Micki Free Talks Turquoise Blue, Prince, Gibbons, Santana, Simmons & Shalamar

Postred January 2022

MIcki Fee Press 1 Hi Res by Marie Gregorio OviedoI'm always late to the party. In this case, I’m kinda late in “discovering” Micki Free. Now that I’ve learned about him, I’m a dedicated fan!

As you’ll see in the interview video, below, Micki and I hit it off immediately and, man! Does he have some stories to tell! I love this guy! He's a great human being as well as a phenomenal guitar player.

The first concert he attended was Jimi Hendrix. And you can certainly hear the influences of Jimi in Micki's playing. He was discovered by Gene Simmons of Kiss. He had his first big splash was back in when he was playing for Shalimar. He also enjoyed an amazing working relationship with Prince and calls many other artists his friends.

During our chat, below, we focused mostly on his new album, Turquoise Blue. It doesn't come out until February, but you’ll want to go ahead and pre-order it (click on the album cover on this page to order it). It's phenomenal.

It's got Cindy Blackman Santana on it. You'll know her from her interviews with us (some know her as Mrs. Carlos Santana). She’s a phenomenal drummer who does a song on there with Carlos’s band called, “World On Fire”. The album is great. You're just going to have to buy the album. The press release for the album is posted under the interview video.

After you’ve watched the interview (and have ordered the album), please share this page with your friends who would enjoy Micki’s kind of music and who might enjoy watching this interview.

You can also keep up with Micki at his website, MickiFree.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

The Boomerocity Interview With Micki Free

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Press Release

Grammy-Winning Blues-Rock Guitarist Micki Free Unleashes Incendiary New Album, Turquoise Blue, Set for February 4, 2022, Release on Dark Idol Music Label
Epic Journey in Sound and Soul Premieres with Debut Single, “Bye 2020,” on November 12

PHOENIX, AZ - Heralded by Carlos Santana and Billy Gibbons, among many others, Grammy-winning blues-rock guitarist Micki Free announces a February 4, 2022, release date for his new album, Turquoise Blue, on the Dark Idol Music label, distributed by Burnside Distribution / The Orchard / Sony. Free’s mastery of tone is showcased on the new disc’s 13 originals, plus a scintillating cover of Jimi Hendrix’s classic “All Along the Watchtower.” The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Ken Riley at Rio Grande Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Special guests on Turquoise Blue include Gary Clark Jr., Steve Stevens, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Cindy Blackman Santana. Free teases the album’s release with his debut single, “Bye 2020,” on November 12, featuring additional guitar pyrotechnics from long-time Billy Idol six-stringer Steve Stevens. Watch the “Bye 2020” video trailer here =>

“I wrote Turquoise Blue over the period of time when Covid first broke out and we were advised to remain at home,” Free recalls. “Interacting with my peers was just not an option. The songs are a direct testament of how I felt during that crazy time. Take my song, ‘Bye 2020;’ it tells exactly how I felt that year, with the dying, the masks, the quarantine, the protests, the fake news, the misinformation…. I just wanted to say, ‘Bye 2020!’ I enlisted my good buddy Steve Stevens from Billy Idol to lay down the first guitar solo and I did the second solo.

“I get my mojo from the classic greats—the masters of blues-rock and even classic rock,” Micki Free declares, “but everything I play comes from my own heart, and with Turquoise Blue, I feel like I’m really getting to the core of what I do in a way I hope people will connect with, because making music is about a connection so strong that it transcends language.”
Free’s resume reads like an almost-mythical backstory to a movie: a protégé and guitar-slinging peer of KISS’s Gene Simmons, Prince, Billy Gibbons, Carlos Santana, and Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilson; glorified in a popular Chappelle’s Show episode of “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” as part of Prince’s team in a now-legendary basketball game. A featured member of R&B hitmakers Shalamar, he scored a top 20 hit with “Dancin’ in the Streets” and won a Grammy in 1985 for the song, “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills,” from the Beverly Hills Cop film soundtrack.


Free was born in West Texas of mixed blood Cherokee/Comanche Native American and Irish descent. Soon after, his family relocated to Germany, where his father was stationed as a sergeant in the Army. It was there at age 12 that an older sister took him to see Jimi Hendrix. “Jimi just blew my mind,” Free recalls. “He came out dressed like a gypsy with scarves and a flowing, psychedelic shirt, and his guitar was the most incredible thing I’d ever heard. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

After his family moved to Illinois, Free formed his first rock band, Smokehouse. When Smokehouse opened a concert bill that included the group KISS, Gene Simmons, himself, walked up to Free as his band was coming offstage and declared him “a star.” By that time, Free, had already developed a flair for rock ‘n’ roll fashion and the dynamic stage presence that’s one of his trademarks. Free was 19 years old when Simmons became his first manager. Since then, he’s been in the whirlwind of the music business, having recorded, written songs, and played with Simmons, the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Prince, Little Steven, Sam Moore, Cheap Trick, Billy Gibbons, Carlos Santana, and Jean Beauvior of The Plasmatics.

During his nine years with Shalamar, Free was nominated for Grammy Awards three times. “I loved being part of that band and its success,” Free says, “but as a musician I felt I really couldn’t be myself. I was a blues-rock guitar player and songwriter who just wanted to let it fly and play from my soul.” Once free from the constricts of playing in a commercial R&B format, Free reconnected with his roots in big guitar tones and epic soundscapes, and songs written from the heart and not for the charts. You can hear the exploration that culminates in Turquoise Blue on five previous studio albums, including the critically heralded Tattoo Burn, from 2017, as well as Micki Free—American Horse Live at Hyde Park, which captures a 2010 London concert that featured guest Bill Wyman and Native American dancers.

“I’ve grown and matured as a songwriter since my Shalamar days, and brought my blues-rock guitar playing, which has been my passion since I saw my first concert - Jimi Hendrix- front and center,” Free says. “With this album, I’ve been able to thread every element of my life and my playing together in a way that reflects my entire journey. I’ve kept it honest to the bone, so listeners can feel it, too. This album is, basically, Micki Free.

“Another standout track on the new CD is ‘World on Fire,’ a song definitely about the sign of the times. The music for the song started out as sort of homage to my buddy Carlos Santana, who I’ve jammed with many times in the last five years or so. I idolized him and Jimi Hendrix growing up as a boy. The lyrics again were inspired by current events during 2020-2021. I have my old bandmate Cindy Blackman-Santana, wife of Carlos Santana, on drums, Andy Vargas, lead singer of Santana, and Karl P. on percussion. I produced the track and played all the guitars.”

An additional highlight is Micki Free’s treatment of the Hendrix/Dylan classic, “All Along the Watchtower.” “After seeing Jimi perform ‘All Along the Watchtower’ in-person, his version was just so haunting to me and I always wanted to cover it…to this day my favorite Jimi Hendrix song…written by Bob Dylan.”

Through it all, Free has also embraced his heritage. As a musical activist, he has created the Native Music Rocks program, which gives Native American musicians performance opportunities. He also founded the first Native American record company (Native Music Rocks Records) and is an advocate for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In addition to his guitar prowess, Free has mastered the Native American flute and has recorded five albums on that instrument, including 2016’s The Native American Flute as Therapy. Next to his Grammy, his accolades thus far include five Native American Music Awards, including Male Artist and Pop Rock Artist.

Turquoise Blue Track Listing and Credits
All songs written (except “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan), produced and arranged by Micki Free

  1. Bye 2020- Steve Stevens 1st guitar solo / Micki Free 2nd guitar solo
  2. Low Ridin’420
  3. World on Fire - Cindy Blackman-Santana drums; Andy Vargas lead vocal; Karl Perazzo percussions; Micki Free all guitars
  4. Heavy Mercy
  5. Judicator Blues – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram 1st guitar solo / Micki Free 2nd guitar solo
  6. Spring Fever
  7. Come Home Big Mama
  8. Invitation Love
  9. Woman – Gary Clark Jr. 1st guitar solo / Micki Free 2nd guitar solo
  10. All Along the Watchtower – Micki Free – all guitars
  11. My Big Regret – Steve Stevens nylon guitar solo
  12. Heaven or Heroin
  13. Ring of Fire
  14. Blue Memories

Ian Anderson Exhibits The Zealot Gene

Posted January 2022

Cover ArtClick Above To Order Your CopyI’ve said it before and I hope to say it a lot more times in the years to come: It's always flattering to me when an artist talks to me in the first interview, but it's even more so when they will take the time to speak with me again, or, in the case of some, several times over the years since Boomerocity was launched. Such is the case to be able to talk to - not only for the second time but for the second time in six months.

As you may recall, I talked to Ian Anderson back in July (2021 – here) about some things. As we discussed in that interview, he mentioned he had an album coming out towards the end of the year. And lo and behold, here it is!

Titled, “The Zealot Gene,” it is likely to be remembered as one of the best new classic rock albums released in 2022. I have listened to it and it is amazing!

If you're Jethro Tull fan, you're going to want “The Zealot Gene” and you're definitely going to want to listen to this interview. It's classic Ian Anderson. Highly intelligent (some might even say intimidatingly so). Like the last time, we talked about the current state of the pandemic, and of course, how it impacted the recording and the assembling together of this album; how it's impacted tour. We talked in-depth, again, about religion. Again, a truly fascinating man to listen to and I think you guys are going to love listening to what he has to say.

After watching the interview, please share it with your friends. Also, order "The Zealot Gene" by clicking on the album cover on the upper left. You can keep up with the latest on Jethro Tull by visiting JethroTull.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and/or Instagram.

The Boomerocity Interview With Ian Anderson

 

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 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jethro Tull launch video for title track of new album ‘The Zealot Gene’

British Progressive Rock Luminaries JETHRO TULL recently announced details for the group’s first studio album of new material in over 18 years! ‘The Zealot Gene’ will see a January 28th, 2022 release on Inside Out Music. Today they are pleased to reveal the video for the albums third single & title track, once again directed by Iranian film-maker Sam Chegini who previously created a clip for ‘Sad City Sisters’.

Ian Anderson comments of the track: “The title track offers many allusions to the radical, politically-charged world of populism in leadership. As a song lyric, it sums up, for me, the divisive nature of societal relationships and the extreme views which fuel the fires of hate and prejudice, more so today perhaps, than at any time in history. Perhaps you think you know who I might have been thinking about here but, in reality, there are probably right now at least five prominent, dictatorial national figures who could fit the bill.”

Watch the previously released videos below:
‘Sad City Sisters’: https://youtu.be/lsQJl8tXO1Y
‘Shoshana Sleeping’: https://youtu.be/uPTeqsBd1Ik

“Ripe with fresh inspiration and resonant of past glories, it belongs high in the Tull canon.” – Prog Magazine

“The music is light, bright, tight and recognisably Tull” – Classic Rock Magazine

A record that began to take shape as early as 2017, ‘The Zealot Gene’, in many ways, seeks to defy convention during a time when the business of being a touring and recording artist has never faced more uncertainties. Tull bandleader Ian Anderson holds no reservations about the role for which the mythos and themes of Biblical storytelling played in the lyrical content of the new album, saying:

"While I have a spot of genuine fondness for the pomp and fairytale story-telling of the Holy Book, I still feel the need to question and draw sometimes unholy parallels from the text. The good, the bad, and the downright ugly rear their heads throughout, but are punctuated with elements of love, respect, and tenderness.”

Looking back on the earth-shaking disruption of the Coronavirus pandemic, which ultimately ended the band’s touring plans and hopes of a 2020 release for ‘The Zealot Gene’, Anderson shares, "It was so sudden. Amidst the concerns and warnings of the scientific community and a few more enlightened politicians, we all retreated in disbelief to our homes to wait out the storm."

The Zealot Gene will be offered in the following formats:
• Special Edition Digipak CD
• Gatefold 2LP+CD+LP-booklet
• Limited 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook
• Limited Deluxe 3LP+2CD+Blu-ray Artbook
The Deluxe 3LP+2CD+Blu-ray Artbook comes on white vinyl and includes a 3rd LP with the rough demos. It also includes a slipmat and a numbered art print. The blu-ray includes a 5.1 surround sound mix by Jakko Jakszyk (King Crimson).

‘The Zealot Gene’ Tracklisting:

  1. Mrs. Tibbets (5:54)
  2. Jacob's Tales (2:13)
  3. Mine Is The Mountain (5:40)
  4. The Zealot Gene (3:54)
  5. Shoshana Sleeping (3:41)
  6. Sad City Sisters (3:40)
  7. Barren Beth, Wild Desert John (3:37)
  8. The Betrayal Of Joshua Kynde (4:06)
  9. Where Did Saturday Go? (3:53)
  10. Three Loves, Three (3:30)
  11. In Brief Visitation (3:00)
  12. The Fisherman Of Ephesus (3:41)

With more than 30 albums to their credit and sales totaling more than 50 million, Jethro Tull are one of the most successful rock bands of all-time with a catalog that contains classics that still resonate today. Led by Ian Anderson, Tull still continue to tour throughout the world, entertaining audiences of all ages.

The band currently consists of:
Ian Anderson - Flute, acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals
Joe Parrish-James – Guitar
Florian Opahle - Guitar (album only)
Scott Hammond – Drums.
John O’Hara - Piano, keyboards and accordion
David Goodier - Bass guitar

Sonny LaMaire Of Exile Talks About Joyful Noise

Posted December 2021

EXILE 11 11 21 Moments By Moser Photography 12 HRPhoto by Moments By Moser PhotographyIf you've been following Boomerocity for last couple years, you might remember that in October of last year – 2020 - I interviewed JP Pennington of Exile. When I was chatting with him back then, he touched on the fact that Exile had been working on a Christmas song and might be a Christmas album, things like that.

Well, this year it happened. They've released just this month, December of 2021, a great album called “Joyful Noise” and, boy, it is chock full of great new songs - new songs written by the guys Exile and with some help from some friends.

To chat about the new Christmas album, this time I got to chat with long-time band member, Sonny LeMaire, ExileJoyfulNoiseCoverClick Above To Order Your Copyand who predates their “Kiss You All Over” hit. We talked about what all went into the making of the Christmas album and the songwriting. We also talked about what they hope to do in 2022.

Exile is one of those great bands you always love hearing from, going to see, and listening to their music, in your car or at home, whatever the case may be. Additionally, Exile is one of my favorite bands. I know you'll enjoy this album, “Joyful Noise”, and this interview with Sonny, below. Tell your friends about it. I think it's a great album that you want to have for your Christmas collection as well as in your friends’ collection.

Keep up with Exile at their website, Exile.Biz, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Watch. Enjoy. Share.

The Boomerocity Interview With Sonny LeMaire

 

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Jennifer Saran and Narada Michael Walden Celebrate Christmas In A Bubble

Posted December 2021

ChristmasInABubbleCoverThe year of 2021 is ending up being a phenomenal year this year with tons of great interviews having taken place. In fact, 2021 is closing out to be the most prolific year, interview wise, in the entire life (to date) of Boomerocity.

Because of that, I think it’s especially “poetic” that the last Christmas-oriented piece for 2021 is with Jennifer Saran and Narada Michael Walden. Jennifer is an incredibly talented and prolific singer/songwriter in the areas of adult pop and contemporary jazz. Narada is no stranger to Boomerocity. I had the privilege of interviewing him five years ago (here). As you’ll read in that interview, he’s a renowned producer, musician, and recording artists. The two together are creative dynamos who, when they put their talents and ideas together, the result is amazing music.

As great as that is, it’s even better when it comes to their Christmas music. That is especially true this year with their new Christmas single, “Christmas In A Bubble”. The music video for that song is to the right. Give it a good, close listen. Listen to the brief interview below, with Jennifer (dialing in from New York) and Narada (dialing in from Southern California). After you enjoy it, share it with your friends.

Keep up with Jennifer Saran at here website (here), Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The same goes for Narada Michael Walden. Visit his website, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Boomerocity Interview With Jennifer Saran & Narada Michael Walden

 

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Steve March-Torme Talks About I Remember Christmastime

Posted December 2021

steve march torme 001 origPhoto by David E. JacksonI'm sure that I am no different from you all. Growing up as a kid, watching Christmas specials and remembering a lot of black and white Christmas programs, Christmas shows, things of that nature. Who can ever forget hearing the song which I always thought was “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”, but it's actually called, “The Christmas Song” that was co-written by Mel Torme?

Now if you fast forward a few years as baby boomers as we’ve all gotten older and thinking we're a little hipper, we got turned on to a great TV show called Night Court, and of course, Mel Torme was a central theme and hero to the show’s judge, Harry T. Stone (played by the late Harry Anderson). Torme made seven or eight appearances on the show.

Back to Christmastime.

Mel Torme co-wrote The Christmas Song which, by the way, is the most performed Christmas song, according to certain online sources. Recently, I was turned on to the fact that one of Mel’s kids, Steve March-Torme, is quite a successful performer and I wasn't aware of that. I also recently learned that he's released a brand-new Christmas song called, I Remember Christmastime. It’s just been released . . . 75 years since his dad’s song was recorded by Nat King Cole and becoming a classic.

I wanted to talk to Steve and find out about this song, the story behind it, as well as all the other stuff he's doing. He is quite a successful entertainer. He's on radio and does all sorts of stuff. I found out a few things about him and his career on a certain game show that will remain nameless because you’ve got to watch the interview to know what we're talking about. I was just blown away by what all Steve has done and is doing and I'm looking forward to seeing what he will be doing and look forward to having more interviews with him in the years to come. My first interview with him is below. Watch. Enjoy. Share.

Note: Keep up with Steve at his website, SteveMarchTorme.com, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Click here to download "I Remember Christmastime".

The Boomerocity Interview With Steve March-Torme

 

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