Escape Music [Release date 23.08.19]
Something a bit different on Escape Music, a label more associated with melodic rock and AOR, as Eighteenth Hour are modern rockers. This is the band’s seventh album and they have landed some prestigious support slots including opening for Bon Jovi in their hometown.
Eighteenth Hour consist of David Zullo (guitar), Geoff Houser (vocals, guitar), Jim Touchton (bass) and Tom Chaffier (drums).
When they rock, they rock hard like on ‘Such A Shame’. Album stand out is ‘Unnoticed’, built on a nifty bit of percussion and deliciously groovy bit of slide guitar. Well worth a listen and adding to your playlists. They definitely tip their musical hat to Live, successfully straddling modern rock and having memorable melodies to appeal to older rock fans.
Eighteenth Hour have been steadily building a reputation for their music and live shows in and around their home town of Bethlehem PA, now with a new label and strong set of songs, they look set for global take off! ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
Guitarist Dave Zullo answers a few questions about the new album and supporting the likes of Bon Jovi and Collective Soul…
You have your new, self-titled album released this month. How would you describe the band’s sound to someone new to the band?
Someone recently said our new album has a modern sounding 70’s riff rock vibe with a tinge of the 90’s mixed in. That’s reasonably accurate, and a compliment in my opinion. Whereas you can say that Greta Van Fleet sounds like Led Zeppelin, I don’t think there is a direct connection or comparison to a single band for us. I think our sound stems from a broad landscape of rock bands from the 60’s to now. It will be interesting to ask that question to the listeners…maybe they can give us a good comparison!
How did Eighteenth Hour hook-up with Escape Music?
Our engineer/producer, Brian J. Anthony, does some work for other Escape Music artists. Khalil (head of Escape Music) happened to ask Brian what he was currently working on in the studio so Brian mentioned our name. Khalil heard a few of the tunes and got in contact with us. Even though our music is a little different than most other Escape Music artists, Khalil liked it and the discussions went on from there. We really liked Khalil’s vision and passion for supporting rock music. We’re psyched to get Escape’s support and be on a label with some artists that we listened to growing up, like Steve Walsh, Mike Tramp, etc.
You have supported some big names like Bon Jovi, Collective Soul and Skid Row to name but a few. Which ones did the band enjoy most and why? Who, if given the chance, would the band like to go on the road with and support?
That’s a tough question; all were unique and all great experiences. Clearly Bon Jovi was awesome based on the size of the crowd & venue as well as the professionalism & generosity that Jon, Phil X & the crew displayed towards us. However, as far as crowd engagement, the Skid Row fans kicked ass. They are a pretty wild bunch and really latched onto the music in our set. On the other hand, the most interesting artist we engaged with was probably Bret Michaels (of Poison). That guy had more security than the Pope, haha. I vividly remember playing an outdoor festival where his tour bus was parked right across the street from the stage. His bus door opened, he walked out with a bunch of security, got into a van, the van did a U-turn to pull up right behind the stage, and then him & his entourage walked onto the stage. I remember looking at Tom, Jim & Geoff and we were all laughing cause he could have just walked 30ft from his bus to get onto the stage! Haha. As far as who we would like to go on the road with, one relevant rock band nowadays is Rival Sons. We’re big fans of them. However, we are not picky and would take the opportunity to get in front of any crowd that we think would dig our music.
Is rock music in good shape in the US? There are a lot of up and coming bands here in the UK and mainland, many playing classic rock and power/melodic metal. Are there up and coming bands making an impact in the US at the moment?
Another tough question. Rock music in the US is very niche oriented, and definitely shrinking in popularity. In the area we are based (East Coast), the majority of listeners are gravitating to house/DJ music, country music & singer-songwriter music. As a result, venues for original rock music acts are closing. While there are a few up & coming rock bands that have found success, I would say they are an exception and not the norm. However, to pursue rock music in today’s digital world, you shouldn’t just focus on the area you live. Even though our local area might not have the demographics to support our art/music, we’re fortunate to be working with Escape Music and getting our music heard in geographies where rock artists are thriving. That’s our focus.
What have Eighteenth Hour got planned for the rest of 2019 and early next year?
Our album gets released on Aug 23rd and since we are really proud of this work, we plan to take an extensive period to promote it internationally. First, digitally through the remainder of ’19, and then organizing performances into ’20.
How do the band view the current live music scene? What are the bands favorite live venues to play and why?
Live music is where we feel most at home and where we win most of our fans. Our preference is to perform on larger stages which is why we try to book shows as a supporting act to national touring acts. We believe our music goes well on bigger stages with larger sets of lights & better sound vs. smaller clubs. However, we do play our fair share of smaller regional venues and some coffeehouses acoustically to broaden our fan base. My personal favorite is a historic coffeehouse called Godfrey Daniels in Pennsylvania. It’s been a music venue for over 50yrs and has had some fairly famous artists perform there before they got popular.
Message for your fans and anything else to add…
Please pick up our album on Aug 23rd through Amazon, Wal-Mart, iTunes, etc. Tell us what you think, and tell your friends about it (if you like it of course!). Thanks for the support and hope to see you at a show!
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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