California Breed Albany Down
Diemonds calls downtown Toronto their home, but they live for criss-crossing the continent for weeks on end, armed with little more than their brand of original hard rock, their gear and a dream. With their 3rd album ‘Never Wanna Die’ slated for worldwide release Summer 2015, the band continues to modernize their heavy rock n' roll sound. This time, multiple Juno award-winner Eric Ratz (Monster Truck, Billy Talent) is in the producer chair. Remaining true to their sound, Diemonds takes lyrics that speak to the outcasts, wild childs, and misfits, and combines them with a hard-hitting live show, taking cues from the greats they look up to.
Priya Panda, the bands front woman, is the sultry singer that the music world has never been so poised for. Every time she steps on stage she walks the indeterminable fine line between class and crass. With her larger-than-life presence, she breaks every cultural, social, gender and sexual boundary known to hard rock. If the ever growing legions of the band's loyal following, known as "Die-Hards", are any indication, Priya and the rest of her bandmates are firmly carving their own path in music and hoards of rock fans are already along for the ride.
Never Wanna Die - Juno-nominated for Heavy Metal album of the year
Best Underground Artist of the Year - High Times Magazine Doobie Awards
Dan Hand firstname.lastname@example.org
Built around the foundation of legendary vocalist-bassist Glenn Hughes and drummer extraordinaire Jason Bonham, with the addition of the 23-year-old newcomer guitarist-singer Andrew Watt, as Hughes says: “California Breed is real rock’n’roll – but made for right now.”
One listen to standout tracks like first single ‘Midnight Oil’ will confirm that. Deeper grooves than a monster tyre track, more funk than a roomful of bad-asses, this is rock that knows how to roll. That writes its’ own rules. That just don’t care, baby.
But that’s only one side of the story. On the flip you’ve got something like ‘All Falls Down’, a song so beautiful, so soulful and strange and touched by magic, it will make your radio cry.
As Andrew Watt says: “Getting to play with these legends has given me wings. I don’t really believe in luck. For me, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. And if you’re prepared and you’re met with the opportunity, you rise to the occasion. That’s what California Breed has been like for me. So that we’ve come out with something I’m really, really proud of.”
And when Watt calls Hughes and Bonham ‘legends’, he ain’t kidding. The breakout star of mid-70s Deep Purple, the man they call the Voice of Rock, Glenn Hughes has spent the subsequent years working with the biggest legends in music, as a solo star, and guesting with everyone from Black Sabbath to Earth, Wind & Fire – up to his most recent collaboration in rock supergroup Black Country Communion, which included Bonham.
As the son of Zeppelin legend John Bonham, Jason has followed his own distinctive path over the years, fronting his own successful outfits like Bonham, and playing with Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, Heart and, most recently, movie composer Hans Zimmer.
When Black Country Communion disbanded Hughes and Bonham had a strong desire to keep playing together. They're only challenge was finding a new guitarist worthy of their musicality. Easier said than done for these stars who between them have worked with some of the greatest guitarists in history – including Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page and Joe Bonamassa, to name just a few.
Then fate took a hand in things when Glenn’s friend Julian Lennon introduced him to the astounding talents of a New York City hotshot guitarist named Andrew Watt.
“Literally, the first day me and Andrew got together we wrote two songs,” recalls Glenn. “One was ‘Chemical Rain’ and the other was ‘Solo’, both of which are now on the finished album. I was so moved by the music, I said, ‘We’ve got to record this!’ That’s when I called Jason.”
“I was excited from the start,’ says Jason, “because apart from locking in as a rhythm section, Glenn and I had started writing together in BCC, and we wanted to continue that.”
“There was such energy in the room the first time we all played together, me and Glenn didn’t even have to talk about it,” says Jason. “He was so exited to be playing, though, it was infectious! He was just on stage! No going through the motions, kicking the chair over, everything! I was like, you know what, this kid is a free spirit. It was cool, we all just clicked straight away.”
“Nothing though has gotten into my blood like California Breed,” says Glenn. “I feel the same way,” says Jason, “I feel like a kid again starting out.”
Recording with Dave Cobb at the producer’s own studio in Nashville, added all the finishing touches, says Glenn.
“I’d gotten into Dave’s work via the Rival Sons, who I know and really love. But Dave has done a lot of great stuff. That whole Nashville trip which Dave is a part of. Well, me and Jason don’t want to sound like anyone else, we already sound like ourselves, but we felt we needed some fresh energy – and Dave absolutely brought it.”
At Cobb’s insistence, every vocal was recorded live as the band was playing. “Totally the reverse of what I’m used to,” says Glenn. “But I went into that aggressive rock soulfulness and everything down to the whispers, it was all done live! I enjoyed myself so much, just going for it.”
For what is on paper a three-piece, the sheer range of sounds and melodies you get from California Breed are breathtaking.
“I’m the oddball of the group but I’m the thing that makes us different from any other classic rock band. I grew up loving grunge music,” explains Andrew. “But my father always played me The Who and The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. I always felt like I was in the wrong generation. I used to make rock music on my own and I’d play all the instruments because I could never find anyone my age that really got it the way I heard it. Then I got to play with Jason and Glenn and I haven’t picked up anything but a guitar since!”
“What we’ve got here is a kid who isn’t a hammer-on, virtuoso,” says Glenn, “but a whole new entity. This kid grew up listening to Mick Ronson on Bowie’s records, as well as Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin. He has a completely different take. And it’s fresh and bold and so exciting. It just gets into your blood.”
That’s the thing about breeds. They go all the way back, in order to bring forth something new. Be the first to hitch your horse to the California Breed wagon.
They’re heading straight for the bright colored sun…
Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt have chosen ex Queens of the Stone Age/ Eagles of Death Metal drummer JOEY CASTILLO as the drummer for all upcoming live dates when it became clear that Jason Bonham’s professional commitments would prevent him from being able to tour with the band. As Glenn Hughes says “We’re just excited to play live, to tour, to be in front of and with our fans. We’re very proud of our debut record and we can’t wait to share it, live and loud, with you.”
Albany Down are Paul Muir on vocals, guitarist Paul Turley, drummer Donna Peters and bassist Billy Dedman and they have already recorded two albums with award-winning producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, INME, Super Furry Animals).
“These guys are really going somewhere; make sure they take you with them!" – Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2
The band is a hard-working, road-tested outfit, which has been well received at various UK festivals including the Maryport International Rock and Blues Festival; The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival (Colne); and The Great British Rock and Blues Festival (Skegness); as well as at venues like Barfly Camden and the legendary 100 Club.
In 2014, they toured the UK supporting New Jersey’s Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, which included the highlight of their year when they played at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. This was followed by appearances at festivals in Belgium and the Netherlands before a very successful tour of Germany with The Brew.
Blues Rock Review offered a fair assessment of both the band and their 2011 debut album: “South of the City” is a solid debut album from Albany Down and they will be an interesting band to watch develop in the coming years”. The album clearly showcased what the band are capable of – ranging from the superbly arranged “Mercy” to the low-down dirty, slide-led blues epic of the title track.
Their formidable second album, “Not Over Yet”, released in 2013, is full of their strongest songs, lingering melodies and great musicianship. And where vocalist Paul Muir could previously have been compared to the likes of Paul Rodgers, he stamps his own personality on this album, while guitarist Paul Turley produces a virtuoso impassioned performance. Traditionally a band’s second album is regarded as being problematical but Albany Down turned that notion on its head.
Their live show never disappoints. The band run on pure adrenalin, unrelenting energy and raw emotion and soon have any crowd entranced. The music is based on thunderous guitar riffs and pounding drums juxtaposed with soulful, soaring, emotionally-charged ballads.
Rock blogger Neil Mach probably got it right, when he recently described the band; “As hot as volcanic ash and yet as cool as snow slippers.”
“Not Over Yet” is an aptly titled album and an accurate barometer of a band on the up-escalator currently tearing up venues around the UK and Europe. Having already generated over 7,500 Facebook fans, the band are due to start work on their third studio album in 2015.
Both Albany Down albums, “South of The City” (2011) and “Not Over Yet” (2013) are available for download on iTunes and Amazon.
“Albany Down is the new voice of British rock music. A blend of contemporary rock and blues – with added brilliance on top. See for yourself.”
Make sure you try to catch a live show in 2015. You won't be disappointed!