It’s been about a year since the supergroup featuring Symphony X singer Russell Allen and drummer Mike Portnoy formed in the ashes of Portnoy’s tenure in Dream Theater and his tour of duty in Avenged Sevenfold. With guitarist/songwriter Mike Orlando in the fold, Adrenaline Mob announced its existence with a debut show at the Hiro Ballroom in Manhattan before going on tour with Godsmack and a 5 song EP.
Now the full length Adrenaline Mob record is coming out, and with the band playing a record release show at the Hiro Ballroom, Mike Orlando called me up to discuss the band, the record, and the future:
Examiner: Hey Mike thanks for talking to me today, how’ve you been?
Mike: I’m doing great man, thank you for having me for an interview.
Examiner: It’s my pleasure. So Adrenaline Mob releases Omertá on Monday, and you guys are playing at the Hiro Ballroom here in Manhattan for the record release party. This has been about a year in the works, are you excited for fans to finally hear this record?
Mike: Yeah! We’ve been sitting on the album over the last year, so we’re elated. We’re psyched as all hell. Finally getting it out!
Examiner: Last summer you guys also played the Hiro Ballroom for the debut of Adrenaline Mob’s music (read my review of that show here). What changed on the album between what you guys had then and now?
Mike: Not much. We might have fine-tuned a couple of things vocally, and I might have added a few more licks here and there, but really not much. The album had been recorded, even before the first concert of the band. Me and Mike and Russell recorded the whole thing and finished it, so we’ve just been sitting on it patiently.
Examiner: So it’s the same group of songs you guys played at Hiro last summer?
Mike: Yeah. But the EP was just a quick thing for the Godsmack tour, we wanted to go out and to have something for people to take home. If you enjoyed the band, you grab the EP and you can enjoy that until the album comes out. It was never mixed. Those are actual pre-production mixes, and we just mastered them and put them out as quick as possible. The album, though, is mixed by Jay Ruston, sounds incredible. A wall of sound. It now has the huge, big sound.
Examiner: You guys were nice enough to give me an advanced copy, and so I’ve been listening to Omertá over the past few weeks, and what strikes me the most is the varying styles of music from song to song. Some thrash, some groove, I feel like All On The Line almost sounds like an 80’s power ballad. Without trying to pin it to a genre, what tone would you say this record has?
Mike: Again, with all these songs, that’s just how I write. I like all different styles of music, I never pigeonhole myself into one genre or style. There’s just too much great stuff to enjoy. I’ve been crafting these songs for years, working on the songs that became Omertá, even before Russ. There are songs like Angel Sky and then it goes to Psychosane or Undaunted or Feeling Me… I love everything, from Pantera to Sabbath to the softer side, and obviously that comes through on All On The Line and songs like that. Everything to Duran Duran, I’ve loved that song since it came out and I couldn’t wait to redo it. I recorded it and played it for Russ and he was just blown away.
Examiner: I did want to ask you where that Duran Duran Come Undone cover came from.
Mike: It’s just something I always wanted to do. Lock that song down, because to me it has such a haunting.. not to say I go around playing Hungry Like The Wolf all the time, they do have some really cool songs, Duran Duran. It was just a haunting song, that female vocal line interacting with the vocals. I tracked it, and Russell looked at me like I had two heads until I pressed play, and then he said “I got it.”
Examiner: Is there a particular track that you feel represents the album as a whole?
Mike: That’s really tough for me. People always ask “well what’s your favorite song?” I don’t have one. They’re like my children, I love them all. Do I have favorites? Live, I can answer that. I love songs like Feelin Me and Undaunted. But then there’s songs like All On The Line or Angel Sky that just raise the hair on your forearm. It’s just beautiful, the way Russ executes All On The Line vocally, to me it’s breathtaking.
Examiner: Rich Ward was in the band at one point, how does going from two guitars to one change things?
Mike: Rich Ward was never on any recordings, and he really was only for that tour. Paul DiLeo as well. We came out as a 5-piece, but what anybody ever heard was only Portnoy, myself, and Russell. That was always the core of the band. We brought them in for the tour, but unfortunately schedules and things like that, there were too many conflicts. And we didn’t want them to get in the way of our touring, and vice versa, so we parted ways. And now the band is a 4-piece and sounds better than ever, and we cannot wait to unleash it on the world.
Examiner: Last summer you and the band gave the first listen of Adrenaline Mob at Hiro Ballroom, and while you’ve released some videos and streaming songs online, Monday night’s show will really be debut of the finished songs again. What made you decide that live shows were the best way to present the music, both last summer and this time around?
Mike: Because we’re a live band. There’s no doubt. The energy that comes between me, Russ, and Portnoy is just electric, and now that we have John Moyer in the band it’s on fire. This is a live band. There is no shadow of a doubt about that. We take the songs to a different level. Energy-wise, power-wise, we feed off each other on that stage. People always say “you look like you’re having so much fun,” we are! We’re having a blast playing together. We just get each other psyched up on this. I’ve been in so many lineups over the years, and this is pretty magical.
Examiner: How did the Hiro Ballroom get picked? Last time Eddie Trunk said it was the first ever metal show there?
Mike: Well it’s a cool place. It’s a Japanese ballroom, but it’s got a cool kind of vibe to it. And this is a party. We’re going to get up there and slam it, this is a show, but it’s also kind of a cool intimate place. And come May we’re gonna hit the road and do it, we plan to be on tour for the rest of the year with this. So we wanna go back to where we started. It’s a cool intimate place.
Examiner: When do these national tour dates get announced?
Mike: Well the European tour dates have already been announced, in June and July we’ll be out in Europe for awhile doing a lot of festivals. We’re doing Gods of Metal, Grass Pop, Sweden Rock, a bunch of theaters and clubs. So we’re really excited to do that in Europe. And I believe we’re doing a US run in May, and we’re just not going to stop. We plan on hitting the globe as best we can.
Examiner: What’s the long term plan for Adrenaline Mob? You have John from Disturbed on bass, and obviously Disturbed is on hiatus for now, but are you guys planning more than 6 months or a year ahead at this point?
Mike: Without a doubt! I plan on talking to you on our 8th album! We plan to keep John in the fold as well and all write together and it’s going to be incredible. We plan to build this… John said it perfectly in an interview he did. He said “I plan to make Adrenaline Mob have the same success Disturbed did.” That’s the plan! I echo his words.
Examiner: So you guys are all in for the long haul.
Mike: Without a doubt. I mean I love the project thing, but this is a band and we are here to stay.
Examiner: So the show is this Monday night at Hiro Ballroom here in Manhattan, and is there an opening act?
Mike: No there is not. It’s just us. We play the album from front to back, in perfect order, and then the following day the album is released. We have an in-store, and then we head out to L.A. and we’re doing That Metal Show and filming a video I believe.
Examiner: That all sounds great. I’m looking forward to the show on Monday!
Mike: I’ll see you there!
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