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Rock Report By Peter

With the re-release of their debut album through British based Z Records US melodic rockers Snakeryder are at this point in time the sole contender for the number one spot in my personal “best of 2004” chart. The band has already started putting together the pieces for a sophomore effort that is scheduled for a release in the first half of the new year. Lead vocalist/lead guitarist AJ Fedz recently took time out to talk to Rock Report about their current release, the band and what’s on the horizon for this amazing combo.

 

 Your debut album has recently been re-packaged, re-titled and re-released by Z Records. Are you happy with the way Z Records have been handling things so far and how different is the Z version from the one originally put out by Metal Mayhem?
 Absolutely! Z Records is more on the ball and more of a true record company then MMM. Z did two months of pre release promo, the album had an exact release date, they frequently update their web site and communicate with us regularly. I will give you an example; MMM did not give DOA a release date, they did very little promo and rarely up date their web site. After MMM released DOA in December 2003, they did not once pick up the phone to tell us squat. The last time I spoke on the phone to MMM owner Ryan Northrop {to this day} was November 2003, pre release of the album. The only difference between the MMM & Z version of our debut is the packaging. The music is the same sound recording.

 


 Do you have any idea how many copies were sold through Metal Mayhem? Isn’t there anything you can do to stop Metal Mayhem from continuing to sell the record?
 I was trying like I muther to get that info. I sent MMM, many emails that were faithfully ignored. I had requested to audit their books and received no response. I then made a lot of noise, and they ended up calling the cops on me for harassment. After a month of my law suit threats, I received the documents per request. To be honest, the documents look bogus. The only thing I know is what they sent me. In May they told us they had in stock, (from the first pressing) only 89 copies of DOA. They then said they were not going to have anymore CD’s pressed and would only sell the remaining CD’s. Well five months later, the DOA CD is still for sale on ebay etc. What can we do? If you’re in bed sleeping and someone decides to steals your car, you can’t do shit! Sure we can spend 10k to take them to court. Truth is, its more trouble then its worth, and they know that!

 

 I gave a very glowing review to your album a couple of weeks ago. What has been the overall reaction to the album now that it’s available through Z Records? I’m sure a lot of people who missed out on the band the first time around (including yours truly!) have now picked up their copy of the disc.
 Peter, thank you for the great review! When someone gives the album a review, I definitely want people to be brutally honest. The over all reaction has been very good. Thank god! I certainly hope releasing the debut on a better label, will bring some new people out of the woodwork.

 

 In how many countries has the album been released?
 Mark at Z told me the CD is physically in records stores in Europe. I don’t know what country’s to be exact. With the Internet and online stores, the album is available world-wide.

 

 In my review I compared you to bands such as Cinderella, Y&T, Quiet Riot, WASP and Ratt and described your music as “pure 80’s melodic hair metal”. What do you think of these comparisons and how would you describe Snakeryder’s music?
 To be quite honest, I don’t like the label “HAIR BAND”. That’s cool if you refer to 80’s bands as hair bands. No problem-o. I have to shed some light on this subject. In the 70’s did we call Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith & Kiss, etc “HAIR BANDS”? NO! In the 80’s did we call Bon Jovi, Poison & Van Halen etc, “HAIR BANDS”? NO! In the 90’s did we call the fore mentioned bands, “ HAIR BANDS”? YES! In the year 2000 do we refer to the fore mentioned bands as “HAIR BANDS” YES! Why? Because the rock world took a nosedive. Everyone that owns a f***ing guitar now goes to the f***ing barber shop and says “SHAVE IT MAN, SINGLE EDGE RAZOR PLEASE”! . Rock & Roll was always about being a rebel with long hair. What happened to the true identity of a Rock & Roller? It’s cool to be compared to such great bands. Snakeryder has since become a topic at the Y&T’s web site forum. I made some friends at their site, not to mention I have become a friend of Dave Meniketti himself. Dave is a good guy!

 

 What can you tell me about the songs on your current album? What do they mean to you on a personal level?
  The songs on the debut are very special to me. How many bands release the same ten songs’ on two different labels? Plus the fact that they passed through the hands of Kivel records and Escape Music too. I also played them live with three different bands one being Adriangale. The songs have been around the block and back. My songs are like a part of my family.

 

 Snakeryder is made up by veterans of the local New Jersey club scene so I can imagine you guys couldn’t wait to go out and support the album’s initial release through live gigs. How many gigs were you guys able to do in support of ‘D.O.A.’?
 We did several local Jersey and New York shows. MMM unfortunately gave the band no tour support whatsoever. We now are counting on the big guy at Z Records. Right now we have to put all our time & energy into the recording of Snakeryder #2.

 

 You’ve already tracked drums, bass and rhythm guitar for 5 new tunes and I know Mark Alger is pushing you guys for a follow-up. But aren’t you afraid that putting out 2 albums so close together will slow down the sales of the debut?
 Five was last weeks count. We’re up to eight new tunes now! You are forgetting, the debut album was released in December 2003 by MMM. The second album has been pencilled in for an April or May 2005 release. That’s well over a year between albums. I don’t think a new release will stop the sales of an older release. Remember its different music! People that buy the first album are more prone to buy the second, or vice-versa.

 


 On the website the title of the new album is said to be “Back For The Kill” and is described as being heavier than the first one. How different will it be from the debut?
 “Back For The Kill” is one of the song titles of the new material. The debut is a more commercial album in the format of Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” or “Night Songs” album. The new material is more in light of Kiss’s “Asylum” or “”Animalize”. Kick ass drums, riffier & crunchier guitars.

 

 Your personal song catalogue is rumoured to contain more than 100 songs written over the past 4 to 5 years. Will any of these end up on the new album?
 The hundred tunes I wrote, were from approximately 1995 to 1999. I have not done too much writing in the past few years. I think I have enough good songs to chose from for the new album. However, I did write one new song that will be up to bat on the new release. The title is “Can’t Stop The Insanity”. Another song pick is pitched from an outside writer named Rod Marr. “We did one of Rod’s songs on DOA”. Also to be featured, is a song I co-wrote with a guitarist/songwriter friend named John Ryan. This song sort of has a modern sound to it. I wanted this song to be included on the album because I have received a lot of great feed back on it. This tune is dark, with a twisted lyric.

 

 How do you go about selecting what songs make the final cut and which not?
 I have written songs of many different rock styles. I have one that sounds like a heavier Pink Floyd. When choosing a song for an album, you need to have a direction. The songs have to sound like they belong on the same album. When you find the sound you are looking for, you then have to pick the winners. I like to give demos to people on the scene to see what they like. From there, we can narrow it down to ten or so.

 

 How easy is writing a song for you? Do you have to get yourself in a particular state of mind?
 Very few good songs have come easy for me. I usually write as much of a song as I can, then get writers block. I then put in aside and forget about it. I come back to the song sometimes a few days, a week, or even a month latter. When I get blocked on one song, I work on another. In time I have a brain storm, and finish the song quickly. Sometimes I run with a song, like 123 NEXT!

 

 So what are your expectations for the new album? Do you hope to get out and tour live with it?
 The new album, meaning Snakeryder #2? We are excited to finish this record and do one simple thing. Sit down with a beer and listen to it for the first time. Hopefully upon its release, we will prove that we can put out another quality record, gain some new fans and do some touring.

 

 It would no doubt be a great boost to go out on tour with an established act. With whom would you like to tour most and why?
 That would be the way to go! I would want to go out with one of the bigger Z acts like Bob Kulick or Jeff Pillson. Why? These guys have been around! I use to play Bob’s licks from Paul Stanley’s solo album. I’d like to sit back stage with Bob and say listen to this man, then play one of his licks. I can picture him smiling from ear to ear. I can mimic his playing very precisely, it would be funny!

 

 In the States there’s still a fair amount of rock radio stations. Have any of them picked up tracks from the debut?
 Yes! I have a friend in California who is a DJ. He was a roadie for Y&T years ago. Tell you the truth, Snakeryder may be playing on radio regularly around the world. No one calls you on the phone to tell you things like that. So if I’m not there to hear it, I don’t know. You know the old saying; “Does a tree make a sound when it falls, if know one is there to hear it”.

 

 Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you would like to add for our readers?
 PLEASE DO NOT BUY THE METAL MAYHEM VERSION OF OUR DEBUT!
Peter thank you for your time doing the interview, I enjoyed it! I’d like to say thank you to everybody that has paid their hard earned cash for a copy of our album. Whether it be on MMM or Z Records. Thank you so much! Everyone is welcome to send us an email at rydethesnake@snakeryder.com, we’re a friendly band. Don’t be shy, we will get back to all who send us email.


AJ FedZ