This month for our artist of the month spotlight we take a look at Needle Park, a band created by Craig Bradford (Joey C. Jones and The Glory Hounds) and Adam Hamilton (L.A. Guns, Joey C. Jones and The Glory Hounds, C.C. DeVille, Joe 90).
Needle Park is a one off album project between Craig and Adam where they set out to recreate the guitar driven power-pop hard rockin sound of yesteryear. Not only did they accomplish that mission, the music came out not as a retro-rockin revival but more as a modern interpretation of the vibe that ruled rock radio in the 70's.
Craig Bradford is best known as the man who replaced CC Deville in the band Joey C. Jones and The Glory Hounds. Craig gave the group a different energy than CC that made them more rooted in power-pop hard rock than glam. Unfortunately, even though the band caught national attention with a radio hit that was penned by Cheap Trick, the band disbanded and the members went off to pursue other music projects.
But Craig and Adam recently got back together to recreate some of Joey C. Jones and The Glory Hounds vibe with the Needle Park project. Adam took some timeout from his duties as LA Guns bassist to enter the studio with Craig to produce Needle Park's debut album "C'mon Get Real".
As soon as word leaked out about the project, several other musicians wanted to get in on the fun. Two notable musicians were asked to participate in the recordings. Buckcherry's Yogi and Enuff Z'nuff frontman Donnie Vie joined Craig and Adam in the studio to record the two songs that would end up as bonus tracks on the CD.
I first heard of Needle Park from Craig himself when I was introduced to him at the Rocknworld.com 4th Anniversary party at the Cat House in Hollywood. Without hearing a note, I was really impressed with Craig's attitude and musical vision. Unlike other musicians who have had to suffer through the 90's trying to make a name for themselves under the backdrop of pop, rap-rock and hip-hop ruling the airwaves, Craig hasn't grown jaded or cynical about the business at all. He is one of those guys that just wants to make music he loves, he doesn't care about trends, genres or being the "biggest thing". Adam is a perfect match for Craig, I'd first met Adam backstage at his second gig with LA Guns a few months back and have had the opportunity to talk with him several times since then and he like Craig share the same passion for music.
Plus they are both really down to earth guys that you know you'd have a ball hangin out with on a Saturday night. No pretentiousness with these guys, they put their egos in the backseat and concentrate on the music not the associated bulls*** that goes along with being a career musician or rock star. So I knew I wanted to do a feature on Needle Park even before I heard the songs. Well, I have since heard the CD and was impressed enough to give Needle Park the May 2002 Artist of the Month slot, which they really deserve. Before we hear from Craig, I have to chime in on the CD. With the former C.C. Deville association some might get the wrong impression, I have to reiterate that the music produced by Needle Park doesn't fall into the 80's glam category at all, if anything Craig did a masterful job of taking the best parts of the late 60's and 70's melodic guitar rock and putting a modern rock spin on them. So while it does have a hint of a retro feel to it, it still fits comfortably with today's rock music.
Craig graciously agreed to discuss the new album with us and let us in on his future plans. So get plugged in and get ready to rock as we discuss "C'mon Get Real" with Craig!
antiMUSIC: First off congrats on the album, If I can go on record right now and say that it definitely kicks some major ass!
Craig: Thanks! We had a great time doing this record. Adam and I have been playing together since high school, and we are always writing and recording together. Some of these songs we had been kicking around for years and rather than try to put a whole band together, we decided to just do everything ourselves, along with a little help from our friends!
antiMUSIC: One of the burning questions I have is what does the name "Needle Park" mean? Does it have anything to do with drugs?
Craig: Well the name actually comes from the first Al Pacino movie "Panic from Needle Park" and it was thrown around during the C.C. Deville days when my band was jamming with C.C. when C.C. first quit Poison. And we knew we had to stick with the 2 word 3 syllable rule, i.e. Judas Priest, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Limp Bizcuit, Needle Park!
antiMUSIC: How did this project come about?
Craig: As I mentioned earlier, Adam and I are always writing and recording, so we had a bunch of songs that were lying around, and then I hooked up with Shawn from www.fastlanerecords.com and we talked about putting these songs out. I liked the attitude at Fastlane so it was a go.
antiMUSIC: Were you guys really trying to recreate a glam vibe with the album as the album bio suggests or were you just trying to make a great hard rockin' power-pop album?
Craig: No, we definitely didn't set out to re-create anything. We were just doing what we do best and what we know. And that is making great hard-rockin' power pop!
antiMUSIC: Ok I know Buckcherry and Enuff Z'nuff fans are gonna want to know, how did Donnie and Yogi get involved with this project?
Craig: We have known these guys for years and they are 2 of the best in the business at what they do. We just picked up the phone, made a call and they showed up! You should have seen the list of people that were supposed to come down!
antiMUSIC: I really enjoyed those two track with Yogi and Donnie since they were really outside what we normally hear from both of them. Then again Donnie has the kind of voice that he can sing anything and it will sound great. Did you have to alter these songs much from the way you sang and played them originally to accommodate Yogi or Donnie?
Craig: No, actually these 2 songs were in the can. When Yogi and Donnie came over, we pushed record and let them do their thing. Once again, these guys are the best, so we spent a few minutes recording and then had a couple of hours to sit around, have a couple of beers, and tell road stories!
antiMUSIC: How did you hook up with Fastlane Records?
Craig: Strangely enough, I was surfing the internet and came across their website. They had an interview up with a band I had played with in Hollywood in the early days, called the Bang Gang. I emailed Shawn at Fastlane and we struck up a freindship right away. He was familiar with Joey C. Jones and the Glory Hounds so when he heard about the Needle Park project, it was a go.
antiMUSIC: I know this is a "one-off" project to get those songs that you wrote in the past out there in the hands of the fans. But I heard you are working on some new harder edged material and even writing with Donnie Vie? Can you tell us anything about this new project? What kind of musical direction is it in? Any solid plans yet for it?
Craig: Yes, Donnie and I have been writing songs together and are currently in the studio recording. These songs are different from the Enuff Znuff stuff because Donnie usually writes by himself. We came together and immediately hit it off. I would describe some of these songs as dark and heavy but with Donnie's classic vocals all over them. We don't have any solid plans yet, but stay tuned....
antiMUSIC: Something I always like to do with album related interviews is go through track by track and ask the musician to give us a little background on the songs. I know I personally always wonder about the "background" stories to songs that I love. So this gives the readers a little insight into the music beyond what it sounds like. So let's start with the first track, "Don't Like You At All"
Craig: Well, first of all, the lyrics are included inside the CD cover and are very telling if you take a moment to read them. But I'll give you a brief overview. This one is about the love of your life that got away! No just joking. The title really says it all. Let's just say I wasn't in a good mood when I wrote this one!
Wait For The Hammer To Fall
Craig: This song is about never giving up. Staying true to your beliefs, and keeping the faith. It is definitely an attitude that has changed my life in ways I would have never imagined.
Craig: New Sensation is about the early stages of a relationship where everything smells like roses and taste like candy!
Craig: Is another song about letting go of anything that might be holding you back. For me, it's not about the destination, it's the journey.
Craig: This one was written about someone I know that lives in a sad world.
Shake Down The Walls
Craig: This song really cooks! It's got a great groove. I had a big "sing-along" chorus in mind with this one.
She's All Mine
Craig: Is about being blindsided by love and knowing that it's the wrong person to begin with, but it's too late to do anything about it!
Craig: When you think of a garden, it usually conjures up images of beautiful flowers and peaceful thoughts, but this song is about a wicked garden. A place that tries your soul, and brings you to your knees.
Craig: The token ballad. This song was one that just wrote itself. It was a change of pace to have an endearing song, after I got out all of the anger and frustration!
Craig: This song is about finding yourself, literally!
When It All Comes Around
Craig: I love Donnie's vocal on this song. He is one of my favorite singers. I think he could really feel it on this song, because it's easy to relate to.
Take Me Back
Craig: This last song sums up my feelings and attitude. Its about striving for what you believe in and never losing sight of what makes you happy.
antiMUSIC: What are your favorite tracks from the album?
Craig: My personal favorites change from week to week, currently they are New Sensation, Stand Up, and the tracks Donnie Vie sings on.
antiMUSIC: Do you plan to do any touring behind this CD? Or plan any shows at all?
Craig: Yes, a tour is being talked about, but a lot of it has to do with everyone's schedules. Adam has a busy summer planned with L.A. GUNS on the Rock Fest 2002 tour. But I may put together an all-star line-up just to get out there and have fun!
antiMUSIC: What would be your dream tour? Who would you most like to play with?
Craig: In a perfect world, I would be touring with Van Halen with David Lee Roth! But in reality, it doesn't matter who we play with, I just can't wait to get out there and have fun!
antiMUSIC: If the album takes off would you consider doing another album?
Craig: Of course, in fact, the next one would have to be more of a who's who all star album. I used to love it when different band guys would get together to play or make a record. We could pull in some really big name great players, and have a great time.
antiMUSIC: So what's next for Craig Bradford?
Craig: Right now, I am enjoying writing with Donnie Vie. Not sure where that will lead, but good things are being talked about. I am very excited for other people to hear this. Adam and I are writing and recording all the time. I also help to manage bands like Warrant, Slaughter, and L.A. GUNS. Right now we are producing the ROCK FEST 2002 Tour featuring Dokken, Ratt, Warrant, Firehouse, and L.A. GUNS. So look for that this summer!
antiMUSIC: Finally another question I always like to ask, what do you hope people will take away from your music?
Craig: Anything, but
my publishing! That's just a joke. First off, at first listen, I hope it
makes people feel good. If someone chooses to go deeper and read the lyrics,
I hope they find something they can relate to. I would also like to say
thanks to everyone who took the time to read this and to those that bought
the CD, I hope they enjoy it as much as I did making it!