Brian Rademacher: Was ICE AGE your first recording band in 2001?
Doug Odell: If you really want me to date myself, back in the late Eighties I was in a band called THIRD RAIL, we didn’t record anything beyond demos. Essentially, we did the Westchester/Bronx cover band circuit and threw in a few originals. All through the Nineties, I spent time in original, cover and tribute bands making my bones. I was in a well-known (at the time) band called SMOKESCREEN; two of the original members of SMOKESCREEN are now in the TOOL/A PERFECT CIRCLE tribute band, known as A PERFECT TOOL. I would say ICE AGE was my first band that brought me to a professional level (on both the recording and performing side of things). I was with them for five years.
Brian Rademacher: What instrument did you start playing first?
Doug Odell: I started with piano and studied with two different private teachers. It was interesting how I got into the headspace of playing bass. I was a total geek in middle school! I really wanted to be in the school orchestra and they didn’t have any positions for piano. They had two people that were killer, but they needed a bass player. So the band leader said do you want to play tuba -- I said “fuck that I’m not playing tuba!” I did want to be in the orchestra, so he suggested the idea of playing keyboard bass. At the time, I had this two and half octave Moog synthesizer so I jumped in.
These total clowns that were in the drum core would run behind the curtain and unplug my amp in the middle of rehearsal, and the band leader’s baton would go flying! The guy was like a ninja the way he could throw this thing! As for my transition to bass, I don’t remember the exact date, but the day DEF LEPPARD’s “Hysteria” album came out was the day I decided to concentrate on bass and bought my first electric bass.
Brian Rademacher: When you played keyboards, did you have an idol?
Doug Odell: Believe it or not I grew up on RUSH, THE BEATLES, LED ZEPPELIN, THE DOORS and VAN HALEN. I idolized Ray Manzarek and once Eddie Van Halen started using keyboards, I could play any songs from the Sammy or Dave era on keyboards. When I started bass, I studied the lines of guys like Geezer Butler, Bob Daisley, John Paul Jones, and Geddy Lee. Before I took bass lessons I would play along with albums, learning the bass parts. I started with early DEF LEPPARD and WHITESNAKE, then I became obsessed with “Exit Stage Left” by RUSH. I spent hours studying every nuance of the live versions on that album! From a technique standpoint, I knew if I wanted to take my bass playing to the next level I would have to seek out private teachers and that’s what I did.
Brian Rademacher: ICE AGE change their name to SOULFRACTURED later and disbanded in 2006, true?
Doug Odell: Yes, I joined the band just before the release of their second album called “Liberation” (March, 2001). ICE AGE was well-known in prog metal circles, in the style of FATES WARNING, SYMPHONY X, DREAM THEATHER, RUSH, KANSAS. The band released two albums on the Magna Carta label. By the time I came into the picture, they wanted to move away from the progressive thing – feeling they had come as far as they could within that style. As a rock/metal fan, I started out listening to classic rock, but in the mid-Eighties I got into thrash, bands like METALLICA, SLAYER, OVERKILL, SEPULTURA, and TESTAMENT that’s kinda where my head was at. With that, I brought a heaviness to the new songwriting. At a certain stage in the band’s development, they felt going on as ICE AGE was holding back the transition into this other thing, plus the ICE AGE fans were getting pissed off – feeling that the band had abandoned their prog roots and core audience. At this point, we decided to change the name to something that suited the new direction – we created a whole new vibe; new website, logo and name. Some of the contemporary influences included SEVENDUST, INCUBUS, TOOL, A PERFECT CIRCLE – it was getting further away from the progressive style. As SOULFRACTURED, we were relentless in writing and recording, much of which was used for demos that we used to try and shop the band for a new label deal. They really weren’t into playing shows – which was tough for me. I am a guy that loves to play live and that’s why even while I was 500% dedicated to IA/SF, I worked as a sideman in many other projects. In the midst of all this, ICE AGE had a successful trip to Europe and co-headlined the Headway Festival in Holland. When SOULFRACTURED was still working under the ICE AGE name, I landed us direct support slots for KINGS X who are one of my favorite bands and we opened for THIN LIZZY as well! As rewarding as my time in IA/SF was, the bad experience with the label had severely undermined morale in the band to a breaking point. By the end of 2006, ICE AGE/SOULFRACTURED had run out of steam – and it was time to move on.
Brian Rademacher: Tell me about UNCHAINED?
Doug Odell: I was originally in UNCHAINED (The Mighty VAN HALEN Tribute Band) for a short time about four years ago, while I was still in ICE AGE. The lead vocalist/keyboard player from ICE AGE (Josh Pincus) was also in the BON JOVI Tribute band BAD MEDICINE -- he ended up pulling me into BAD MEDICINE when they needed a bass player. (I took a break for a number of years from working with UNCHAINED, but recently started up with them again). During my tenure in ICE AGE, I was also in a modern rock original band called LEFT OF CENTER that was gigging/recording/label deal shopping, *and* doing live/session work for other artists. The ADRIANGALE thing started when I was hired as a session player for the second album “RE:PROGRAM”. I developed a friendship with Vic Rivera who is one of my closest friends now! That’s why he brought me into CRUNCH and other things he’s working on. The TNA thing was a similar situation – the original bass player was M.I.A. when they decided to do a full album of new songs for Kivel Records. Original members Mike McManamon, Sean Tarr and Danny Tore recently decided it was time to bring TNA back once more; it seems there are fans from the old days clamoring to see them! We had the opportunity to be added to this bill at L’Amours on January 12, by an association with the guys in LAW & ORDER. We are really excited about it!
Brian Rademacher: Now I heard TNA have more plans for 2008 and with you also working with CRUNCH how’s that going to work out?
Doug Odell: The good thing about my status with these bands is they are all serious and professional, but part-time situations. With Jamie living in Indiana and having his hand in so many other things, no one has time to devote themselves to one project exclusively. It would be great if one of those projects were so demanding I had to devote myself to it 100%. My efforts in the fall of 2007 were concentrated on CRUNCH because I had to focus on that (for the EP recording and Firefest show). Now that CRUNCH is taking a break, Vic (being the Butch Walker meets Mutt Lang of melodic rock that he is) is focused on Poley/Rivera and various other projects. Jamie doing his own thing right now and Eddie Campbell is doing his thing. But once CRUNCH is ready to reconvene, we hope to do some festivals shows in 2008. Vic is writing material for a CRUNCH album (possibly for release in 2008 or 2009). As for TNA, we want to see how this gig goes and move forward from there. The drummer (Danny Tore) has some connections and that’s where this rumor started about us opening for Kip Winger, if that comes our way, we’re all over that.
Brian Rademacher: Is it true CRUNCH had to leave the name ADRIANGALE because the label owned it?
Doug Odell: Yes that’s correct, AG was initially conceptualized by the label. They put Vic and Jamie together; they came up with the name and put the pieces together, so they have the rights to the name. The guys from ADRIANGALE aren’t working with that label anymore on a business level. There was talk about fighting for the name but with the age of the Internet, it’s easy enough to grab people’s ears and eyes. I believe it was Kieran Dargan from Firefest who suggested naming the band CRUNCH in reference to the third album. It seems a lot of the ADRIANGALE fans have come along! Our MySpace page (myspace.com/crunchisaband) has samples of the new EP and if you listen, it’s in the same spirit of ADRIANGALE but with mastermind Vic Rivera’s amazing touch, we’ve taken it to another level.
Brian Rademacher: I heard a rumor that Jamie Rowe was basically a hired hand for ADRIANGALE and CRUNCH?
Doug Odell: That is not true, originally when the label put ADRIANGALE together there was probably some truth to that with business arrangements, but as time went on Jamie and Vic developed a lifelong friendship and writing partnership that transcended whatever original arrangements existed. CRUNCH is a real band, period.
Brian Rademacher: Do you foresee CRUNCH touring in 2008?
Doug Odell: We would like to do some festival shows if the opportunity is there - the sky’s the limit.
Brian Rademacher: Did you hear rumors that a U.S. leg of Firefest will be held in New Jersey at Starland Ballroom in 2008?
Doug Odell: Yes we did hear that and if there’s an opportunity to play it with CRUNCH or with POLEY/RIVERA that would be fantastic! I think it’s awesome if it does happen, Starland is a great venue and the East Coast needs something like that here.
Brian Rademacher: On your MySpace one of your top friends is THE SCREAMIN’ LORDS who we’re about to review. Are you friends with these guys?
Doug Odell: I recently became friends with the bass player (Jose Ferro) who is the VP at ESP Guitars; he reached out to me at my day job (www.muze.com). He was looking for some additional coverage, and contacted Muze to get listed in our media information database. I think “LONG LIVE ME” (this new album by THE SCREAMIN’ LORDS) is kick-ass and I love it. Hearing it conjured up spirits of classic WHITESNAKE and THIN LIZZY. Not to mention the fact that it’s got some stellar guest singers and players on it (Kelly Keeling, Robin McAuley, George Lynch and Chris Poland)! ‘ 80’s rock fans might remember a band called AGENTZ that Jose was part of.
Brian Rademacher: CRUNCH has a three song EP, is this out now?
Doug Odell: The people at Firefest actually put up the money to manufacture the CD’s and sell them at Firefest IV. Once we got back to the U.S. we used Tunecore to get it up at iTunes and every other major digital store, internationally. We will also be selling it as a CD at some point. Quality-wise, I put it up against any of the ADRIANGALE albums! Look for the physical disc to be released in 2008 with “Starting Over”, “The Good Stuff” and “Miss Me”.
Brian Rademacher: Tell us about the upcoming show on Jan 12 2008 10:00PM
At L’Amours with LAW & ORDER, AMERICAN ANGEL, TNA and REDRUM Staten Island, New York.
Doug Odell: The TNA guys know Shane from LAW & ORDER. They are doing this reunion show at L’Amours, and there was an opportunity to bring us on the bill. It was exactly what TNA needed as a kick in the ass to get back into the studio. We just want to go and play and have fun; there are great songs on the “Branded” album that have never been played live!
Brian Rademacher: So what are your hopes for the future?
Doug Odell: I want to keep working and playing live. Coincidentally, both at the Melodicrock Fest and at Firefest IV -- I was lucky enough to meet keyboard player Eric Ragno. Eric is one of these very talented, and highly motivated guys that has quietly made a name for himself. He has a project called CHINA BLUE featuring Tony Mills from SHY/TNT and Josh Ramos from THE STORM/TWO FIRES. He needed some bass tracks done (and re-done), so I’ve been working virtually with him using our respective home studios. The opportunity for me to work in CHINA BLUE is very exciting and I feel incredibly blessed! We’re hoping that the future will hold some opportunities to bring CHINA BLUE to the live stage as well!
Brian Rademacher: Doug, it’s been fun. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
Doug Odell: I would just like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today! RockEyez is a great site – and a killer resource for music news and information.