Eric Ragno is the ‘keyboards player to the stars’, having returned from another successful Firefest he gives us a quick update and his best of selections…
What have you got planned music wise for next year?
I’m working on the new Jesse Damon album, produced by Paul Sabu and also featuring Pete Newdeck. I’ve always been a fan of Jesse’s music and he’s encouraged me to “do my thing” on his new album. I’m really excited at what we’ve done so far! I’m also working on a new CD with my friend Danny Veras from 7 Months, one of my favorite bands here in LA. I’m also hoping to finish the new Faithsedge with Giancarlo Floridia & Fabrizio Grossi. There are a few other things on the horizon but I’ve been so swamped this year and now I’m trying to pace myself.
How was Firefest for you? Do you get much chance to see other bands perform and who did you enjoy seeing live?
Firefest is always an amazing experience. A lot of the bands this year are good friends of mine, people I’ve worked with in the past like Far Cry, Dante Fox, Danger Danger, Tyketto – and it was great to hang out with them in the UK and watch them blow away sold out audiences! Ted Poley one again gave the master class on how to be a frontman. I enjoyed Stage Dolls, and of course I enjoyed the sets I performed in this year. I got up for a guest spot with my buddies in Far Cry, which was a blast! I also performed a set with Robin Beck, and the following day with Fiona. The band also featured Jorge Salan from Jeff Scott Soto’s band, BJ Zampa & James Christian from House of Lords, and my good buddy Tommy Denander. What a killer band! Tommy & I have done some records together in the past, and we’ve always talked about playing live together. Firefest gave us the opportunity to do just that. We rehearsed near my home town for a week, and we all flew to the UK together to rock out with the best fans in the world! The entire experience was pretty moving, and I really have to thank everyone involved for their friendship and professionalism.
How did you end –up playing on the Bonrud album and any chance they may tour /play some festivals?
I met Paul on the Melodic Rock message boards, and we really admired each other’s work. The first Bonrud album is killer, and featured the same graphic artist that designed my China Blue CD. We both gravitate towards a certain vibe, and I told Paul I’d be happy to help when he was ready to do the next CD. He really poured his heart into this new one, and Keith Olsen did an amazing job as well. The band worked on some new videos last month, and we’re already working on some new material for the next one.
Top five albums… (in no particular order)
• Jeff Scott Soto – Damage Control
• Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
• Jeremy Frederick – Every Little Thing
• Dante Fox – Lost Man’s Ground
• Trixter – New Audio Machine
Top DVD…Would have to be The Avengers! I also enjoyed some live music DVD’s – Crunch Live from Firefest, and Talon DVD Live in Chicago, which I play on. Another great highlight!
Top gigs…for me personally, it would be Firefest without a doubt! I also saw some great performances this year from Silent Rage, Little Caesar, and Steel Panther! Man they blow me away!
Best re-issue… Kiss – Destroyer (Resurrected). And I suppose Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth! Get it? No seriously I love what they did with that one; it was absolutely the best way for them to return.
Highs and lows of 2012…
Highs: I finally published my free music app, which lets you stream hours of music & video from my work over the years. Also, hanging at the NAMM show with our new Rat Pack – Pete Fry (Far Cry), Giancarlo Floridia (Faithsedge), John Parker (Talon) & Rachel Logan (radio personality at Star 84). We spent a crazy weekend together and had the BEST time!
Lows: While having sushi at NAMM with the same group, I got a phone call that my 10 year old son was really sick again. We’ve been in/out of hospitals for the whole year, trying to isolate his condition. Also my wife had major surgery which left her incapacitated for several months, and I had to put my career on hold to take care of my family. That is obviously the most important thing in the world, and all of this has brought us all closer together.
Any tips for bands/musicians to keep an eye on in 2013?
Really looking forward to unwrapping these new CD’s with Jesse Damon, Faithsedge & Danny Veras. It’s been a tough year, and we’ve finally got most of the hard stuff behind us. I’m looking forward to seeing what great things the future holds. Be sure to check out the latest on my site at www.keyboardplayer.net
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In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
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Featured Albums w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 CHAMPLIN, WILLIAMS, FRIESTEDT II (Black Lodge)
12:00-13:00 VANDENBERG 2020 (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT What In The World (Pauper Sky Records)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
SAVANNAH POPE He Sees Me (indie)
LOST TUESDAY SOCIETY Devil In A B&B (indie)
GLASS OCEAN Beyond Us (indie)
BLIND RIVER – Burn The Sun (indie)
BEYOND THE BLACK Wounded Healer (Napalm Records)
BAD TOUCH Too Much Of A Good Thing (Marshall Records)
HOUSE OF LORDS Chemical Rush (Frontiers)
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