From Release: Supergroup is a term that has been diluted over time. Throwing a bunch of people from other bands into a new project doesn’t automatically make them Super, but their bio’s will tell you otherwise. It’s time to seek revenge and reclaim that word! A New Revenge is the very definition of a supergroup. One who’s members have more than earned their legendary statuses but also remain humble enough to let the music do the talking and not actually rely on the term. So who is out for A New Revenge? Featuring one of the finest voices in metal of all time, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (who’s voice is all over albums from Judas Priest, Iced Earth and Yngwie Malmsteen), one of the most versatile and name checked guitarists in rock Keri Kelli (Slash’s Snake Pit, Alice Cooper, Vince Neil Band and a hundred more) the most iconic bass player in heavy metal history, Rudy Sarzo (who’s work with Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Whitesnake and many more has earned him an almost revered status in heavy music) and long time Scorpions drummer James Kottak (also from Montrose, Warrant, Kingdom Come & more).
In California after doing some shopping, we gave Keri Kelli a call to talk about his newest band A New Revenge, their new album ‘Enemies & Lovers’, song writing, touring, Night Ranger, and much more…
So I know you’ve been asked this a lot but let’s pretend it’s the first time you’ve heard it, after playing together before as Project Rock tell us how did this group come back together to form ‘A New Revenge’?
Yeah you know, that’s kinda how we started the band was it was just what we call a jam band we were all playing songs from bands we had been associated with, but as we did that we just had fun, everyone has home studios these days so we started writing some songs here and there and kinda just developing it as we went. We really took it slow it wasn’t anything where we said hey we’ve gotta write twenty songs real fast and put a record out, I mean when we were writing these tunes and sending them back and forth to each other, I live in California, Ripper lives in Ohio and we were just sending ideas back and forth and developing them it was just like for the love of doing it and creating music. We had no record deal, no anything, we were just writing music, and it just developed and then we had enough tunes that we thought were kinda cool for a collection for an album and then we were lucky enough to run into the Golden Robot guys and they said “hey we want to put this out it sounds awesome” and here we are today. We have a record out and we’re very proud of it and we hope the rock and roll people and community are digging it as well.
When you’re essentially introducing a new band to the world what’s the process like putting together the songs that people will use as their introduction to A New Revenge?
Yeah like I said we kinda just did this whole thing for the love, it’s a band but it was basically just guys that knew each other obviously and played together and had fun doing it, we all had home studios and stuff and once you have an album worth of songs and somebody wants to put the album out and unleash it on the world you’ve gotta do a little photo shoot and all that stuff, but we just tried to have fun with the whole thing and like I said we just kinda developed it and did it one step at a time, it wasn’t some calculated venture or anything like that. I’m just hoping people dig the music because that’s what it’s all about.
What has being in this band allowed you to do that you feel you haven’t been able to do with any of the other 746,000 acts you’ve worked with?
*laughs* Well you know that’s a good question actually, I think that I mean I’ve been able to play with a lot of great bands or musicians or whatever with Alice and Slash, whoever, Vince Neil and stuff like that, but when you’re writing songs or riffs or instrumental stuff for those kinds of bands even like my current band Night Ranger, or Alice or stuff like that you’re kind of already in that vein, you think of it subconsciously or whatever, what would Alice do? Or how would he approach these songs? We’ve got to write something in that wheelhouse for instance, but with this project it really allowed me personally to just do whatever, it was awesome, it was like the ultimate freedom to just write riffs and stuff that’s how we did the record. I have my home studio and I would just write cool riffs that I thought were cool or drum loops and things like that and I’d send them over to Tim in Ohio and he would kind of go “hey I like that song number two” or “that third song you sent me was cool” and then he would kind of take it from there, but I was just writing anything that I thought sounded cool and then kinda filter it through Tim. So that’s really the coolest thing about this project, like it wasn’t like I was trying to write something in the Alice vein or in the Night Ranger vein or things like that, it was just whatever and that’s what we came up with.
Touring wise you’re heading out on the road but I do have to ask do you think we might see you in Australia?
We hope, man, we’re hoping towards the end of the year we can get some dates over there like maybe in the fourth quarter or something like that so that’s what we’re targeting.
What does A New Revenge show look like?
That’s a good question *laughs* since we haven’t done it yet so we don’t know… I would think that we’re probably going to play a majority of the record, I mean there’s twelve songs we actually recorded so there’s a couple of bonus songs like on iTunes and things like that. So probably the majority of the record but I would still think that we’d play a few tunes like how we started the whole band, like whether it’s an Alice song or a Judas Priest song for Tim, or Scorpions obviously for James, so we’ll throw a couple of those in just legendary songs that all the guys have been associated with or affiliated with, but just having a good time with friends and that’s it, hopefully everybody comes out and comes to the party and has a good time with us.
Over time it can be easy to say what’s changed, but what’s the one thing that’s stayed the same over your time making music?
Hmm… it all kinda stays the same to me, it’s like I’m living in a bubble or something. I don’t know, to be honest with you I just keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing for decades, I really try to keep it simple so I don’t really pay attention to too much of what’s been happening with all the other stuff, like I listen to new bands when I hear them on the radio or on Spotify and things like that, but it seems to be all the same to me, man. It’s all guys in various different bands or whatever the project may be just going up and plugging their guitars in and grabbing drumsticks and yelling into a microphone and hopefully having some fun while you’re doing it. So it all seems pretty much the same to me, man, but maybe I’m unaware I’m in my own bubble.
You’re obviously with Night Ranger at the moment but is there anything else happening musically in the world of Keri Kelli?
That’s basically it right now, we’ve got this record out now, Night Ranger is very busy they’re awesome guys they love playing, they don’t stop and a few of the guys in the band have been playing together for about forty years with Jack Blades on vocals, Brad Gillis on guitar and Kelly on drums, they had another band before Night Ranger called Rubicon believe it or not and played together for years and they love it. We’re playing together over the summer and I know we have a little tour with Sammy Hagar this summer and then some dates with Foreigner and some other stuff like that. So, a lot of Night Ranger and hopefully some new Night Ranger music this year coming up as well, we had a record that came out about two years ago and then a live record and a DVD that came out about three years ago, but hopefully some Night Ranger comes out this year and then we’ll get back onto A New Revenge and start working on more New Revenge stuff also, so it’s all the same thing, man, you just wake up and keep going, like a shark, keep moving.
Night Ranger is another band that’s never been to Australia so can you get in their ear and tell them to come down?
Yeah I’m with you on that, we’ve talked about it, I swear I’m not even kidding you, we’re gonna be going to Japan the first week of October like the 1st through the 7th or something like that and I did hear some talk about Australia since a lot of bands in that region or territory try to stop over in Australia if they can, so I did hear about that, I don’t know about any dates but I’d love to get back over there, I think Australia’s awesome, I love the people and they love rock, so we’ll see.
As we’ve said over the years you’ve worked with a lot of people but I wanted to ask if I could if you have an awesome Jani Lane story, that guy was a hero of mine…
Yeah, not really any great stories, I mean there’s tonnes of stories and there was always a story with him *laughs* we had a lot of great times together and sometimes you never knew what you were really gonna get with him *laughs* but we had a lot of fun and some of my coolest memories with him was not really playing live but when we were writing music and hanging out at my house and developing songs and things like that because it was really natural and easy and fun and cool and he lived in Northern LA and I lived down in San Diego and I think he liked to come down to get away from LA and we’d go out and have sushi and stuff like that so it was a little escape for him when we were writing the songs we put together. I think we ended up writing about thirty or forty songs, a lot of them are still unfinished to be honest that I have on my Pro-Tools system. That’s kinda the coolest memories just hanging out and working on ideas or writing songs and going out and having a good meal, Mexican food he loved a lot and sushi. I mean I miss the guy I’ve gotta tell you, same as you I guess.
Lastly let’s look ahead to the future, finish this sentence for me, by the end of 2019 A New Revenge wants to…
Come to Australia and play, how about that? *laughs*
Band members: Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens – vocals, Keri Kelli – lead guitar, Rudy Sarzo – bass, James Kottak – drums
Latest Release: Enemies & Lovers (Out Now – Golden Robot Records)