Interview with Richie Ranno (Starz)

Richie Ranno of Starz and Hellcats fame talks about what he’s up to lately and looks back at his musical legacy…

You’ve had a pretty busy couple of years. Recently you’ve been playing special tribute shows to Cream. Are Cream one of your main influences?

Yeah, Cream is one of probably three main influences of mine. It has to be Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix. For the other two guys, it’s Cream and The Who. I think The Who would be fourth on my list, but the other guys are into Cream and The Who. It’s probably because they are a drummer and a bass player. We all like the same bands and we’re the same age. I went to “The Garden” (Madison Square Garden) to see Cream with Dube, and even though it was a great thrill, I felt it fell short. I saw the DVD of the show and they seemed more into it and were so much better. Clapton, in particular, seemed better on the English shows.

I think Gregg sings and plays like Jack Bruce, so it seemed the obvious thing to do was to go out and do the Cream tribute shows.

Who else is in the band?

There’s Dube, Gregg Hollister on bass, and myself. He played bass on an album I recently put out called Richie Ranno All Stars.

Is this something that you might do with other bands that you like? Who else would you cover in this way?

We actually do more than Cream songs — we do some Hendrix and 60s stuff too.

Is this an offshoot from your All Stars Tribute CD?

In a way it was. You know on that album I was going to do “Crossroads,” but so many other people have done it that I decided not to. I wanted to do something a bit different. I actually went out and bought two Gibson SG’s and they have such a great sound through a Marshall amp. It was quite difficult to do, as I had to go back and listen to the old albums again because I wanted it to sound as authentic as I could. It sounded really good and it was a lot of fun. Actually, the most fun I have is when I’m playing Starz and this Cream stuff.

Talking of the All Stars Tribute CD, was this the chance to go into a studio with some friends and record tracks that you grew up with?

It really was like that. It was a lot of fun.

You did most of the lead vocals on the album … are you pleased with how it turned out?

I did the vocals on the All Stars album and I’m pleased with that. I had two different drummers playing with me at the time — Dube wasn’t one of them, but I wanted to take those drummers and as I knew it was coming to an end, and before it ended I wanted to get something down and recorded because everyone was really great. It came out really tremendous.

Did you ever fancy singing a couple of leads while you were in Starz or did Michael like to hog the microphone?!

Oh, no!! Not with Michael Lee Smith in the band, he’s one of the greatest singers of all time. I actually sing the beginning of “Where Will It End” from Coliseum Rock, I don’t know if people know that! That’s as much as anyone else sang lead in Starz.

You also played on a Cheap Trick tribute album with Frank Dimino, Gilby Clark, and Glen Burtnik a while back. Which song did you pick?

I didn’t actually play with Gilby, but I played on two cuts, one with Frank, and another with Eddie Ojeada from Twisted Sister, and Rocco, the lead singer from American Angel. We did “On Top Of The World” with Frank on vocals and Danny Peyronel from UFO on keyboards, and “She’s Tight” with Eddie and Rocco. Eddie played lead on that one and I played rhythm. I think that turned out really well, we did them in a great studio and that’s a pretty good CD, but it’s out of print now.

Cheap Trick and Starz are two bands who are synonymous with each other. Have you toured with them before?

We’ve never done stuff together, but I’ve been friends with them since we were young guys when they were in a band called Fuse. I don’t know why we never played together, but we never did.

You’ve recently held a Starzfest festival. How did that go?

That went great; it was one of the greatest weekends of all time for us. Over two days we played every song off every Starz album, and we had Bobby Messano and Orville Davis who were the guitarist and bass player on Coliseum Rock. Now that was weird as we were playing stuff from Coliseum Rock for the first time since 1980, and I was looking over at them and sounded exactly the same as back then. Bobby played really great and so did Orville. Orville actually plays guitar now and hasn’t played bass in 10 years. It was a lot of fun. The crowd were crazed and were going nuts.

Are you planning on releasing anything from this?

Yes, we’ve got a guy editing footage now for a DVD. It’s a lot of work. There was a lot of shooting done over the weekend. There were four shows; actually there were five, because there was a Hellcats set too with lots of Hardcore stuff. Hardcore was a band that featured me, Dube, and Peter Scance from the original Hellcats, so we did a set of six songs from those two bands. We also did one song off Requiem, which was “Vidi O.D.” as an encore. Dube was so wasted at that point he went backstage and was almost passing out. Steve West from Danger Danger came up and played drums on a couple of songs at the end and he did really well.

You also helped organize the New York Kiss Expo. How did you get involved with that?

Well, I didn’t help to organize it, I DID organize it! The Kiss Expo started as a fluke 20 years ago, as I had a load of Kiss memorabilia in a warehouse. I had to try to find a way to sell it, so I decided to run a convention and it was very successful. I’ve been running it every year for 20 years. I think this just seems to be something that a band like Kiss or The Beatles could do. It seems to depend on how much merchandise a band has. At the event, I have five or six bands play and most of them are non-Kiss related. I only had one Kiss tribute band on this time. My Cream tribute band, Wheels of Fire, played and I also had a band that did a tremendous Queen tribute. I also had an all girl group from Boston called Jaded who were great, and a group called ZO2 who opened up the Kiss/Poison tour over here a couple of years back. They are a trio from New York. We also had Bob Held, a producer who’d written some stuff with Kiss in the past and did lots of other stuff with bands in the 80s, so it was a lot of fun.

You’ve recently run a guitar clinic where fans joined in and rehearsed with you, then went for dinner with the band before playing with the band while being videoed. That sounds like a great day out for a Starz fan. How did it go?

We had three or four and it went so much better than I had expected. They play with me for about four hours and then we take a dinner break at a restaurant where Dube and George joined us. After dinner, we go back and perform on a sound stage rather than a rehearsal studio. It was like being in a club and someone video taped the show. Each set was videotaped and each guy got to play for about 35 minutes. They were thrilled — it was a lot of fun. The guys chose the songs to play and we covered quite a bit of stuff. I’d like to do it again sometime maybe towards the end of the year or next year.

What sort of standard would you expect the guitarists to be? Would absolute beginners be OK if they just wanted to strum along a bit?

They don’t have to be able to play at all. If they can play a little it’s fine, just so long as they can get the feeling of being in Starz.

You are also a guitar tutor, what is your best piece of advice to a beginner?

It’s a very tough thing to do, as the guitar is very hard to play. I started teaching this year. It’s difficult for someone to learn. I’ve asked all my friends who are great guitarists how long they practiced, as I used to practice 8 hours a day, and they agreed that the only way to really learn how to play is to practice many hours a day. Most of the kids and adults that I teach can only practice for an hour or so a day. If you only do 15 to 30 minutes a day, it’s very difficult to progress from that. If I show someone something, just something simple like a strumming exercise, I’ll say that to get that right you’ll have to play it over and over again for the next 5 hours. I’m not joking! People will say, “But I’ve got things to do!” I can understand that, but if you really want to play well you have to be willing put in the time. When I started, I wanted to be better than the best guitar player that ever lived, but of course players were getting better every year. There was Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, and I was listening to these guys trying to play as well as they did. When I went to see them play I’d try to focus on their hands and get up close and go “Ahh! That’s how you play that!” and I’d then go home and play for hours and hours.

Do you tend to favor your Fender Strat?

Yeah, I have two that are my favorites. There’s the white Strat that I use for the Starz stuff, and then I have a green one from 1980 and it’s all customized and has Gibson humbuckers. It’s kind of like a cross, it doesn’t sound like a Fender and doesn’t sound like a Gibson, it’s sort of in-between. I like the way the neck feels and I like the way the body feels on a Strat. I use the Gibson SG on the Cream stuff. I didn’t play any other guitar except the Gibson SG for a couple of months, because it was so uncomfortable for me, but I knew if I played the Fender I wouldn’t pick up the SG again. Now I’m comfortable with it I can go back to the Strat whenever I want.

Didn’t you play an Ibanez Iceman at some point? What do you think of those?

You know, that Ibanez Iceman is the funniest thing in the world. During our 1977 tour, I think it was, I played the Iceman for one song on stage and Fin Costello took a picture of me playing that and the photo appeared all over the place. I literally played it for one song on that whole tour when my string broke. That was a prototype Iceman with no serial number. It was the first one ever made. That one is a sunburst. A black one came out a year later as the Paul Stanley model. They are nice guitars. They are really underrated. I actually also played that on the Coliseum Rock album along with my white Strat.

What piece of music gives you most satisfaction as a guitarist to play?

Playing Starz music and playing Cream music is by far the most fun for me. As songs go, “Pull The Plug” is a lot of fun and “Crossroads” too.

How do you work out the guitar parts with Brenden? Do you share the lead, and who decides which parts to play?

On the first album, they were split about 60/40 with me playing 60%. On the second album, I played all the leads, and on the third, Brenden played a few and by the fourth me and Bobby split them 50/50. We basically played whatever felt right, and so long as you worked together with the other person, there was no stepping on each other’s feet. We did some good harmony solos, which were a lot of fun.

The excellent Starz songbook contains a treasure trove of Starz memorabilia as well as conventional sheet music … have you considered a companion book with guitar tab?

I don’t know how to write tab. Well, I can write tab, but not for complicated solos. It would be great if someone could figure it out, but you’d really need to be there with the guitarist as you’d have to know the position the guitar player played it in. There must be people out there that do that professionally, but a lot of people do it and put it onto the internet and it’s incorrect.

Were you involved in putting the book together?

I had all the sheet music and sent all the stuff to Lee who put it together and she really did a great job. She was a fan of the band and a few years back she got in touch with me and ever since then she’s done great things for us and helped us out on tour … she’s like a volunteer road manager!

What’s the story behind Joe Dube’s fridge and his memorabilia collection?

Ha! He had that for a while and when it broke down, he took a saw and cut the door off as it had all the backstage passes from over the years. His house burned down and we lost a lot of equipment, like my Marshall amps, some of Joe’s drum kits — he had five, you know — and our Starz logo was badly damaged, but his refrigerator door survived somehow! He’s now concentrating on getting his house rebuilt and getting the insurance sorted out before we can sort out the contents and our equipment.

You have written some material with Danny Peyronell for the Heavy Metal Kids album. Is this something that you’d like to do more of? Is there anyone in particular you’d like to write for?

I wrote one song with Danny, “Leaving New York” it’s called. I’d like to write a bit more, but I don’t really have the time with teaching guitar, promoting the Kiss Expo and selling Rock ‘n’ Roll memorabilia. I’m just really busy.

What do you think of the musical climate at the moment?

I think the whole Rock thing has been so dead over here for so long. The only people getting any real work in the states are the “superstars.” Alice Cooper still goes on tour, Poison and Motley Crue still tour, but everyone below that, which is everybody, is lucky to get a job teaching guitar or playing a small club every now and then. A lot of guys I know actually play at weddings; they get $400 to $500 each to do a wedding. I know Rock is more popular in Europe and Japan at the moment, but over here it’s like it doesn’t exist. It’s as if it never happened. I was reading Classic Rock magazine recently, as it had a review of Coliseum Rock, and in the back there were just pages and pages of bands playing in the UK. It was amazing! The early to mid ’90s were pretty good over here, but it went down hill after that — but the 80s were amazing.

Having recently played on stage with both Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth, how did it feel playing alongside two legendary guitarists?

Yes, I did play with them! I got up and played “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin. It was great! It was called Legends of San Antonio Rock and there were 6 groups. It was an all day event and ended at 11 P.M. We talked during the day and got up and played together that night. There was a video made of it and I haven’t seen it yet, but I’d like to! It was a good show and we all played well. Uli is such a nice guy too and we hung out together a lot. He’s a great player and does his own thing. Talk about 8 hours a day, he must practice for 12!

Did you get a chance to get a look Uli’s Sky guitar?

Get a look? I played it!! He brought it right into the dressing room. It’s a one a kind hand made guitar. It’s got that real long neck and extra frets- very cool.

The Starz back catalogue has just received a much welcomed re-release. How has the remastering affected the sound of the albums?

It sounds much better to me; the difference between the new Rykodisc version and the Metal Blade version is like night and day, they are amazing. There are new photos and 3 or 4 bonus tracks on each CD. Some of the bonus tracks have been released on the Back In The Day disc but there’s one onAttention Shoppers called “Wind”, which has never been released before. We found it just before we put out the Rykodisc version. They contacted me about the sleeve notes. At first they had their own little story and I said “I don’t know where you got that story from but there’s nothing true about it!!” I told them that I’d give them the real story and they could put out if they wanted to.

This is a good time to mention your band website, Starzcentral where you have a great selection of recordings and merchandise available?

Yeah, we’ve got all sorts of stuff available from our official albums, vintage live recordings, demos and DVD’s as well as some stuff I did with the Hellcats and Richie Ranno Group.

It’s good to see Live in Louisville finally easily available?

I remember the review in Kerrang Magazine many years ago which said it was the greatest live album of all time. There were 2500 of those made. It was a promotional live album by Capitol which contained around 10 songs. We eventually put that out on our website ( with the full show on 2 CD’s. I think Rock Candy might reissue it officially over in England.

Is there any thing else in the vaults waiting for release?

The next thing that comes out will be on Sony. It’s a live CD with 10 tracks that we recorded in Cleveland in 2004. Unfortunately, Brenden missed the gig, so it was only one guitar but we recorded it on a 24-track and there’s some real depth to it. It sounds really great. This’ll be out in September. I don’t know what it’ll do in terms of sales. It’s not like a big promotion or anything but it is part of Sony’s classic rock live catalogue.

Looking back to the early days of Starz, most of the guys were already together in Fallen Angel and you joined them later just as the name was changed to Starz. Are you the “New Kid”, the Ronnie Wood of Starz?? How did you actually get the call to join the band?

That’s right, Fallen Angel made an album for Arista or Sony, which never actually came out. There was a keyboard player in there, too. They hooked up with Aucoin Management and Sean Delaney and everything was great but they needed another guitar player and they found me, or I found them! A few weeks after I joined they got rid of the keyboard player as it was obvious we didn’t need two guitar players AND a keyboard player. We then changed the name to Starz.

They were looking for a Hard Rock guitar player. Believe it or not back in New York in 1975 there were none!! They auditioned 75 guitarists before me. It was really difficult to find Hard Rock guitarists in New York. It was different in the Midwest where there was Ted Nugent and similar types of musicians, that’s a real Hard Rock part of the country. I lived there for a while but came back to New York. I’d been in a band called Stories but it wasn’t really Hard Rock so I was looking to join more of a Hard Rock band. They wanted a Hard Rock guitarist. Brendan wasn’t really that type of player, he’s into different stuff but he can still play it pretty well. With me they were able to be a better hard rock group; I was the last piece of the band.

Michael Lee Smith is an absolute gem of a singer and deserves to be considered up there with the best of them. What did you think when you heard him sing for the first time?

I think he’s up there with the top 3 or 4 of the great rock singers of all time and he still sings great, he’s amazing.

Was it true that he was a Shakespearean actor before he was a rock singer?

I guess he dabbled in it before I knew him. He was doing it round New York City. He was pretty young when he was doing that but he had a great voice and decided to go with that instead.

What was it like working with Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas on your self titled debut?

He was wonderful, really great to work with. Jack doesn’t really arrange songs. He takes a band and makes them sound the best they can. It’s more of a sound thing with Jack. It’s not like Mutt Lange, where he takes over a band and rearranges everything. It gets to the point where it’s not really the group anymore; it’s just Mutt Lange. Starz was already a very together group by the time Jack met us. Jack took us into a great studio with a great engineer and mixed us perfectly. The sound on that first album is just absolutely amazing. On our debut album you’re listening to Starz at their best. “Pull The Plug” was a live recording on the album. There were harmony overdubs added but the actual playing of it was just one take with all four of us – the bass, drums and two guitars playing all at the same time in the studio together. I don’t think anyone does it like that these days. If you were really great it came across great.

Many bands say that the second album is a lot more difficult to make than the first. Did you find this with Violation or did you still have plenty of material ready?

We had plenty of material. We could write songs like crazy. We could just sit down in a room and within a week we could have 20 songs, no problem. If you look back on those four albums, all of the songs are really great.

Starz built their reputation by playing highly melodic pop with heavy guitars however there’s more to Starz than that. “Pull The Plug” and “Subway Terror” showed a darker side to the band. Did this variety keep things interesting for you?

We weren’t just a straight ahead Hard Rock band or a straight ahead Pop Rock band; we were a combination of both so we wanted high energy stuff and heavy stuff. You know, “Pull The Plug” is kind of like a Led Zeppelin song.

“Pull The Plug” caused a bit of controversy at the time of release?

Some of the radio stations gave us a hard time with that one, I don’t know why though.

4 albums in 4 years is pretty prolific, certainly by today’s standards. Did the record label pressurise you to produce new material? Do you wish you could have spent more time on your albums?

The record label and management did pressure us. We wanted to tour and keep promoting the album, instead of stopping, doing a new album and starting all over again. It’s not that we didn’t have the music, we had the music but we wanted to make the first album really, really big, AND THEN do another album. We probably should’ve stuck to our guns and said “We’re not doing another album until you make this album go into the Top 20”, which is where it deserved to be. They would just give up on an album after three months. Other labels didn’t do that. Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell album bombed in the first three months but his label just kept pushing it and it became a very successful album. We should have just kept pushing.

Your manager, Bill Aucoin had built his reputation managing Kiss, do you feel that maybe he didn’t pay you enough attention?

Maybe, I don’t even know. I don’t think he was as much at fault for not making us bigger than Capitol Records. I put all the blame on Capitol Records.

You got to tour with some great acts, Kiss and Aerosmith to name but two. What was it like touring with Kiss at a time when they we at or nearing their peak?

Yeah, we toured with Aerosmith all the time. We only did a few gigs with Kiss on the Destroyer tour though. It was a lot of fun though because we were friends. We did tours with Rush, Foghat and Ted Nugent and we just kept going and going. The thing was that touring wasn’t what made you big back then, it was radio play and Capitol had a difficult time getting the massive radio play that they should’ve been getting for us then. I don’t know what the reason was but maybe they were just incompetent.

You also got to play on Gene Simmons solo album which was something of a star-studded affair. Was he around while you recorded your parts?

He was around, sure. I didn’t see anyone else that was involved though. What happened was, Gene recorded the entire album and then went to England to mix it. When he came back, Sean Delaney said there was one track called “Tunnel of Love”, with guitar tracks by Jeff Baxter and Joe Perry that Gene hated so he deleted them. Gene wanted Nils Lofgren to play. Nils said, “Sure, send a limo over” and he wanted this and he wanted that and Sean said “Why are you wasting your time with him? Richie is in New York and he can come down and get your parts done in two hours!” So I did the guitar work and that’s why it says there are three guitar players on “Tunnel of Love” but in fact I’m the only one that you hear on there. They erased Jeff and Joe’s tracks but never changed the credits for some reason.

Are you still in touch with any of Kiss?

Yeah, from time to time from doing the Kiss Expo, I run into them every now and then.

By the time you released your final album Coliseum Rock and toured in support of it did you think that if this didn’t take you to the next level then nothing will?

No that’s not what happened. We did the album and thought it should be much bigger. But once again Capitol seemed incompetent to us and we asked to get out of our contract, which we managed to do. But what we didn’t realise around that time (1979) was that the labels were signing these goofy New Wave acts like the Police, Talking Heads, Joe Jackson and all that sort of stuff. I personally don’t like any of that music, but no one was signing Hard Rock acts anymore so we couldn’t get signed and that was the end. We should’ve just stayed with Capitol and they would have kept pumping albums out. Eventually, however, that stuff came back and the bands that kept their foreign stuff going like Judas Priest, AC/DC and the Scorpions were hitting big over here in 1984 and we had given up.

Looking back and knowing what you know now would you have done things differently?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I think even at the time I knew what was the right thing to do and was pushing in the right direction. It was the label that was incompetent, not us.

You and Michael went on to form the Hellcats after Starz broke up. What did the other guys do?

Dube gave up playing professionally at that point, Brendan opened a recording studio, Bobby was playing with some pretty big people at the time like Joe Lyn Turner and Michael and I hired a new bass player (Peter Scance) and drummer (Doug Madick) and formed the Hellcats.

What do you think was the difference in style between Starz and the Hellcats?

I think I played better than I ever played with on the first Hellcats album. I actually like playing when there’s no other guitar player so I can cut loose. In fact that’s what I like about our new live album as I’m playing by myself. I like playing with Brenden but it’s even more fun playing on my own because I don’t need to think about holding back for the other player, I can just play.

Why did Michael end up leaving?

He didn’t leave, we just stopped playing. A few years later Peter Scance and I wanted to put the Hellcats back together. We were still living on the East coast but we couldn’t get Michael to move back from L.A so we got another singer and drummer and tried it again but it didn’t really work out.

Was Joe Lynn Turner involved in the Hellcats at some point?

He sings back up vocals on one song on the album.

What did you do after you called it a day with the Hellcats?

I joined a band for a little while then I stopped for 2 to 3 years around 1988-89. I got back into playing again in 1992 then I stopped again in 1997. Then I did the Richie Ranno Group album and then started again in 2002.

The internet has been criticised by many musicians as harming their trade. Do you agree with that or do you think that it’s helped get your music over to people and regenerate interest in Starz?

I don’t think it’s helped. I thought it would’ve helped, but it hasn’t really. Then again, a lot of people have found out about us or rediscovered us from the internet, so I guess it has helped us a little.

What were you all up to just prior getting back together with Starz?

Dube is a landscape architect and was doing really well and he was playing a little bit with friends, which was good. We talked about playing a few shows and we thought that it would be fun so we went out in 2003 and played three shows. In 2004 we did around 10 shows and last year we did Starzfest and played out in San Francisco. This year we haven’t done any yet because we’ve been having a hard time getting an agent. I’ve booked the shows in the past but it’s pretty difficult so we thought having an agent might help.

What about new music? Do you think Starz will write new material or would you look to write something for a new project?

There’s nothing lined up with Starz at the moment. How do you get everyone together and find the money to do an album? I don’t see how that can be done.

I was talking to Frank Dimino of Angel at the NAMM musical instrument convention and we hung out together all weekend and talked about different ideas. We thought about getting together with a bass player and a drummer and doing an album. We get along really, really well and he’s a good friend of mine. I’ve got a million musical pieces sitting here and if he could write lyrics and melodies to it we could probably do well with it. But he’s in Las Vegas and I’m in New York. It’s also a time thing. He teaches voice and has two kids, and I have young kids, so it’ll be difficult. It’s not like it was in the 70s where people were saying “You guys are great!!” and putting $250,000 into a project, which was a lot of money back then. There’s nobody getting that now except 18-year-old pop stars.

Starz never came over to Europe, do you think you’ll make it over here sometime?

We’ve never played in Europe but we’d love to! I mean we’ve had a few promoters approach us but nothing became of it and if nobody is interested we can’t come over. There were a couple of couple of people looking into it pretty hard but they couldn’t come up with anything feasible. We’re ready to go and all we need is someone to cover our expenses. I’m good friends with Danger, Danger and they’ve been over three times. I keep asking them to mention us to promoters over there. They do but no one has come up with anything yet. So if you know any promoters let them know we want to come over and play! I suppose you just need to find someone who believes you’ll draw 300-500 people a night for 4 or 5 nights. We need a promoter to take that chance and why they are scared to do that I do not know.

You must be very proud of your legacy…4 great albums, high profile tours and being cited as a major influence by a host of bands?

I’m happy with the music we made but I don’t think we saw it at a level where we could have sustained success and do it for a living. We’ve had to spend the last 20 years going out and doing regular jobs but I’m not complaining and my life is great. But it just seems like we got the short end of the stick and that’s the way it turned out. I think our record label failed us and was incompetent. I thought we were better than many of the bands around at that time and some of them are still around today. It hasn’t ended up how I would have liked it but I’m not bitter or anything and I’ve had a whole life since Starz ended in the 70s. Ultimately, we made some great albums that are still being played today. I certainly didn’t make any money from it but we are all very proud of the music that we made. Anything that I do with Starz now is just for fun.

What are you planning for Starz and for yourself over the coming year?

Well there’s the Live CD coming out and I think there’ll be a 4DVD box set of the Starzfest. We are looking for an agent and we’re looking to play in England so hopefully we’ll see you over in England sometime soon!!


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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