|Salem Jones - One Soul Thrust - Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Nev Brooks|
|Sunday, 19 February 2012 05:30|
One Soul Thrust, or 1ST for short, are a band that puts their passion where their mouth is. And out of that mouth comes the group's signature sound via lead vocalist/songwriter, Salem Jones. Put Heart's Ann Wilson and Queensryche's Geoff Tate in a blender. Ignore all except the tastiest of screams. Mix. Pour. Now throw on their recently released 2nd opus, 'Know One Knows' step back and watch the sparks fly.
Wielding presence and mystique with an understated but confident sexuality, Salem is the full meal deal of rock singers. Add drummer Todd Pretty's pounding hypno-grooves, guitarist Jag Mollerup's thoughtfully aggressive chords, bassist Anna Portalupi's sizzling attack and you have the core members of what one journalist called "one of Canada's best kept secrets", but "not for much longer" as I stated in my recent review of the band's excellent sophomore release.
I caught up with Salem recently via the wonders of the modern technology to suss out exactly what had been happening behind the scenes with One Soul Thrust since the release of their '1ST' debut and to try and find out what the guys and gals will be doing following the release of 'Know One Knows'.
Hey Salem glad to have the opportunity to finally catch up with you, things have been busy for you especially with the release of the free download to the fans 'We Gotta Change' just before Xmas, the launch of the new website and the promotion of the new album 'Know One Knows' due out over here early February. How chaotic a time is it for you guys right now?
Thanks Nev. I'm glad we finally get to connect. It has been silly busy. I keep saying to the guys, "We need to go on the road so I can catch my breath!" I don't have to tell you or anyone in the business what a joke that is!
The single as with the album is again produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio known for his work with Steve Lukather and Glenn Hughes amongst others, how did you guys link up?
Brother A. and I met through a website for professional singers. We hit it off immediately. We're soul family.
Alongside the single you released a pretty smart promo video, how did that come about?
This isn't the first One Soul Thrust video but it's the first one we felt should be released. We knew Rob McKoen, the director, and really loved him and recognized his budding talent, so we felt working with him would be a good fit. He pulled that video out on a non-existent budget. He's a magician.
The new album whilst not containing a guest duet (ala 'Go Home & Melt from the band's debut album), it does contain a cover of an all time classic (Heart's 'Magic Man'), how did you come to choose that particular song?
Singing an Ann Wilson vocal is a privilege. She's The Queen of Female Rock Voice and no one can touch her. I love that 'Magic Man' is a total woman's song and we felt we could wrap our own sound around it while still respecting its original genius. Plus unfortunately 'Barracuda' had already been done. (I love singing that one.)
There has been a change in band personnel within One Soul Thrust over the last year, how's the new line up settling in?
Perfect! Anna Portalupi who played on this album is a rock soul sister for sure. It's funny because we don't speak the same language but words are unnecessary when we rock. We'd love an opportunity to tour Europe with Anna to show everybody the two complimentary female rockers that we are. Interestingly, One Soul Thrust is also a tale of two basses with Jorden Krawiec from new Canadian prog band Pass of Era, sitting in for Anna when we play on this side of the water.
Over the last year you've sung with two of my all time heroes - firstly where did the link with Glenn Hughes come from?
I dueted with Glenn in a 2009 session for the first One Soul Thrust album '1ST' which was released in 2010. Alessandro had worked extensively with Glenn and felt our voices would work very well together. Plus Ale knew I was a HUGE Glenn Hughes fan. The whole band is. We call him Sensei Hughes. In fact I wrote the track from our new album, 'Laughin' All The Way To Heaven', about him. It even references several of his song titles in the bridge.
Then secondly how did you come to catch Paul Rodgers's attention, and then end up sharing a stage with him?
Oh that's a long story...We met before his show at a meet and greet. I was thrilled to be able to ask him questions about his vocal warm-up routine. He was such a gentleman. He actually sang his warm-up to me. Twice. Just inches from my face. Man, I could feel my resonators vibrating with his!! Like working with Glenn, it was an utterly indescribable privilege! Any rock singer in the world would give anything to be that close to a Master like Paul Rodgers while he sings a part. It was also cool that Howard Leese, Heart's original guitarist, was in the Rodgers band and we spoke with him, since he'd also worked with Glenn. Jag and I were sitting in the front row and when they were doing their finale - 'Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy' - Rodgers just stepped out and literally handed me his microphone and stepped back for me to sing a chorus. It went well. Todd ('1ST's' drummer) and Jag ('1ST's' guitarist) both said the Rodgers band seemed to love it; the crowd cheered and when the band walked off for the night Paul Rodgers pointed to me, saluted and mouthed, "Thank you". A front row fan also happened to catch it on video, which is really cool. And Paul Rodgers' manager gave me his card.
On the business side of things Michael Moore is a name that may or may not be known to our readers, but behind the scenes he's a bit of a mover and shaker, elaborate a bit on how he's become involved with One Soul Thrust and how that relationship is now developing?
Michael is one of the old guard of the heyday of the business and is responsible for the success of some of the biggest artists, albums and singles in the world including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and Ozzy's 'Bark At The Moon'. One of my vocal mentors, Judy Rodman knows him and mentioned to him how much I loved his book 'Brilliant', which is about the industry. (A fabulous read by the way.) Michael checked us out last fall and emailed me to tell me how much he loved our work. I nearly fell of my chair when I saw that I had a personal email from Michael Moore! He has since given us guidance and we hope to do him proud by making the best rock we can make. He is a completely lovely soul, the kindest man I've ever met and someone who deeply loves music and has the gift of being able to hear a hit song.
Finally, what are the plans for touring to support the new album? I guess you'll cross Canada or the States, or even better perhaps we get to see a European tour?
Yes. Nothing concrete to tell you yet but we live to play live and quite literally get edgy when we've been too long without a gig. We're looking at doing a meet and greet promo tour of Europe around release time and hoping that will garner the connections to play some good Euro shows. Here in North America, we'll play wherever we can make a good rock show happen. Proper production and proper wages need to be in place and many venues don't want to pay bands anymore. Times are pretty tough for venue owners, of course; they are for everyone in the business.