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Shaw Blades Shaw Blades

'Influencing The Future By Way of The Past'

What happens with two of today's most successful classic rockers join forces to create an album of songs that have been a source of inspiration for their respective multi-Platinum careers?

The result is INFLUENCE, the sophomore album by Shaw Blades - led by Styx/Damn Yankees guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw and Night Ranger/Damn Yankees bassist/vocalist Jack Blades. The self-produced album was mixed by Noel Golden (Matchbox Twenty, Willie Nelson) and Great White keyboardist/guitarist Michael Lardie.

INFLUENCE is the duo's first album since their recently re-released 1995 debut, HALLUCINATION. Like the debut - and unlike their history-carving decades as icons in the more hard-rock minded Styx, Night Ranger and Damn Yankees - the latest release is rooted in acoustic guitar and organic production, harvesting a decade of musical influences into 11 tracks (on which Blades and Shaw played all the music except for drums and the occasional keyboards).

With classics from the '60s and '70s including the Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin'," Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" and Steely Dan's "Dirty Work," INFLUENCE offers a track-by-track chronology of the musical era that helped define modern rock.

Taking it from the top and why has it taken 12 years for this musical partnership of Shaw Blades to once again release a CD? Was there seriously just not enough time in-between for the both of you to even get close to reviving such a project? JACK BLADES - "We began this project as a labor of love...we just wanted to have fun recording songs that we loved. When it was finished we were going to call it something else but then thought we could call it Shaw/Blades cause we did have a record out back in the ‘90s."

Your new album title 'Influence' is an obvious choice given the deep collection of covers found, but perhaps its actual origins; its reason for creation stems from a more personal standpoint for you both? "We just love to record and make music. It was easier for us in a way because we didn't have to write all the songs for the new CD. It's also nice that all the songs are hits."

How did you go about deciding which songs would be straight out faithful tributes ('Sound of Silence') and which would be given a modern rock transfusion, as in 'I Am a Rock'? "We sat down and played the songs and did what the songs dictated. Some felt right remaining faithful and some we changed."

And for those readers that (mysteriously) don't know either of you, although you have both been in huge bands before (and collectively in Damn Yankees), will bands such as Styx, Night Ranger, and even the aforementioned Damn Yankees ever record new material together again sometime soon? "Let's hope so. We want to do a Shaw/Blades CD with all new material and there is always the Yanks."

Known as one of the most prolific duos in the history of hard rock, you both have sold more than 50 million albums amongst the three noted bands! So, at what point does the phrase 'classic rockers' start to become a tagline that leaves a burn mark on your once-young rocker souls?! "I love it. I also love the fact that we continue to work and piss off the critics. Makes me feel good."

Jack, please tell us more about your time spent in Night Ranger and what being in that band has done for your career and personal well-being thus far? Has it always been wine and roses, sweetness and light along life's musical highway?! "Life is full of ups and downs. I think you don't appreciate the ups if you have not experienced the downs. Having said that, it has been and continues to be a wonderful ride. I would not want to be anybody else."

OK, so at what point did you sign off on allowing Tommy's name to be the first in the naming of this group?! "I lost the coin toss!"

Please tell us more (in a quick fashion, if you wish!) about how these newly-recorded album tracks influenced you personally throughout your life:

'Summer Breeze' - "High school summer love."

'Your Move' - "Musical evolution, for me."

'Sound of Silence' - "Sheer beauty."

'I Am A Rock' - "Hope in a hopeless world."

OK, time for some fun Qs ...........!

Within the confines of Shaw Blades you get to create - for want of a better term - a couple of alter-egos. So, please tell us more about each of your alter-egos, what their quirks are and if they were (individually) to be found busting out an old '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song in a back street karaoke bar, which one(s) would it/they be?! "'Living La Vida Loca,' ... oh that wasn't ‘80s, hmmmm....!"

OK, so some celebrity hairdresser to the stars offers you both a large sum of to-be-donated-to-a-charity-of-your-choice money to have your hair cut ... still trendy, but definitely way shorter! Do you both do it, publicly and proud or is the hair at just a perfect growth point rate now where that decision would have to be made later in life?! "Looks are skin deep...doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, it is what is on the inside that counts. Having said that, forget it, I ain't cuttin’ my hair!"

Lastly, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "Love the Penguins, hated the movie.....!"

If you would like to win a SIGNED copy of 'Influence' on CD, just answer this easy question: One of the most prolific duos in the history of hard rock, Shaw and Blades have sold more than 50 million albums amongst their three bands, scored 12 Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, ... and debuted how many albums in the Billboard Top 200?!

Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new SIGNED CDs. Just send us an e:mail here with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: SHAW BLADES SIGNED CD to:

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