“Lions Pride Music” Features Bonrud. Carsten Nielsen of Lions Pride Music interviewed Paul Bonrud about the new Bonrud CD. A copy of the interview has also been archived below.
1. When were Bonrud formed as a band and are Bonrud today a fulltime band or more a studio project?
Bonrud has been together in its current line-up for the past three years. So far we have concentrated solely on writing and recording this CD but we are planning to start playing some shows once I get done doing all of the promo work
2. Who have been the main musical influence on the band and you on a personal level and where do the ideas for the lyrics come from?
Journey is my favorite band and Neal Schon is the one who first inspired me to play the guitar as a teen. Other bands that have influenced me are Def Leppard, Foreigner, Boston, Van Halen, Bryan Adams, The Eagles, Whitesnake, Sammy Hagar, and Giant (Dann Huff is an amazing guitarist!) Dave Hendricks was very influenced by Foreigner and Lou Gramm in particular but he is also a HUGE Styx fan. Dave’s favorite album was by Foreigner but I think Styx is his favorite band. Paul Higgins loves the rockin’ stuff and always seems to show up to sessions and gigs wearing Iron Maiden, Kiss, or Ozzy t-shirts. He’s really a student of the drums though and has taken tips from lots of great drummers like Kenny Aronoff. The lyrics are inspired by real life experiences but are also sometimes born out of our imaginations
3. The band’s debut is about soon to be released, what are the bands hopes and experimentation for the album as on how it will do in Europe and Japan?
We are absolutely thrilled with the CD and can’t wait for everyone else to hear our music. So far the reviews have been favorable and people seem to like the songs so I think we’ll do fairly well for the melodic rock genre in today’s current market climate. Success is definitely relative since melodic rock doesn’t sell in the huge numbers that it once did. But there are still many fans around the world who love this style of music and this CD is for them
4. Could the band take us through the album track by track and tell us a little about each of them and what songs are personal favorites?
Leap Of Faith – This is an upbeat rocker that is about believing in yourself and having faith that things will work out. It’s a great way to open up the CD. The music for this song came to me very quickly which is typical of the really good songs…they’re just gifts from God
The Phoenix – I think this is one of the coolest tracks on the CD. It’s the heaviest and darkest but I wrote this loosely around the “Dark Phoenix” saga from the X-Men comic book series. I used to collect comic books when I was a kid. I wrote this with my good friend Tim Compton from the band Lynn Allen and Mariah. Tim is a fantastic guitarist and he really took me under his wing when I was first playing clubs back in Minnesota. He’s the one who really taught me how to rock!
Desperate Heart – This is my favorite track on the CD. This is an AOR power ballad filled with emotion. Dave really shines on this track and I’m pleased with my guitar solos on this song as well. This song is about the heart break we all feel when a cherished relationship comes to an end and the hopeless feeling it often leaves us with. I think you can really hear my Journey / Neal Schon influence on this song
I’ve Changed – I really think this is a fun song. It’s the second fastest song on the CD with a spirited guitar solo but more than anything, the lyrics are fun! This song is about groveling back on hands and knees to your girlfriend, begging for forgiveness, and telling her you’ll be good from now on “because baby I’ve changed!” I really had fun writing this song and my girlfriend loved it. Girls love it when their guys beg for forgiveness!
Give Me A Chance – This is a fun rocker written about that girl we all had a crush on in school…you know, the one who didn’t know you existed and would never go out with you? When I was in ninth grade I made the mistake of falling hopelessly in love with the prettiest girl in school…who was already dating a guy four years older than me. I never won that girl’s heart but I at least got a cool song out of it! 🙂 Who knows? If I did win that girl I may never have found the need to learn to play guitar in order for girls to think I was cool! P.S. guys…this really does work!
Take Me Home – This is a power ballad that Dave and I wrote one day when he said that he wanted a song that featured his voice. I sort of thought every song featured his voice but okay…this one was for you Dave! 🙂 Anyway, it’s about longing for home and more importantly for a better time when we were young and the world seemed to be a much better place. I long for those innocent days Date With Destiny – This is a real rocker with harmonizing guitars and a story about a bad girl named Destiny who leads a guy astray (actually gets him involved in crime and his life quickly turns into a mess). I wrote this song with a friend of mine from Germany named Dieter Rehrl. Dieter sang many of my earlier demos. He also had a small hand in the writing of “The Phoenix” as well. He’s a great guy and is full of energy! This song is a great example of lyrics that came solely from my imagination and not a real life experience. I just wanted to add that for clarification.
Once In A Lifetime – This is another big rocker. This song is about not realizing what you had until it was gone. It’s sad that we sometimes appreciate how special someone was only after we lose them
Live Your Dreams – This is a rocker that builds and builds and builds to the very end. I really hear the Styx influence in Dave’s singing on this track and I hear a bit of late 70’s Journey in my music. He wrote a good portion of the lyrics for this song and I really like the second verse in particular where he sings “Aurora Borealis”. I’ve never heard that in a song before and therefore I feel that was one of his brighter literary moments. Good job Dave! The long note he holds going into the big build up before the solo was also a first take. It was his warm up take and he didn’t know I was rolling tape. Good thing I was because that was a winner!
Look Me In The Eyes – This is the biggest, fastest rocker on the CD and when Keith mixed this song down he repeatedly made the comment that I had really outdone myself with the guitar playing on this track. That made me feel pretty good! 🙂 Keith had just told me a story about a high profile rock and roll divorce and I used that story as the seed of inspiration for my lyrics. Of course had I REALLY based it totally on the story as Keith told me, it would have been too raunchy and I wouldn’t have been able to play the song for my Mom. So this is the PG rated version. Hollywood Movie Star – I know this is Dave’s favorite song and it’s also one of mine as well. This is a big, moody, somewhat voyeuristic power ballad about a girl who dreams of becoming a “Hollywood Movie Star”. I wrote all of the music for this song very quickly and gave the music demo to Dave for lyrics. He wrote all of the lyrics and once again, I really like his lyrics on the second verse in particular. What is it about Dave and the second verse lyrics? Anyway, the line that I love is the last line of the second verse…”They stare at you with the lights down dear, dolby in every corner…” I have always loved that line so once again “Good job Dave!” 🙂 This was the first song Keith mixed for me and he had so much fun, he kept coming back for more
5. The band worked with legendary producer Keith Olsen for the bands debut album, how were all this arranged and how did you get to meet Keith in the first place?
Keith was helping a good friend of mine, Mark Hopkins design a recording studio (Big Rock Recording). I met Keith one day at the studio site while it was under construction and I gave him a CD consisting of four demos. He gave me some suggestions and I went back to work on the songs. Eventually when it was time to mix the CD, I asked Keith if he had some time to mentor me in the studio just for a few hours. He listened to the first song, gave me some suggestions of things to change/redo and then he came out the next week and mixed the song. He had so much fun working with me in the studio that he wanted to mix the rest of the songs. He’s really become a great friend and continues to mentor me. I have learned so much from him. I can’t wait to put what I have learned to use on the next CD. Keith told me just the other day that he’d love to help me produce the next CD from the very beginning. That would be an incredible experience! He’s going to fly out next week and he and I will spend some time with some of my new song ideas but also just hanging out and having fun. He really is a great guy and his willingness to help me on this CD project speaks volumes for the kind of man he is. I really respect him
6. The band got signed to Frontier Records within Europe or is this also for other parts of the world and why sign to Frontier Records, weren’t there any other label interest from Europe in the band?
I was offered record deals from several different record labels but in the end, I decided to sign with Frontiers. Serafino really has a passion for this style of music and I had been impressed with many of their previous releases (I really love the Kelly Keagy solo CD!) I only sent my CD to the labels I thought would do the best job marketing the material so I was very selective and I’m very pleased with the work that Frontiers has done for me. Frontiers signed me for Europe, Russia, and Israel and Marquee/Avalon is distributing the CD in Japan. We will be selling the CD directly through our web site at http://www.bonrud.com for the rest of the world in late September
7. Are there any plans for touring in support of the album and would we eventually see the band also coming through Europe to support it or is it all up to how well it sale?
Touring is very expensive so it does depend on how well it sells. Keith has encouraged us to do a small tour in Japan and Europe but it costs a lot of money to do this. So if the CD sells well, we might be coming to a stage near you very soon!
8. What’s the bands personal point of view on today’s music scene, as it’s seen on MTV and heard on the radios are there any space left for Melodic Hard Rock & AOR?
I think this style of music is starting to make a resurgence. “The Darkness” in particular are bringing back fun arena rock but I hear elements of melodic rock in lots of pop, rock, and nu-metal bands today. It’s there…heck, during the 90’s grunge period I think most of the really good musicians in America moved to Nashville to do modern country which is really just pop music with a bit of a twang. Dann Huff is the perfect example of this since he moved to Nashville to first continue as a session guitarist but eventually turned into a world class producer producing Faith Hill. I hear AOR musical drama in her hits “Cry” and “When The Lights Go Down”. Good music never goes away and neither does great musicianship…it just moves around until it finds its niche so that it can shine for the whole world to hear. I’d love to hear great bands like Journey have big radio hits again but realistically, radio is very controlled right now. I think the internet is the equalizing force and will allow more new music from old bands like Journey and new music from new bands like Bonrud to be heard. The internet is every little band’s best hope to be heard
9. How’s the area where the band is from when it comes to get gigs to play and get it’s music out on the radio waves to be heard?
Seattle is a great town with lots of clubs. It’s easy to get gigs here when you have a great band. We haven’t scheduled any shows yet but once we do, we will be able to play as many shows as we want to locally. I’ve played lots of shows around town with other bands/artists and it is always fun. Our song “Desperate Heart” has been played on the local rock radio station out here
10. Any last words to the fans/people out there here in the end?
I’d like to thank all of the fans who have written to us and are anxiously awaiting the CD. You are the people that make all of the hard work worthwhile and I sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart that you will enjoy the CD. This CD has been a true labor of love. My music is my passion and my reason for being. I thank all of you who are helping make my dreams come true. Anyone who wants to order the CD directly from the band can send us an email at mailto:email@example.com “Notify” in the subject and we will let you know when the CD is available for sale on our web site www.bonrud.com. We’ll have the CD for sale on our web site by late September. The CD will be released by Marquee/Avalon August 21st in Japan and will be released by Frontiers Records in Europe on September 20th. Jessica & Carsten, thank you for taking the time to do this interview and keep up the great work with your web site!