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Gimme 5

Jon Drenning
Jeff Lords


Crimson Glory

11.08.11
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In April and May you´ve done some shows under the name “Phoenix Rising 25th Anniversary European Tour”. How do you look back to this tour and the shows?

Jon Drenning: We had a wonderful time; the fans were amazing. It gave us a great opportunity to reconnect with our fans, and to perform all of our classic songs from the first two albums. Having Todd La Torre in the band has made all the difference in the world, as he really captured the spirit of Midnight and understands the importance of his role within the band as our singer. We sound better than ever, and for many fans, this is the first time they have actually seen us live.

Jeff Lords: Very successful. I think that we, thanks mostly to Todd, have shown the fans that we are capable of continuing in a fashion that we had always dreamed that we could.




How do you spend your time when you are not on tour with  Crimson Glory  - do you play in another band, are you with your family, do you visit concerts of bands you like?

Jon Drenning: I spend most of my time with my wife and friends, traveling, vacationing, etc. When writing music,  Crimson Glory  is the only band that I dedicate my time and effort toward. Yes, I do go to concerts to check out different bands and different styles of music. I look for new inspirations from different areas of music; trying to find something that is unique and intriguing, and this has taken me far outside my genre on more than a few occasions.

Jeff Lords: These days, I spend much of my time co-parenting two teenagers. This doesn’t leave much spare time, but what time it does leave, I have another musical project. This came about, in part, because of our having to part ways with Midnight after Rockwave, ‘05. It was during this time that Midnight’s absence, along with other personal issues within the band, left a few of us apprehensive about continuing. A few years had passed, and feeling like all creativity had come to a stand-still, myself and a few friends started another project. For the record, it is nothing like  Crimson Glory, and this is by no accident. With CG, there is an established precedent that we cannot ignore, when writing. Fans expect certain things. With my own stuff, there is simply more freedom, which admittedly can be a double-edged sword. In any case, I have two different creative outlets. As far as watching concerts, I don’t really attend many shows now a days. In the rare case that I see a concert, I can’t help but think that I should be doing this full time, as well.



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The biggest questions from fans and followers of  Crimson Glory  are of course: when will you go into the studio again to record a new album, what can we expect and will you tour Europe after the CD-release?

Jon Drenning: We are presently writing some new songs for our new album, with a to-be-deterined release date. We want to spend as much time as necessary to ensure that this record is as good as, if not better than, anything we've done previously. We know what our fans love about  Crimson Glory's music, and we're aiming to create a new album that our fans can be very impressed by and proud of. Midnight's death was a very pivotal moment in our band's history, and he continues to be an inspiration to me, just as he is to our fans around the world. I am finding my passion and inspiration from the music we created long ago with Midnight, which will enable us to create music much along the lines of what we've done before. Todd understands this as well, and I know he's going to do an amazing job with his contributions to our music.

Jeff Lords: Yes, we intend to do a new record once these few shows are behind us. We all have ideas and a vision. I have many recorded ideas, some complex; some simple. I think one thing that makes us special is our ability to, one minute, be simple, and the next, be complex. We can write and play the ballads that move people, but we also have the heavy, riff-oriented stuff that moves people a different way. In either case, I know it’s my job to provide a solid, melodic foundation.




Which are your favourite Top 5 bands and your favourite Top 5 albums?

Jon Drenning:

1. The Beatles  - Their amazing songwriting skills, arrangement, and sense of melody have made  The Beatles  legends for all time. True pioneers of rock music and the inspiration behind other classic rock heavyweights such as  QueenSabbathFloyd (all bands on my top 5 list, actually!) and on through today. You can actually hear  The Beatles  as they grow and evolve in their personal and songwriting aspects, and the fact that they did all of this in the short span of eight years is unparalleled, if not mind boggling, to say the least.

2. Pink Floyd  - I love their depth and passion, and how they leave the spaces between the notes to really tell the tale. Their songwriting and arrangements were so simple, and yet still carried so much more weight than any 180-bpm rock or metal band today. They've always sounded larger than life, and again, it's these spaces between the music that makes them sound so massive. They were a major influence in Midnight's singing and songwriting as well.

3. Led Zeppelin  - I love their versatility and memorable guitar riffs. Robert Plant as a singer always sounded like he knew the secrets of the Universe, and they seemed very mystical; you can tell that their music was very influenced by their personal experiences and travels around the world. At once dark, again beautiful, and at other times bombastic... they have earned and truly deserve their legendary status.

4. Black Sabbath  - Tony Iommi has such a memorable, heavy sound, the darkness of that band was just incredible. Ozzy had such a unique voice as well, and the combination of the two has never been duplicated with the magic that Ozzy and Iommi had. The first time I heard  Black Sabbath, it scared the shit out of me! Iommi's guitars sounded like a legion of doom marching out from the darkest corners of hell. The work that was done with Ronnie James Dio was incredible as well, a horse of a completely different color, but still a dark horse indeed. Truly a classic band that will live forever.

5. Queen - This band took the multi-layered vocal tracks reminiscent of  The Beatles ' Because and turned it into an entire industry. Freddie Mercury had such a unique sound and vision, and the Lennon-McCartney influences are very clear. The rock opera evolved out of this band. Queen  managed to combine every aspect of music that was ass-kicking in any way, and string them all together to form beautiful, heavy, intelligent and triumphant epics that will remain timeless. Brian May's tone is so uniquely unmatched, and his playing is nothing short of legendary. Every touch of his fingers on that instrument are as a lover's touch; passionate, intense, delicate, and achingly beautiful; in fact, it was Brian May who I was trying to emulate in tone and style on the title track to our 1989 release Transcendence!


Jeff Lords: Top 5 rock albums: RUSH - 2112, Van Halen - s/t; Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell ; Sevendust - Home; Iron Maiden - Number Of The Beast.

As far as Top 5 bands, there are simply too many bands that I like to narrow it down to so few.




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Finally I would like to know your favourite  Crimson Glory  song and why you choose this song?

Jon Drenning: That is a very difficult question to answer, having been so intimately involved with all of them. It's like having to pick a favorite child! But if I have to choose one, it would be  In Dark Places. It has a very clear Zeppelin  influence with  Pink Floyd  overtones: the simplicity of the music and the drama and depth of the song is set by the spaces between the notes, the music seems to breathe, and Midnight's voice is at once haunting and beautiful. It's a great song to perform live, it sounds huge and mystical and omnipotent and in that, I feel as though I have accomplished exactly what I admire in my favorite bands.

Jeff Lords: My favorite  Crimson Glory  song to play is  Mask Of The Red Death. My favorite to listen to is  Painted Skies.

 

Photos ©2011 by Hans Clijnk

 

 

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