Brothers In Arms: A Conversation with Jack Frost

0

By: Lori Smerilson Carson

Remember simpler times when the tough decision was which lace socks to wear with your leggings or if it was a chaps or spandex night?  Was your hair big enough? The perfect look to go with the perfect music which was the 80’s.  Well, Brothers In Arms are bringing back a wonderful taste of that era with their debut album BROTHERS IN ARMS featuring an amazing group of extraordinarily talented musicians. These rock and roll icons stem from legendary bands Savatage, Kingdom Come, Diamond Head, Last In Line, FM, Moxy, Angel, Hardline, Rough Cutt, Silent Rage, Roxy Blue, along with special guests from REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar.

Catching up with the creator of this rock, metal masterpiece Guitarist/Composer Jack Frost just prior to the LP release on September 24th, he revealed some details of Brothers In Arms music made with Vocalist Andrew Freeman, Keyboardist Charlie Calv, Bassist Alex Jansen and Drummer Karl Wilcox, as well as Vocalists Keith St. John, Paul Shortino, Steve Overland, Nick Walsh, Jesse Damon, Todd Poole, special guests Guitarist Dave Amato and Bassist Mick Mahan. He also shared some 80’s memories, insight to the record and project, and what fans can look forward to.

Ohio Music Experience: This is exciting. How did Brother’s In Arms Come together? You were quoted as saying “you wanted to show the world that rock is not a thing of the past,” but how did this all come together with all of these amazing musicians?

Jack Frost: Yeah, you can say that again. Amazing musicians.  Man, these guys are the best. You know, it was kind of a thing like eighteen months ago when the whole world got shut down, I was really busy doing a lot of great things. Tours were starting to go and then all of the sudden COVID hit and it just rocked the world. Still rocking the world, unfortunately, and what happened was a lot of people got really down and depressed. I think a lot of my friends, other musicians that I know. Man, they’re sitting around, eating, watching T.V. and me. I’m like, you know, I haven’t had a chance in years to really like absorb my guitar again because, you make a record and tour. I teach when I’m not playing, so I didn’t get a lot of time to like work on me anymore, and I just started to fall in love with my guitar all over again. And I literally, instead of going the I’m miserable route, I went, you know what? I’m going to put some time into something I’m doing. So, it really kind of started when Frontiers, Alessandro Del Vecchio. The keyboard player that writes all the songs, he’s an amazing producer. Asked me if I wanted to play some guitars on the Ronny Munroe record, for Metal Church singer and I’m like, sure! That got me so fired up. I had so much fun doing that, that I’m like you know what? I’m gonna start writing some good stuff. I just feel like writing, and I kept listening to like early Montrose and Badlands, and I kept hearing all this BS that rock n roll is dead. Music is dead. Nobody cares anymore. I’m like, what are you talking about? I go to shows. We all still love music. How can that go away? And honestly Lori, that’s really how it happened for me. I just started to write and I was happy. I would wake up and literally have my coffee and start my morning. I would go down to my studio and I was there ‘til like the night time. That’s the true fact. I just got started like the initial, you know I start putting roots together, start doing the drum machine and stuff and I’m like, wow they sound really cool. I wonder what some of these songs would sound like with like maybe, musicians (he laughed). That’s kind of really how it all began.

Ohio Music Experience: Listening to the Badland songs inspired “Last To Know”, correct?

Frost: Yes. I’m really into the debut record of Badlands and I kind of re-visited that record because I just love Jake’s tone on that and feel and I’m like you know, that’s a great record to listen to, to get your mind into that vibe again, and that’s just really what happened. I’m like man, I would love to write a song like “High Wire” or something like. I mean. I’ll never write a song like that. Jake is and will always be like this amazing riff master. So, if I could just get a little bit of the vibe, that’s kind of where I went for it.

Ohio Music Experience: What inspired that song? You said you love to write. What inspires your music when you write?

Frost: You know, it’s just really weird how I write. A lot of people, like a lot of lyricists tell me their moods. Like what kind of mood they’re in. Like me, it’s just very odd to me. Nothing really inspires me. I don’t get up and go ok, I’m going to write a metal song today. I literally sit down with my Les Paul and it writes for me. Like, I don’t know. I’m very lucky that I’m blessed that I just come up with riffs and its weird. It’s just, they write themselves for me. Isn’t that weird? It’s just kind of like, there’s no rhyme or reason. I know people that wake up in the middle of the night that have this riff in their head. I could be walking down the street with my dog, and I got to take my phone and hum something because, I don’t know. We’re a strange brew. We’re a strange breed us musicians. Like artists. What makes an artist draw a painting? It’s really weird, you know? It’s just and like you. You’re a writer. What inspires you? How do you write? How do you take an interview and make it come to life, you know? It’s crazy when you think about it.

Ohio Music Experience: Yes, this is true. What inspired the album that’s coming out on September 24th?

Frost: Well, that’s easy. My whole goal was 1984. When the L.A. Strip was just jamming and bands were all playing the clubs. It was packed to the walls. People were happy. The New York scene. The Limelight. The Cat Club. It was ridiculous. L’Amours. Gazelles (Club) out in L.A. I mean, it was such an amazing time and experience to be involved in, that, I miss that, and I see the way the generation is now. We don’t have that kind of like people around the corner’s like, hey come check my band out. Come check my band out. And the music. I ‘ll probably get in trouble for saying this a couple of times, but you know, it wasn’t so politically correct and you can’t say bitch or you can’t you know, no disrespect to women at all. It’s not about that, but girls back then too, we just had fun. Nobody was mad at each other and like, oh, I saw you standing by this girl or that guy touched my shoulder. You know, it was just a different time and I got to be honest with you. I just wanted to take people back to a time when music was really fun. It was tongue in cheek. Like when Poison came out and (Mötley) Crüe came out and, Ratt. I mean, “Lay It Down”. If you say stuff like that today, people are like, oh, that’s like sexual. I’m like, what are you talking about? It’s just fun. I don’t understand why so many people are so f’in uptight now about everything. It’s just music and we’re just trying to have some fun and I mean, it’s weird though because rap music can say anything they want and really be slanderous and very negative, but that’s ok, because, I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s just very weird to me, but that’s the truth Lori, I just really, really wanted to take people on a journey back to a time when it was like, you go to Tower Records. You buy the new Ratt record and you can’t wait to get in your car and open your window to crank that thing. You know what I mean? That’s exactly what it’s all about.

Ohio Music Experience: I heard “Last To Know” and it’s awesome. You do have the second single “Bitch Is Crazy” coming out on September 10th?

Frost: Yeah. Did you get a chance to see a snippet of the video?

Ohio Music Experience: Yes. It’s very cool.

Frost: Yeah, Keith St. John is just. He is everything a rock star should be and also one of the most wonderful human beings you ever could meet. He’s just a sweetheart. I mean, every guy on this record. It’s so hard because every person that was involved. Andrew Freeman, oh my God on “Last To Know”, he just killed it! Just killed it, and I just don’t even know what to say about these guys. I am so blessed. Like every one of these gentlemen as I want to call them, have added so much to this task. They just loved it. Every guy had a great time making this record.

Ohio Music Experience: Was there a theme going on or like you said, tongue in cheek? Is that what “Bitch Is Crazy” kind of about?

Frost: Oh yeah, it’s definitely about just you know, a really hot chick that’s just bat crazy (he laughed), but I really think that every singer really kind of put their spin on what they heard. I would come up with some of the music and then Karl Wilcox from Diamond Head would send these words back, and Alex Jansen would play bass and Charlie Calv would do all the keyboards and then we would have like music and I would go, who do I think would sing this great? I’m a big time (Todd) Poole fan from Roxy Blue and Steve Overland from FM. Jesse Damon from Silent Rage and a lot of people in the US don’t know Nick Walsh from Slik Toxik and Moxy. He’s like the second coming of Sebastian Bach. So, the thing is with me, I was fans like, I mean, I’m a huge Paul Shortino fan, and getting Paul Shortino, like we’re such good friends now. He was calling me up singing stuff over the phone to me. This is like the guy that you know, was in (This Is) Spinal Tap that was there from the beginning of the L. A. scene, and we became the best of friends. So, the theme really was I guess, I’m such a fan of these guys and I’m a fan of that genre, that I kind of went through my CD collection. I go man, I would love to see this guy sing on this song and they were so into it. Like none of these guys have a rock star attitude. None of ‘em. It’s just crazy because they don’t need to play with me. I mean, yeah. I have a history. A lot of people seem to think I’m a great player and I appreciate that, but you know, there was no money involved in this. This is a labor of love. Those guys are pros and they’re just like dude, I believe in this. How many times have you heard artists say that now? I believe in this. So, that’s really the theme.

Ohio Music Experience: How did you come up with the title Brother’s In Arms?

Frost: That was really easy I got to tell you. I was thinking about this. I always call my friend like, alright my brother. I’ll see ya later. It’s just my Jersey come out, and when I was making the record, I’d be like, what should we call this? Like we’re all talking. We should just call it Jack Frost. I’m like, nah. This isn’t my band. I am just a little part of this band. Like these other guys, they are the band. The whole group together, we’re all brothers and that’s how it was brought. Brothers in Arms. Like we all just united as a family. So, that’s really how easy the title became.

Ohio Music Experience: Are there plans for touring or anything? I know Dave Amato is out on tour with REO Speedwagon now, but are there plans to get these guys together to tour?

Frost: Well, it’s funny. We already talked about like Winter NAMM. It would have worked out great because Keith worked the Ronny Montrose bash, Amato, Mick Mahan from Pat Benatar, they play it. So, my whole concept was ok, we’ll go out to the west coast. We’ll do a L. A. show, a Vegas show, an Arizona show, a Portland show. And what’s great is like Keith’s out there, Andrew’s out there, Paul is out there and Jesse’s out there. So, what we would do is like have those group of guys come up, sing their songs and then whatever songs that were left, we’ll let one of the other guys do it their way, and then like we’ll do a Montrose song, we’ll do a Kingdom Come song. We’ll do a Last in Line song. That was the whole concept, but as you know COVID’s hitting pretty hard again and they canceled NAMM for winter now, but they just moved it to June. So, now we’re kind of like oh, maybe we should work around it. So yes, we will definitely do shows and we’ll definitely do some east coast stuff too because I’m in New Jersey and Nick’s only in Toronto, so he’s not far from me. Then I would fly a few guys in from the west coast to do the east coast stuff. So, we definitely want to tour, and I say this in all the interviews, if any promotors are you know, doing Monsters of Rock Cruise and they would like us to do a show like this. Man, this would be such a great band to do like a Monster of Rock show because there’s so many great guys involved.

Ohio Music Experience: You’re looking at like 2022 is what you’re saying?

Frost: Yeah, I don’t see, unfortunately I’ve been talking to a lot of guys. REO Speedwagon had to stop their tour for a little bit because somebody got COVID. You know, Kiss. Tesla had to cancel a bunch of dates, poor Frank. I mean, it’s like everyone goes out there, we’re all trying to be safe and listen. Getting our shots. Wearing our masks, but you know, even if you’re vaccinated it seems that you could still get it. I mean, yes you get it way lesser thank God, but, that machine. One guy gets it, you have to shut it down. So, I think a lot of promotors are shying away right now and I understand. My dearest friend plays drums for Quiet Riot, Johnny Kelly, and Quiet Riot was all booked in September and I guess they had to cancel a bunch of dates. No one’s sick, but promotors are, I think promotors are getting scared.

Ohio Music Experience: Are there any new videos coming out?

Frost: Well, tomorrow we drop the “Bitch Is Crazy” video. Tomorrow it gets world premiered the new video, and if you like “Hot for Teacher” If you like David Lee Roth era like “Eat ‘Em and Smile” with Steve Vai and all that funniness, and “Cherry Pie”, watch this video. It’s totally that video, and I would say right after the album release, we have a really awesome lyrical video for “The City Never Sleeps” with Steve Overland singing, and we plan on shooting some more videos. It isn’t a cheap budget, but I’ve got to say, Deko (Entertainment) is the most amazing label. They have been so good to us. They supported us. They’re paying for our videos. So, we’re gonna try to work out and see if we can do a couple more. At least, maybe we’ll wait a few weeks and do another one to keep people interested like you know, that we’re not going away.

Ohio Music Experience: So, there may be something for like “Feel The Love” or “The Ties That Bind”?

Frost: You know what? I want to do a video so bad with Todd (Poole) because I love that song. It’s got such that Memphis bluegrass kind of slide and Todd’s voice is just badass. He’s got that dirty, like you know, he’s got that, that swing, but man, that guy can sing and boy can he write lyrics.

Ohio Music Experience: What inspired you to become a musician? What drew you to play the guitar and write music?

Frost: Ok, so you’re gonna laugh your ass off at this one. So, I was a little kid and of course my brother was into The Doors and my brother was much older than me. Like ten years older than me, so I was second from my dad. My mother was remarried to my dad, so I had older brothers and sister. So, I would see The Doors record Morrison Hotel. I would see (Led) Zeppelin and I was really into it, but I just love music. So, I used to watch Solid Gold no kidding, and I remember, I’ll never forget this. Hall & Oates were on and this is when Daryl had that massive hair. All teased out and they did “Kiss on My List” and I was like, Wow! That is the coolest thing, and then I saw Kiss “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”. Once I saw Ace Frehley, that was it for me. I knew, I said to my parents, this is what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life, and they’re like, yeah yeah. You said you’re gonna be a football, they were joking with me. They got me a drum set and it was really loud in my apartment back then, and then I just started to love the guitar.

Ohio Music Experience: What would you recommend to an up-and-coming musician?

Frost: You know what? Go back and listed to Led Zeppelin. Go back and listen to Deep Purple. You know, go back and listen to Ronnie Montrose. Like that first record with Sammy Hagar. I mean, this is real music. It’s not tarnished back then. Its real musicians in a room. And you know (Black) Sabbath. Ritchie Blackmore. All that Purple stuff, and then once you listen to that, go pick up a bunch of 80’s records. Pick up the first Ratt. The first Crüe. I mean, L.A. Guns man. Tracii (Guns) when they first came out. That first L.A. Guns record, man Tracii was just ripping. He’s still ripping, but I think he was so on fire. That’s the stuff people should listen to, and there’s a lot of new bands that I don’t think kids know about like Glorious’ from the UK, Crazy Witch from Scandinavia. There’s a great movement in Scandinavia that really loves this 80’s stuff. Yeah. Check out Mystery City, Crazy Witch, Eclipse. They’re just awesome bands. Like seriously, I love them. You probably know this band from Canada called Harem Scarem.

Ohio Music Experience: Yes. I remember them.

Frost: I mean, I love Harry and Pete. They’re just great. They’ve really kept this music alive and I’ll say this and I’ll probably get laughed about it, well my boss now is Aldo Nova. I play guitar for Aldo Nova now, so I’m getting ready to go off and shoot some videos with him in a couple weeks. Kids should really listen to the first record Aldo Nova “Fantasy”. He was the guy that started that Bon Jovi movement.

Ohio Music Experience: Was there anything else you want fans to know?

Frost: To be honest with you, I always say this and I say this to you and everybody involved. Thank you so much for believing in me and wanting to share time with me and get to know me and taking your time out because I know that there’s no money in this. I mean, everybody that’s doing podcasts and interviews, people don’t realize. They think you’re making a million dollars. You’re taking your time out to interview me and I really appreciate that and I really do appreciate that you like what I do, and I just want to keep the music going. And please support local music too. Go out and see local bands. Please you know, buy our records because if we don’t sell a record, we can’t make more records and we basically pay for our records on our own these days. There’s no million-dollar contracts unless you’re Mariah Carey and you know, support the scene. I buy records. I support my friends. I go see shows. I support my friends, So, we all have to help each other right now ‘cause it’s gonna die if we don’t keep it alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share.