AOR Heaven [Release date 28.02.20]
Jesse Damon will be best remembered by many 80s rock fans as he was the lead singer and guitarist for the band Silent Rage. Silent Rage rose to fame in 1989 when signed by Gene Simmons to Simmons/RCA Records for their second album ‘Don’t Touch Me There’, which brought critical acclaim and rave reviews. Since the demise of Silent Rage Jesse has released a series of solo albums, with ‘Damon’s Rage’ being his seventh.
As a further treat for melodic rock fans, Paul Sabu is at the helm once again producing this album and also co-wrote two songs, ‘Love Gone Wild’ and ‘Wildest Dreams’. Paul Sabu’s earthier backing vocals also add greatly to the enjoyment of each song.
On the whole you get what you’d expect from a Jesse Damon solo album, namely polished melodic hard rock, a prime example being ‘Electric Magic’, which features some serious air keyboards moments! ‘Tell Me Lili’ (with a bizarre sounding bagpipe intro) is prime time melodic rock, containing a whiff of Foreigner about it. If you want a bit more pedal to the metal, ‘Adrenaline’ does just that.
It is not all straight ahead melodic rock, as the title track lives up its title with dreamy keys and a definition of an instant chorus (that man Sabu again adding to the backing vocals). There is even a little bit of prog on ‘Flyin’ Dutchman’, a tale of the famous ghost ship and another song to feature a fine guitar solo. Not sure who does the guitar solos on the album, but they are all tight, concise and melodic, nothing OTT to detract from a song’s melody.
Jesse Damon and Paul Sabu make a great team, working together to produce one of Jesse’s most enjoyable solo albums to date. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
Jesse answered a few questions about the album, how he met up with Paul Sabu and future plans for Silent Rage…
How did you first meet and start working with Paul Sabu?
(Jesse Damon) I met Paul Sabu in 1985. He was scoring music for a movie called “Hard Rock Zombies’ and Silent Rage bass player EJ Curse was starring in it. EJ met Paul at a production meeting for the movie and the two talked about music and it just so happened that Paul’s style of playing was similar to our Silent Rage style. EJ set up a dinner meeting with Paul to meet the rest of the members and that meeting was the start of a new business
partnership and eventually became a long friendship.
We got together and traded stories with each about our backgrounds and other goals, it was clear we liked him and he offered to produce some demoes for us. He told us he was working steady out of a recording studio called Preffered Sound in Woodland Hills, California. It was there that we recorded our first album “Shattered Hearts.
You both make a good team as the album proves. Could you take us through the process of making the album e.g how you both work on songwriting, making the music etc.
Thank you for saying that, I feel we create and produce music very well together.
For this album “Damon’s Rage” I wrote an entire album of new songs except for “Love Gone Wild”, which was co-written by Paul and I a while ago and I was sitting on it, waiting for the right moment and album to release it on. Also the song Wildest Dreams I wrote alone but after recording it and listening to it Paul wrote an addendum section to the chorus and it just worked out magically and became a focal point to add to the song!
The other songs I wrote alone for this album and brought them in a couple at a time.
When I enter the studio to put together a guideline for a song I record a basic rhythm guitar and a scratch vocal along with a click track. From there we talk about and listen to the lengths of parts and do some nip and tucking to the point of finding the right feel and length of parts to the song.
I don’t like to do more than 2 songs together at a time from the beginning because one really needs to focus and not start to put the same inflections in the next songs. I like them to stand on they’re own. We talk a bout the feels for the drums and I usually have the initial idea and feel to start off what I hear and what I’m looking for. Same with the keyboards, I will sometimes give Paul melody line ideas from the guitar and he puts it down on keys. Paul has many ideas too and most are very good.
Sometimes we stop and laugh because we have to many to choose from. I guess it goes the
same for not being able to think of anything for a part at a certain moment, you sometimes just start to laugh… I take all the tracks very seriously but its in the lead vocal that I’m most critical and want to really capture a great performance and feel because the vocal tells the story and is the heart of a song… So that’s some of what I do in the studio.
The title track to your new album is a rallying call to try and right some wrongs in the world. Do you think music can have a positive impact on the world and in people’s lives?
Yes for sure, I think my music and music in general can make positive impacts on the world, by understanding the lyrics and hearing the melody at the same time touches them in a way which can be magical and positive that wields enormous strength and energy. So to write a song about a someone going around saving those in dire need by performing a song with his six string shield to help to lift someone up and give them some hope and distract them from the evil in the world is a positive impact!
How did you hook-up with AOR Heaven?
I met Georg Siegl (Owner – AOR Heaven) at the Z Rock Festival. Silent Rage was performing at in Manchester, England 2002. I think he was a fan of the band and introduced himself as owner of AOR Heaven/Metal Heaven Records based in Germany.
Later that year Silent Rage performed in Germany and he was there also. Years later we performed in England again at the 2011 FireFest Festival in Nottingham and I ran into Georg again, he said call me if you’re interested in releasing something. Two years later I called him in hope of signing with AOR Heaven and I did with my album Temptation in the Garden of Eve! Damon’s Rage is the second release of mine on AOR Heaven’s catalogue.
Do you think melodic rock and rock music in general, is still drawing in new fans, especially younger people?
Yes, I think the new and younger generation of fans are still into rock. Some find it from their parents old music, some find out about it through they’re friends, and then there’s the internet, promotions of festivals, concerts, merch, it’s all fun and good stuff for the young! Metal is going very strong these days and that opens the door for metal heads to listen to other rock. Radio and the entertainment business of making documentaries of rock star hero’s is big, so there’s a lot of outlets for it to catch the eye’s of the youth in the world. Also there’s a big market for the older crowd too, which pretty much is my fan base…
Are there any plans to play live around this album’s release? How is the live scene now in the US? Here in the UK it is getting tougher as many small to medium sized venues have closed in recent years, particularly in London.
It’s sad to hear that, but if an artist gets an opportunity and wants to travel its still possible. I would rather perform at festivals than do a club tour because you can reach so many more fans and people that way in one performance. I am working on landing some fests this year, hopefully in Europe. I have been negotiating so dates hear locally in Los Angeles and stateside.
So yes I want to perform live! The bigger the city the more the competition of many different genre’s. Hip hop, rap, country, blues and rock all battle for some of the same people to come to their shows, its a melting pot in Los Angeles. It’s just crazy…
What’s the current status with Silent Rage – are there any plans for new music or any live shows in the near future?
Because I am focused on my new album right now it’s to hard to do both, but my wish and what I’d like to do is write this coming summer or fall with the SR guys and have Paul Sabu record a new album next year. If I can make it happen I think a lot of SR fans will be very happy including moi…
Are there any plans to re-issue the Silent Rage albums with possible bonus material? The ‘Shattered Hearts’ album can be bought for £1,453.22 on Amazon UK!
Yes I think that would be in our plans if the new album comes to fruition.
Message for your fans…
Thanks so much Jason and all at Get Ready To Rock!
A Big Thanks to all my fans who’ve supported me, I owe you all my deepest gratitude and I do it all for you!
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