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AMORIELLO Interview with Tom Amoriello By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist Boston Rock Radio


Interview with Tom Amoriello

By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio



Neo-classical hard rock project AMORIELLO, launched by renown guitarist, educator, and author Tom Amoriello and featuring former members of Black Sabbath, Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, TNT, Loudness, Dokken, Impellitteri, and Cacophony, has released a teaser for their self-titled LP, a 12 inch vinyl due out December 2018 via H42 Records. The first single, "Battle Song" (a tribute to metal legend Ronnie James Dio), was released on 9/28.



BRR: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. I won’t take too much of your time because I know you are busy.


TA: No, I appreciate it very much. Are you based in Massachusetts or are you in Florida?

BRR: I actually live in Rhode Island. We were based out of Boston originally but the owner of the station moved to Florida. We have a little team of journalists up here in New England still. I do most of the interviews and they do most of the reviews.  We’re looking to expand more in the Florida area now.

TA: Oh, Ok.


BRR: I read that you went into the studio to record one track for a school assembly and now you have this LP. How did that progress?


TA: Wow, how do I describe this? I wrote a children's book a few years back. I'm a public school teacher during the day. I'm a music teacher and I wrote a children's book to try to get kids interested in playing the guitar and I wanted to kind of take it to the next level and have some backing tracks to create a school assembly.  I was so happy with the way that initial instrumental track came out. I would go in and I would record the rhythm tracks and the next time I went back I would record the solos. In the time lapse between me going back in the studio I would come up with more riffs and some more songs and I just kept on going and then I knew it was finished. It took awhile to get to that point but I was just having so much fun and it was great working with people whose musicianship that I admired over the years. It was just a creative burst of energy and before I knew it I had more than thirty five minutes of music and I loved it.



BRR: Being a studio project, how did you go about choosing some of the legends that you feature?


TA: These are different musicians that either I had admired their recordings over the years or had seen live and I know that they are working musicians. I mean, a lot of them are not in the original bands that they were once known for and they have their own side projects that they do. They typically appear on other people's recordings as well as on their projects. Usually it was just something that stuck out that I remembered about them, something that I felt was unique or something that I really admired. For example there's this drummer on it named John Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen) and this guy is just such an amazing drummer and you hear somebody like that and you watch somebody like that play and it just gets burned in your memory and you wish that you were in a band with that person.

BRR: I know you're very involved in music education, as you mentioned you are a teacher. It is really sad to see that music programs are usually the first to go when school budgets are cut. How do you feel music is beneficial for youth?

TA: Well obviously I'm biased because being a music educator, I think music is just as important as science and math and the ancient Greeks believe that as well, without sounding like too much of a kook. For some kids, it is the only reason that they come to school. I mean it's not all kids, obviously, there are some kids that love school and academics, but there is a certain percentage of the student population that is not that intrigued by school and something such as a guitar program can get their interest. I teach a guitar program at public school and I kind of advocate for that as well. I'm involved with the National Association of Music Education, trying to promote and get other schools to start guitar programs. Even with that, not every kid wants to be in band, chorus, or orchestra, so guitar education is something that's growing. Pretty much in every state now there are schools that have guitar programs. For the price of one tuba, you can literally buy 20 guitars. From that point of view it's economical.


BRR: I think for a lot of kids too, it is their outlet and instead of their anger having them turn to drugs, they can shred on guitar to express whatever they're feeling.

TA: Yes, many kids go to guidance counselors and some kids play guitar.


BRR: Can you explain the description “neo-classical hard rock”?


TA: A figurehead in this genre is obviously Yngwie Malmsteen, an amazing guitarist from Sweden who now lives in Florida. But he's not the only one; there are some other great musicians even somebody from the Boston area l, a fellow named Joe Stump, who is a teacher at Berklee College of Music.  Neo-classical is basically what it describes itself, a combination of classical music with the heavier elements of rock n roll and heavy metal. There's some medieval influences and some Renaissance influences and some baroque influences and it just seems to work well just like blues became electrified in the 60s by a lot of the British musicians. In the 70s and 80s, people like Ritchie Blackmore, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, and in the 80s Yngwie Malmsteen did the same thing that the Brits did for the blues in the 1960s.


BRR: Going along with that description, what can one expect to hear on this album?

TA: A lot of people when they think of neo-classical, they automatically think shred guitar, but I really focused on the songwriting aspect of it more. Obviously there's guitar solos and all that fun stuff, but I feel like all of the instrumentalists have equal weight. There's fretless bass solos on it, there's a drum solo on one song, there’s keyboards, synthesizer introductions. There's even a vocal choir section to one of the songs so it's not just a guitar record. When people think neo-classical they automatically think it's going to be nothing but guitar solos the whole time but it's actually the opposite of that. There's chord progressions and melodies and a lot of thought was put into to those aspects of the songs.


BRR: There were ballads, guitar shredding, a balance of a little of everything.  There was something everyone could like. Tell me more about the first single, “Battle Song” being a tribute to Ronnie James Dio.

(For those who haven’t heard it yet, it is available digitally on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. The music will also be available on 12 inch with black, clear and clear-orange vinyl from H42 Records starting December 7th with European distribution from High Roller Records, Distro Clear Spot and Code 7.)*


TA: I've always admired Ronnie James Dio, obviously, as many other people do as well. His voice was just stellar and spectacular. I grew up in the Philadelphia area and in the 1980s he filmed two concerts from the Philadelphia Spectrum with NFL Films, so I knew that Philadelphia was a special place for Dio. Just like everybody else at that time, he was always on MTV and people have known him from his Rainbow, Heaven & Hell, and Black Sabbath days. But my first exposure to him was more his solo stuff. So, with this song that I wanted to do, I reached out to Vinnie Appice who was somebody who played in bands with him, obviously Sabbath and Heaven and Hell and the solo stuff. I kind of wrote a song in the vein of Dio but I don't think it completely sounds like I Dio. I don't have a Dio-like singer on it, but the music, the instrumental aspect of it, the drumming is definitely there. I did get a chance to attend Ronnie James Dio’s last concert that he did. It was in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 2010 and there's just something about his music. I always just admired it. He was so powerful. I know he was a humanitarian. He put together a Hear ‘n Aid project back in the mid 1980s and he was he was a fan favorite. I know that he always put the fans first. I know in recent years there's groups like Dio Disciples and others, a hologram group called Dio Returns and so there's a variety of aspects of tributes out there and this song is just my little stamp on all of that.

BRR: What are your future plans with new music and touring?

TA: Right now I'm going to perform this music live, not with the musicians that recorded it, but I'm putting a band together with musicians who are from New Jersey and New York. I have a singer right now, Jeff Rose. He was on a German record label called Pure Steel Records with a group called Power Theory. We also have a drummer, keyboard player, and bassist. Everybody right now, at the moment, is learning their parts and we are going to start rehearsals in January and we're going to hope to play some club dates in the New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York City areas. If an opportunity were to arise to play at a European festival in the summer, it would be very welcome. That's kind of a long term dream/goal but we're going to try to set our minds to that and hopefully we'll get some good responses and some feedback back in the review aspect of the recording when it actually comes out in December.

BRR: Great and good luck. I know in Europe it's a whole different scene than we have, from what I've heard they really appreciate music so much more.

TA: I think with US festivals, I hate to use the word but, their music is segregated. But in Europe you can go to a concert and on the same bill you will see Depeche Mode and then you'll see Slipknot and in the United States it's pretty much more categorized I guess. I don't know how else to put that. But yeah, in Europe there are definitely more open minded heavy metal fans. I’m not saying there's not great heavy metal fans in the United States, but that's why I chose to have the initial release on a German heavy metal label. I had a 7 inch vinyl come out in February, a 7 inch single of one of the tracks, and we got some pretty decent reviews from some of the German heavy metal magazines, actually four of them. They said some positive things which kept the motivation up. You know, when you're working on a long term project and more than a year goes by, you need something to kind of recharge your batteries. I love my friends and family and all, but sometimes it's nice to hear total strangers say something nice about something you have worked really hard on.


BRR: Exactly. Well, congratulations on this beautiful masterpiece. I hope that everyone does take a listen and gets lost in your guitar magic on there.


TA: That’s much appreciated. Thank you so much for taking the time to spend with me and thank you for your support of new music artists. It's needed. It's necessary and you're right there doing this. Thank you so much.


BRR: You’re welcome. I love doing it and I'll be on the lookout for some tour dates because, like I said, I'm in Rhode Island so that's not really too far away from New York City.


TA: Hopefully I’ll get to meet you in person. So thank you so much.



On album:
Guitar – Thomas Amoriello
Vocals – Nick Z Marino (Yngwie Malmsteen), Mark Boals (Ex Yngwie Malmsteen), Mike Vescera (Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen)
Bass - James Amelio Pulli (Impellitteri), Neil Murray (Ex Whitesnake), Phil Soussan (Ex-Ozzy Osbourne), Bjorn Englen (Ex Quiet Riot)
Drums – Vinny Appice (Ex-Dio), Kenny Stavropoulos (Ex-Le Mans), Shane Gaalaas (Ex-MSG), John Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen), Atma Anur (Ex-Cacophony)
Keys – Michael Troy (Ex Yngwie Malmsteen)


View album teaser here:



*PRESALE STARTS OCT. 29th, 2018 10:00pm (German Time) for the LP.

Limited to only 270 copies / with lyric insert
- 70 black vinyl edt.
- 80 clear-orange vinyl Edt.
- 100 clear-violet vinyl Edt.
- 20 home Of The Deer edt. + CD and additional turn over cover on clear-orange vinyl / stamped


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