AKMS: Most people know you as the guitarist for the band After the Fall, tell us your music life before AtF.
ZS: When I was 18 I started with Souls of Aries. That lasted for about 5 years. After we disbanded I got a call to ask if I’d be interested in jamming with local rock band Stratega and needless to say I jumped on that pretty fast. I had my first practice with those guys on a Monday and we played Peter bs that same week! It was awesome! We were going through some member changes and that’s when we were auditioning vocalists and came across what morphed into A Common Crown.
AKMS: You are endorsed by Zane Guitars and Sinister Guitar Picks, tell us about your involvement with those 2 companies.
ZS: Zane Guitars and sinister guitar picks are both quite amazing! Guitars. I have almost 20 and it’s safe to say that after getting my signature Zane I play 2 of them! And picks… I can’t seem to beat these picks! They have outlasted every other pick I have ever used! So for me to say I’m absolutely sold on the quality and one on one relationships both companies have with their artists. It’s great to see such a thriving and evolving music industry!
AKMS: Who has been your greatest supporter during your music career?
ZS: My wife has been beside me through every move I’ve ever made in my musical journey. From my first show ever till now, she’s there! Front and center! I couldn’t express my gratitude for all she’s done and put up with!
AKMS: Who is/are your favorite unsigned musician(s)?
ZS: Skippy Ickum is absolutely blowing my mind on a daily level. Also, Kill the Drama.. such a high energy show. Everytime! And of course… Paul Peterson. Mikey Palone. Mike Ekis. Paul Guerini. Pete Rossi. And of course…. Matt Ferrante Steve Craven and Doug Carnahan Jen Heymers and Dan Mammano are by far the tightest, and best musicians I’ve ever created music with!
AKMS: from Cate Fouse: Do you have a favorite place to play? Why?
ZS: I don’t really have a favorite… places are all different but the one thing in common is the stage. No matter where, or when. Soon as I hit the stage everything disappears. That would be my favorite feeling in the world.
ZS: I would like to ask… boxers or briefs!?
Listen to the Pennsylvania Rock Show feature on After the Fall
AKMS: from Jacob Parks: While you are an artist pushing your art, do you feel you are doing enough for others around you in the community?
CF: I think that with being involved with Rock for Life, yes, I feel extremely involved in the community.
AKMS: What is it about a stage that draws you to it?
CF: The energy. Once you get on any stage, you feel the energy of everyone that played there before you. It’s an amazing feeling.
AKMS: Recently, you have taken up bass. What is your favorite thing about that role in Farewell Felicia?
CF: I feel accomplished playing and singing. I could never had pursued that without the patience and guidance of Matt and Digger.
AKMS: If you could narrow it down to one exact moment, what was the most important event in your musical career?
CF: That’s easy. Being asked to be a part of Rock for Life.
AKMS: What is 1 question that you’d like us to ask the next interviewee?
CF: Do you have a favorite place to play? Why?
Where to find Cate Fouse:
Listen to the Pennsylvania Rock Show interview SuffaCate
AKMS: from Chris Dittman: If you could say a thank you to one local musician that is not a current band mate of yours, for being an influence and helping to mold you into the performer you are today, who would it be?
JP: That is a hard question to answer. I was raised around a bunch of musicians and they all had important things to teach me. But… Bruce McClean from the Amaretta Band out of Fombell, PA gave me a lot of advice not only for music but combining family life with music. Family always comes first but don’t give up on your dream. Be the best “man” you can be. I can never thank him enough for trying to put the balance of music and family into my life.
It pushes me… I wanna make it in order to give my family an easier life. So I give it my all everytime I perform
AKMS: How did Terachain Sky get started?
JP: I recorded a CD in hopes to start a band. So when I finished, I asked guys from bands that I played in before to join me and start a band. We were all best of friends. I planned on singing but Nick Stelter asked to try out. One line of singing and that was it. I’m glad that they agreed to jam with me because it’s been a blast from the very start.
AKMS: Your guitar has a unique look, how and why did it happen?
JP: My guitar… I love it. I used to have my army uniform glued to the front. It still is on the headstock. It started peeling off. So I asked my girlfriend Anna to draw on it for my birthday. I asked her to just feel it and make it awesome. So the center is a lightning bolt. Our first date we watched a thunderstorm. There’s a sheep on it by the volume knobs I don’t know if there’s significance but I don’t care hahaha. To finish I asked her to put her name on it.
I love it. The colors, the free feeling, the one of a kind beat up looking guitar that will always be mine
Kinda like the relationship you build with your partner. It’s never perfect. But it’s always beautiful and unique
AKMS: What does the future hold for Terachain Sky and Jacob Parks?
JP: we dream, hope, and pray to get noticed and be able to make a living doing what we love. We’re starting recording on our third album. After its finished we plan to travel anywhere and everywhere sharing our music and our beliefs with whoever will accept it.
AKMS: What is 1 question that you’d like us to ask the next interviewee?
JP: While you are an artist pushing your art, do you feel you are doing enough for others around you in the community?
Listen to the Pennsylvania Rock Show 358 featuring Jake Parks
AKMS: Chris, you’ve been in the western PA music scene for a while now, what do you feel are the pros and cons of the scene?
CD: Well, I’ve been in the scene for 23 years now and I’ve seen it go through several changes. I’d have to say the biggest pro of the scene we have right now, is the brotherhood that is being formed with all of these bands.
Bands booking shows and sharing nights together, splitting costs and profits of multiple band shows. Also the charity and benefit scene that is going on. These musicians are more than generous with their time and talents than ever before. They jump at the chance to play a free show for a cause they believe in!!! Who would have ever thought 20 years ago that bands would be lining up and waiting for a chance to play….for free!!
I’d have to say the only con that I see recently is actually one that’s been around a while and I’m not sure I see it changing, its the rotation rut that some clubs get stuck in. There are so many great bands in this town that won’t get a chance to play in some clubs in the area because they only book the exact same bands in a rotation every month or 2. I can understand that sometimes the ” if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy is just downright safe business, but there could be the next big thing waiting at your door…..you just never know.
AKMS: What do you feel was the best moment you spent on stage, and why?
CD: I’ve had some great moments that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but I’d have to say my favorite moment on stage was at Rock for Life’s Gigaroo when my daughter Zoe got to watch us live for the first time and I got to hold her on stage while I sang. She looked at me that day like there was no cooler dad in the world!!! She won’t always look at me that way but I’ll now always know what that look, looked like!!
AKMS: What does the future hold for your current projects? Do you have any upcoming shows? Recording Sessions? etc.
CD: The future for Flashback is looking great!!! We’ve recently had some great shows and have gotten some great exposure and we plan to continue to grow in 2017!! Playing at a Pittsburgh Pirates Block Party at PNC Park was definitely a huge moment for us!! Flashbacks last show of the year is a Peter B’s on November 19th if you dig 80’s music come on out and Party with us!!
Rokbot will be doing our last show of the year on November 12th…also at Peter B’s!! The plan for Rokbot in 2017 is to possibly do some recording. We get great reactions to our original music but have never put out any kind of disc….it may be time to put down some tracks and get something people can take home with them.
AKMS: Please tell us about Zoe’s New Beginnings.
CD: Zoe’s New Beginnings is a Non-profit my wife and I run. We deliver gift bags full of essential items that parents receive as they leave the NICU. We work with every hospital in Pittsburgh that has a NICU. We make monthly deliveries and the hospital distributes the gift bags as the babies are discharged. It’s our version of a graduation, from the NICU, present.
Our next fundraiser is at Jergels on Sunday afternoon December 4th. It’s a Christmas show for kids. I put together an all-star band and we play Christmas songs and get the kids dancing and singing and just enjoying the music and spirit of the holidays… oh yeah and there’s always a visit from the Big Guy himself for pictures with the kids. For more info check out our Zoe’s New Beginnings Concert Series page on Facebook.
AKMS: What is 1 question that you’d like us to ask the next interviewee?
CD: 1 question….I think I’d like to ask this…. If you could say a thank you to one local musician that is not a current band mate of yours, for being an influence and helping to mold you into the performer you are today, who would it be?
In the interest of fair play and answering my own question…I would have to say thank you the one and only Mike Palone!!
Where to find Chris Dittman:
Listen to the Pennsylvania Rock Show Episode on Rock Benefits including Zoe’s New Beginnings
For the first time ever in our time with mixcloud.com, the Pennsylvania Rock Show has 2 podcasts that have charted in the top 50 of the metal charts at the same time! Episode 348 is currently charted at #43 and Episode 347 remains in the top 50 coming in at #47!
Day 2 Interviews: Episode 348
On Rock for Life 17 Day 2 I spoke with Paul Guerrini (Who Called the Cops & Bled Zeppelin), Bill Postle (Doppler Affect), Garry Simmons (Amber-Alexis & KGB), Mark (DBL Blind) and Amanda Hensel, Mike Piroch (Creep, Staley’s Comet, & Mona Lisa Smile), & Mike Ekis (skell & ZuZu Petals) about the Rock for Life experience and why they are involved in it.
Day 1 Interviews: Episode 347
I caught up with Vegas (Ride for Life), David Hipchen (Tilted Shadows), Jen Heymers (A Common Crown), the Jagemans, Greg Shotts (Tilted Shadows & Post traumatik), Sean Nestor (Homicide Black), Jason “Mailman” Slee, Matthew Wilmot (Farewell Felicia & Suffacate), & Cate Fouse (Farewell Felicia & Suffacate) on site of Rock for Life 17 Friday August 5th. Hear their on the spot interviews about Rock for Life and what it is all about.
In recent weeks/months/days we’ve been putting an emphasis on local rock charity concerts at the Pennsylvania Rock Show If you’re interested in finding out a bit about how gracious the local rock community scene is in Western Pennsylvania, please take a few moments to listen to the following podcasts.
After the Fall is a 4 piece, original hard rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Originally formed back in 2004, they’ve undergone several lineup changes over the years, and although met with success soon after their formation, it’s their current incarnation that has the city of Pittsburgh, and cities throughout the country, abuzz. With Matt Ferrante on drums, Steve Craven on bass, Zac Shepard on guitar, and Doug Carnahan on vocals/guitar, they’ve made a bang in Pittsburgh and surrounding regions since the addition of Carnahan on vocals back in the spring of 2012. They’ve shared the stage with such national acts as Hurt, Sevendust, The Sin City Sinners, Corrosion of Conformity, Primer 55, and more. They have played in cities across the country, turning heads and recruiting new fans as if they’re lives depended on it.
They’re sound is reminiscent of some of the great hard rock bands of the late 80’s, early 90’s, yet still stands out amongst their contemporaries as fresh, melodic, and just plain catchy. They’re songs are predominantly driving, radio friendly, hard rock songs, infused with attention commanding guitar riffs, topped off with vocals and lyrics that drive their point straight home, and often through the heart.
They’ve seen airplay on major commercial radio, both in and outside of PA, and also on many of internet radio stations. With the release of their EP, The 2014 EP, and their full length album My Confession, it’s only a matter of time before their music is in front of the masses, and they don’t plan on stopping until, and even after, that day comes. With a jam packed schedule, and shows dotted all over the map, be sure to keep an eye out for After the Fall in a town near you!
What is the state of local entertainment going into 2016? For those of you that may not know Tony Marinacci of Total Entertainment & Entertainment passed away on September 2, 2015. He was an important figure in the history of the Pennsylvania Rock Show. Tony was instrumental in teaching me how to run a sound board on his own for the live performances that took place in the early years of the show. Tony made suggestions on things such as what bands to play, what equipment to buy, & so much more. But more, much more than that, Tony was Bill’s friend. One of the very last thing’s that Tony asked me to do was to keep his website online for a few years after he passed away. I agreed without hesitation.
Now, I bet you’re wondering what this preface has to do with this post. Every year Tony would release a post on the news section of his website about the State of Local Entertainment. I want to pick of the reigns and continue it for him; however, I don’t feel that I am qualified to do it on my own. So I came up with a plan. I have asked a few people the same questions about the local scene. This article will allow you to read their thoughts. I have asked Brian Drusky (Drusky Entertainment), Chip DiMonick (Chip DiMonick Band, Londona, & Helping Hands Rock Reviews), John Klazon (Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene), and Vinni Belfiore (Musicans Hotsheet), Michael Stover (MTS Management Group), and Doug Carnahan (After the Fall) to help me tackle this in this article. You can also listen to John Lane’s (the Hellfire Club) answers to the questions in this month’s the Pennsylvania Rock Show.
Some of the awesome photography, that I’m sure you’ve noticed, on akmusicscene.com and parockshow.com were NOT taken by me. I know what you’re thinking.. wait what?!?
In recent years, a concert photographer has emerged in the South Western Pennsylvania Music scene. Her name is Reina Peli and she does amazing work. From concert photography and band sessions to cover art and logos, your band needs to contact her! While social media and cell phones can help bands get their presence felt, bands need to have professional photos for their press kits & online presence. In today’s music scene and business, image is just as important as your ability to master your craft and that’s where Reina is your savior.
In recent times I have posted some how-tos for your websites such as how to select your web hosting and how to create a website for you band while on a budget. Here is an article that you should check out from Band Zoogle telling you how you should use photography on your website and why you should hire a professional photographer: 8 Ways you Should be Using Photos on Your Band Website and here is another one to help you prepare for a band photo shoot: The Definitive Survival Guide for Band and Musician Photo Shoots. Here are 11 more tips for band photography.
Years ago, I started designing websites for local musicians. The very first website I did was for a band called Hybrid. Steve Craven, Matt Ferrante, Tim Henry, and John Couslin made up that band. Through the years I’ve followed the scene while these group of men have moved on to different bands. Steve and Matt have been in a few bands since those days, but one thing that has remained constant is that they give back to the scene and community through their Rock for Life concert series. The mission of Rock for Life is to provide financial support to needy individuals residing in Western PA who are suffering from life threatening diseases. Rock for Life sponsors music festivals and other music-related and general fundraising events to raise the monies necessary to support its purpose.
Over the years, I have taken probably thousands of photos at various Rock for Life concerts. I’ve updated their websites, facebook, twitter, & more. I consider what I do a small cog in the machine that has done so much good for going on 16 years now.
I didn’t realize how much these concerts, these people, these fans actually affect the benefactors of the series until this past year. The 15th year benefited, Alicia Hruby, a student of mine. She has defied the odds and has gotten her liver transplant. Her life is starting to turn back to “normalcy”. What really makes me be proud of Rock for Life, not just the concerts and the people behind it, are the people in the fields and in the venues. Don’t get me wrong the people on the stage, playing for free, who are bringing the crowds in to support the cause are awesome people, but it is the people in the field throwing their hands in the air, head banging, listening that I’m writing about today.
The last few Rock for Life recipients have started calling the fans & band members their Rock for Life Family. There is a reason for this. These people who come together to have some fun, help out a cause, and listen to some of the best unsigned music in the area do something else. They actually do SUPPORT the family and children that Rock for Life strive to help. They help them not just monetarily through their support of the concert series, but also through keeping up with the children and family through social media, visiting them in the hospital, sending them get well cards, praying for them, and just about anything else you would expect from family.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single person that has ever had anything to do with Rock for Life.
I always thought the word, “family”, meant you had to be related by blood. I’m finding that to be only half true. My parents, sister, and I had somewhat of a normal life with parents working, Alicia and I going to school, dance classes after, and swimming with friends in the summer. Then something happened that changed our “normal” lives forever. We found out my little sister was very ill with multiple complications, and after many tests in just a few years, found out she would need a new liver. School days, dance, and going to the pool turned to hospital stays for her. A place a teenage girl should not be. This isn’t the end to the story though, not even close. Through what seemed like an awful journey for us, we met the most loving, spectacular, kind-hearted people I could ever dream of knowing! People in our lives, in our community, were coming together to support us. One person in particular was mine and Alicia’s middle school science teacher, Bill Domiano. He had mentioned about a benefit where a bunch of people get together and put on rock shows to raise money and my sister would be the recipient for that year. We accepted. We attended, and couldn’t stop at one show. Our family expanded so much from that day on. We had just met them, and it seems like we had known them for a lifetime. You see, “family” means more than blood. Way more. It involves love and caring for one another. We have laughed and cried together. THEY are our FAMILY now, and we are theirs. I can’t thank the Rock for Life community enough and everyone involved.