Credit: Neil Zlozower
There is simply not a single weak link in the newly-launched rock act, THE NEW CZARS. Band mastermind/singer/guitarist Greg Hampton has worked with and/or produced some of rock’s most renowned acts over the years (Alice Cooper, Lita Ford, Bootsy Collins, Buckethead, Tommy Bolin’s ‘Whips and Roses’ releases, just to name a few), while the rhythm section of bassist Paul Ill and drummer David “Chilli” Moreno has compiled an equally impressive resume (Reeves Gabrels, Bruce Dickinson, Puddle of Mudd, Courtney Love, Pink, etc.). As a result, the trio’s debut album, DOOMSDAY REVOLUTION, is one hellacious slice of tough hard rock.
“It came about when I finished Alice Cooper’s ALONG CAME A SPIDER, Lita Ford’s WICKED WONDERLAND and Science Faxtion’sL.O.A.F. albums. Over the course of recording those three releases back to back, unique ideas started materializing. I had become closer friends with the owner of Samson Records, who like me, has very eclectic tastes in music. I had originally anticipated them being more soundtrack-type instrumental songs, but the progressive ones took their own direction musically--with some of the things I had envisioned. I actually approached Paul Ill first, before I approached anybody, because I wanted to do something that would be more progressive. Even though Paul has played and written with Christina Aguilera, Pink, Courtney Love, etc, he is extremely versatile and that guy can go toe to toe with the heaviest rockers.”
Immediately, the trio was struck by how the sounds they were creating managed to incorporate their varied influences---funk, prog, heavy metal, classic rock--while also managing to be focused and current. “Heavy, melodic, contemporary,” is what Paul Ill describes it as. “I think Nine Inch Nails’ audience will really like it. It’s got an electronic flair.” But as Moreno points out, it’s probably best to be heard rather than described. “It's definitely rock, but it's not watered down modern/active rock that you hear all the time on the radio. It has its own sound and style. Musically, it's a bit on the darker/heavier side, but it's a cross between European and American Rock...you've got to hear it!”
And while he’s not a full-time member of the band, one of rock’s greatest all-time guitarists lent his six-string skills to some of the songs on DOOMSDAY REVOLUTION--Adrian Belew. “I always wanted to work with Adrian,” recalls Hampton. “His sensibilities for progressive and weird stuff and pop stuff are certainly on par with my thinking. I rang him up, and we decided that he would contribute some things to it. I had probably 30 or 40 ideas in basic forms of gelling, so I just started sorting out the best of the ideas and putting down basic foundation tracks to build from. Then I sent some of the bits to Adrian. There’s some similar comparisons to the things he’s been involved in over the course of his career, whether it be Nine Inch Nails or King Crimson.”
Recorded at several different studios (Hampton’s own Hampton Hacienda Laboratory, Belew’s Studio Belew, Paul Ill’s Psychedelic Shack, and Moreno’s Sol Studios), it all adds up to one cohesive, kick ass album, with quite a few standouts. “I really like some of the stuff we cut with Chilli and Paul together: ‘Time Stops,’ ‘Don’t Watch Me.’ On some of the instrumentals, I was able to stretch out on my guitar playing. ‘Desperate’ was a real challenge, because originally, it was a sprawling seven-minute piece. I had to edit it so it was cohesive. That was probably the most difficult song to turn into a vocal song, but it really turned out to be one of the better songs.”
And where does Paul Ill see the band going in the future? “I look forward to the band playing live and we’re all excited about doing the next record with everybody in the room at the same time. I really regret that I didn’t get to play alongside Adrian Belew when he was at the studio. Maybe next time! I was incredibly honored when Greg asked me to play on THE NEW CZARS record. What started as me being hired as a session bass player evolved into becoming a full-time band member, which I quite like.” And lastly, Hampton is willing to juggle his busy schedule to make room for THE NEW CZARS. “We’re going to do a lot of viral video stuff. We cut 24 songs, so we definitely have enough for another album. It’s hard to look that far in the future. It also depends on everybody else’s schedules. I’m going to continue working and producing other bands. There’s a lot of stuff I want to do, perhaps dabbling in film scoring, as well.”
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