or a five-piece, I decided that "Karma's A Bitch" touring line-up of Hellion should have six members.
When word got out that we were looking for a second guitarist, my email and facebook message boxes filled up. 99% of the people who sent messages were lead guitarists. However, Simon and I decided that, due to Scott Warren's contributions, what we really needed was a RHYTHM guitarist who could do some harmony guitar leads when necessary.
Simon had worked with Georg Dolivo in Rhino Bucket. Many people know Georg because he is the lead singer of Rhino Bucket, who also plays rhythm guitar. I am a big fan of Rhino Bucket and have seen them many times. I immediately liked the idea to working with Georg. Also, since Georg has a raspy voice, I thought there was a good chance that our voices would sound good together and that he would be able to contribute on the chorus sections of the songs.
Since we had a scheduling conflict with Bjorn Englen, Matt Duncan from DC4 rehearsed with us a couple weeks ago so that we see how we sounded with Georg. It was immediately obvious that it was going to work.
Some have you have probably seen that Bjorn Englen is touring with Tony McAlpine during October, which conflicts with Hellion's "Karma's A Bitch" North American tour. Since both shows must go on, Hellion is bringing in a different bass player to stand in for Bjorn on this leg of our tour. I can't announce who he is yet, however, but many of you have already seen him in a number of international touring bands. I plan to announce his name within the next two weeks.
In addition to our touring line-up, we also have organized the best team ever of people ever to support Hellion this tour. Special shout-outs go to our booking agent, Jan, and Mark Hymen at ATI, and our Tour Manager, Demetrius Bermudez, who organized routing -- and a whole lot more. Brenda Starr is already hard at work with our "boots on the ground" in each city where Hellion will play on this tour, to make sure that everything possible is being done on a local level to make our shows a big success. She will be traveling on the tour bus and will be assisting members of the Hellion street team in each city. We also have top professionals set to help promote the "Karma's A Bitch" CD to the radio stations that play rock and metal, and to the local and national news and music media. Miranda Tate is handling our merch sales on the road. Lee Holister will be making sure the back-line equipment works flawlessly. James Shotwell is handling staging, special effects, and lighting. Kelly Gray is in charge of sound. Jimmy will be driving the bus. Sorry if I forgot anybody.
Right now, in addition to overseeing the release of the new Hellion CD on New Renaissance Records, I'm also getting ready to order new Hellion merchandise.
Right now it's late. Time to sleep. Thanks everybody for your support!