Former Megadeth Guitarist Mike Albert Interviewed
Band Photo: Mike Albert Project (?)
Former Megadeth lead guitarist Mike Albert, who replaced Chris Poland during the 1985 "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good" US tour, has released a new album called “Afterlife” with his new group, the Mike Albert Project. This LP is being played on over fifty radio stations nation wide. Metal Underground had a chance to interview Mike about the new release and his experiences with Megadeth.
Valerie: Tell me about the forming of the Mike Albert Project?
Mike: It took six years to come up with the right line up for the sound I was looking for. I had to have a great lead singer that could write. I finally selected Richard Schroeder after several auditions because he fit in quickly with vocals and writing style that was a crucial element to the band.
Valerie: Describe the band's sound.
Mike: It has elements of heavy metal, hard rock and everything in between. After working with Dave Mustaine in Megadeth, it was hard to escape that genre.
Valerie: How did you select the band name?
Mike: After being a side man for many years I decided to write my own material with my own name. I was tired of other people getting all the credit. I did have a band with Gar Samuelson the original Megadeth drummer called "Metalist" which never materialized. This band is an extension of that group.
Valerie: What is your reaction to the new lp being played on over 50 radio stations?
Mike: We are elated to know that people like and listen to our music, it helps us to determine what areas we want to tour. I've been on the radio many times with previous bands, but having your own music heard, well there's just no comparison!
Valerie: Why did you decide to become involved with the indie label Big Deal Records?
Mike: A long time friend Joanne Ledesma became the Label Manager in January 2009. She was looking to sign a good act to follow up their 2005 Grammy with Motorhead on a Metallica tribute album that Big Deal had released. She knew I had two offers from major labels but convinced me that I'd be better off with an indie label because I'd have more hands on with the business side of things so I signed with Big Deal in March 2009.
Valerie: Did you have input with the selection of the tracks on the LP?
Mike: Yes, after careful consideration of many songs, I came up with the final track listing.
Valerie: Why is it called “Afterlife?”
Mike: I’ve been in the business for many years and this is a reinvention of my latest endeavors. "Afterlife" is the title track about a relationship gone bad, it sounds more appropriate than saying "go to hell."
Valerie: What is your favorite track on the LP?
Mike: It depends on what mood I'm in. For example, when I'm in an aggressive mood I like "Afterlife" because it's in your face metal. I listen to "Why do you always say goodbye" to mellow me out; its a bit calmer.
Valerie: Which songs from the myspace page are on the LP?
Mike: They all made it to the LP but I suggest you buy the CD because they are only short clips of the actual songs.
Valerie: Are you the writer of most of the songs?
Mike: I came up with all the music and all the lyrical hooks. Richard Schroeder comes up with most of the verses and bridges, he’s really good at it.
Valerie: Describe your writing process.
Mike: It always starts with the licks and melodic content first and then the lyrics.
Valerie: Are the songs based on personal experiences?
Mike: Yes, some are based on personal relationships with women like "Why do you always say goodbye"and other songs are based on my own insanities which are too many to mention but you get the idea when you hear "Dr. Death" or "Stalker."
Valerie: Can you tell me about your time with Megadeth and the influence on you and your bands sound?
Mike: I'm great-full for being part of their history, I did not know about this metal genre till I met Dave Mustaine and joined the band. I had toured with other bands before Megadeth, but was never exposed to this metal explosion and I had never seen an audience respond so wild before. I am definitely influenced by Dave Mustaine and his style to this day. I think Dave is a genius!
Valerie: What was the best and worst experience touring with Megadeth?
Mike: The best was playing all the sold out concerts! The most difficult was when we didn't get tour support while on the road, sometimes they didn't pay us on time and we were stuck in motel rooms eating hot dogs. All in all it was a "hell of a ride," literally and figuratively!
Valerie: Will you be performing outside of CA soon?
Mike: We are ready to tour, just negotiating with the best booking agents to get us out there.
Valerie: How did you become involved with the Mark Flores Music Foundation?
Mike: I found out about the foundation through his uncle. He was a young man who played more than 19 instruments but died in a tragic car accident. The foundation was set up to raise money for music in schools, how could I turn that down?
Valerie: Was the fundraiser a success?
Mike: Yes, not only did we help to raise money for the foundation, but we gained new fans from all the local high school kids that attended.
Valerie: Are there plans to help out with other fundraisers?
Mike: We always consider fundraisers particularly when they affect music in schools. I feel that "what goes around comes around."
Valerie: Does the band support any other causes?
Mike: We are currently looking into helping out with the FENDER Museum in Corona California. They have this program where they give 6 months free lessons to kids ages 7-17.
Valerie: How did you become interested in playing guitar? At what age did the interest spark?
Mike: It started at age 9 when I saw the first acoustic guitar up close at my aunt’s house. I picked it up and never put it down. I think it only had three strings on it. It didn't matter to me, I just kept on playing.
Valerie: Did you take lessons?
Mike: I did have a few short lessons but I mostly played by ear.
Valerie: What goals do you have for the group?
Mike: To be as successful as my previous groups. Failure is not an option.
Valerie: Are you working on a new LP?
Mike: Yes, we will be in pre-production soon and all the songs are ready to go. We have enough material for at least two more albums.
Valerie: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Mike: I would like to recognize my band consisting of Jon Escobedo on bass who has been there since the beginning. Angel Lujan on drums, Ruben Martinez on rhythm guitar, and lead vocalist Richard Schroeder. The album "Afterlife" is available on itunes, rhapsody, amazon.com and FYE retail stores. Please visit www.myspace.com/mikealbertproject, send us an email and stay up to date with the band!
Thanks Valerie for the interview!
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