Interview date

July 2007


Yann G


Hi Michael, thanks a lot for accepting this interview for the french metal Webzine http://www.auxportesdumetal.com/
Can you please tell us about your band "Accomplice" ?

We are a melodic hard rock group from Southern California with a new release out called "She's on Fire". A little history on the band: The first release was a self-title CD put out on an Italian label in 2000. Then they followed up with "Voices", a Dream Theater Tribute CD playing "Pull Me Under". Accomplice has performed live as the supporting act for Yngwie Malmsteen, MSG, Night Ranger, TNT, and Savatage, among many others. Today, we are performing live in support of the new release. Although Johnny Gioeli recorded vocals on all of the CD, he is not apart of the group and Terry Ilous (XYZ) performs live with us.

Is it a one-shot project or do you consider it as a band?

Even though there has been a switch in vocalists, the core of the band is still there with Sean, Scott and I. We are close friends of many years and have spent a great deal of our time keeping this band alive and with all the fan support, we are happy with where it has been going. Therefore, I see this group going another 10 years. It's been a blast and I plan on continuing to be apart of it all.

This album is released under your own label or studio, am I wrong ? Can you please tell us more about your label and if you release some other bands ?

"She's on Fire" is on Sonic Vibe Records for the U.S. & MTR Records for Europe with MTR Entertainment managing the group. We will eventually sign on another act, preferably a European rock band that wants a shot at Hollywood. We grew up here and have many contacts to offer a band. With so many connections of our own and relationships that we've built with some of the best industry contacts, we've been successful in launch our own release on a global scale. We've had a lot of support thru industry friends like Bruce Mee at Fireworks Magazine (UK) who put "Cry Again" on their latest compilation, Andrew McNiece at MelodicRock who graciously plugs us in on his popular site, and Lucas Gordon from Argentina (relocated to Hollywood) who is a great rock journalist that has posted several great reviews in South America. We have three distributors that we work with exclusively. Also, my brother owns Mean Street Magazine in Los Angeles, so we have a great outlet to promote that way too.

How would you describe the style of "She's On Fire" ?

I would say it is definitely an 80's style melodic rock/AOR record with lots of influences from Van Halen to Whitesnake. We can get a bit progressive and love to show our Dream Theater side of our playing but overall it is really straight up melodic rock like Hardline. I've always liked Sean's style of writing and how he allows the keyboards to be an intricate part of the music even though it is very guitar/vocal driven. We all grew up on Journey, Styx and Boston, so we all have the same taste for music. When we played the tracks for Johnny, we all new his voice would fit perfect with the music.

How did you hook up with Terry Ilous ?

I met him several years ago through drummer Atma Anur. I like working with great singers and always liked Terry's voice. You can tell he sings from the heart. He sings hard rock with lots of soul and feeling. When I finally had the chance to work with him, I would go to his studio in Hollywood and record tracks. I played piano on "The Road" from his new release out now called "Hear and Gone". It was cool to finally be on a record with him and an honor that it was his solo record. I look forward to continue recording with him and Sean & I have already approached him to record vocals on the next Accomplice release.

Production is by Derek Sherinian and Simon Philips. How did you get the opportunity to have these 2 famous guys ?

I started studying with Derek in 1999 after I met him at the Bake Potato in Hollywood at a Planet X show. For several years, I interned for him and one day I introduced him to Sean. We then discussed and agreed on recording "She's on Fire" at Derek's studio. At the time, Simon was working with Derek on his solo record, so we got to hang out with him. He listened to a few tracks and agreed to record our drummer at his studio in Hollywood Hills.

You're a keyboardist, however the tracks never include shred solos. Is it a will to keep the keyboards in the background ? Are you against the shred ?

For this record, I was into a melodic rock frame of mind. I do love to shred and Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore and Yngwie are my favorites, but I'm saving the shred for my solo record. Although. there is a cool trade-off shred fest on "Last Hurray" between guitars and keys. Also, on "Party's Over" you can find a ripping keyboard solo. When I perform live with Accomplice, I do get to let loose more, especially during my keyboard solo, which is time to step it up and show more of my technical abilities.

Why did you choose Johnny Gioeli for the vocals ?

Johnny has been a long time favorite of mine since the Brunette days and the first Hardline cd "Double Eclipse". When I joined Hardline for the second release, I was very excited to be his keyboardist. When the vocal spot became available for our CD, we approached Johnny. He heard the material and agreed to record. Sean & I new he would fit perfect with our style.

Johnny's voice tone is unique and immediately reminds me of the Hardline and Axel Rudi Pell songs. What are your feelings about Axel Rudi Pell band and his songs ?

I like Axel mostly because of Johnny's voice and Mike Terrana's drumming. You either love Axel's music or hate it. It sounds at times that his guitar is even out of tune on the recordings. His playing doesn't come close to Ritchie Blackmore or Yngwie but seems to have some similarities and I like that style. My favorite tune is "Oceans of Time" and also the Jeff Scott Soto era with the tune "Snake Eyes".

What are your future projects with ANGEL and HARDLINE ? Do you have any plan for other external projects ?

I'm looking forward to getting into the studio to complete the new ANGEL release then hit the road with them. I can't wait for the HARDLINE III to finally be released on Frontiers Records and a possible tour following that. I keep busy working on many projects here in Los Angeles and this year, I've been gigging but mostly concentrating on recording. I recently performed two Hollywood shows with Slavior featuring Mark Zonder (Fates Warning) and Wayne Findlay (MSG) for their live dvd that Inside Out Records recorded to promote their new release. Whenever I get the chance, I like playing at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood with GIT Instructor Ken Steiger with his group Project Steiger. As far as recording this year, I played keys on the new Lizzy Borden CD coming this summer, I'm a special guest on J.K. Northrup's new release "Wired in my Skin" and Terry Ilous' new solo CD. I do plan on releasing my debut solo record this year and an instructional rock keyboard dvd.

How do you manage to handle the worldwide distribution and promotion for "She's On Fire" ?

We are placing advertisements in various rock magazines around the world, doing tons of online and radio interviews, performing as much as we can live and getting our friends, fans and industry contacts behind the record.
We have three trusted distributors that we hand picked to use for distribution. For US, we use www.nehrecords.com, Japan we use www.diskunion.co.jp and for Europe we have www.musicbuymail.de.

Do you plan to tour to promote it ? If yes, when and where ? With which other bands ?

Accomplice is touring now at select location throughout the States. We just returned from the East Coast performing in New Jersey at Dingbatz and in Virginia at Jaxx Night Club. We are also playing in Hollywood at the Gig on Melrose in August and other shows in California. At this time, we are in discussion with a European promoter to make arrangements to have Accomplice perform out there.

Will we have the opportunity to see you live in France ?

We sure hope so and are talking with other booking agents so we have that great opportunity.

What do you think of european and american metal today ?

With so many US rock bands touring in Europe and vice versa, it seems it has all blended together by now. I personally find Swedish guitarists extremely talented. For example, I think Jonas Hornqvist is awesome and wish we had more killer guitarist here like him. Its cool seeing American musicians relocating to join European bands like the singer from Sun Caged moved from San Diego to Germany to be in the group. I've been studying Italian and look forward to doing the same thing there in the near future. It's nice to see European and American rockers share the same stages together. We all are responsible for keeping Rock n' Roll alive, so it's all good!

Tell me the 3 albums you're listening to right now that you love ?

Starbreaker- A must to get. The new self titled Tony Harnell project, with Fabrizio Grossi who played bass and produced it, another great new Frontiers Records release.

Terry Ilous- "Here and Gone". Awesome cd with tons of very good material and and array of top players. Terry voice is really good on this release.

Lillian Axe- New Steve Blaze release on Metro City Records called "Water's Rising" with new vocalist Derrick LeFevre. Good song writing and excellent musicianship.

Thanks again for your time. Would you have some words for the readers of the webzine ?

Thanks for having me apart of Auxportesdumetal.com and continuing your support for Rock n' Roll. It takes all of us, the artists, journalists, promoters, labels and most importantly the fans to do our part to keep Rock n' Roll alive. For all you die-hard Johnny Gioeli fans, the new Accomplice "She's on Fire" is a must to pick up. For more info go to www.accomplicemusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/accomplicemusic

Last minute : ACCOMPLICE is opening up for DEEP PURPLE at the Majestic Ventura Theater for their only Los Angeles area appearance August 13, 2007.