Music Recall Magazine recently had the chance to chat with Jimmy Waldo (New England, Alcatrazz, Blackthorne) about all of his projects – past, present and future. And make sure you check out the Blackthorne records “Afterlife” and “Don’t Kill The Thrill” wherever music is sold!
MRM: Where are you “calling” us from today?
Waldo: Chicago, I have lived hear for about 2 years now.
MRM: How have you been holding up during these crazy times?
Waldo: Super busy actually, worked on and finished the Alcatrazz V record, as well as another project/album with some great guitar players, Joe Satriani, Bumblefoot, Paul Gilbert and 8 more great players, just finished that last week.
MRM: Where did you grow up?
Waldo: West Virginia mostly.
MRM: How did you start in the music business?
Waldo: I played clubs in high school, then at 18 moved to Boston and started doing lots of recording and making my first real album on RCA in 1975, so that’s when I really got into the business.
MRM: Could you speak about your time in the band New England?
Waldo: New England really started working on songs and rehearsing about 1976, we got Bill Aucoin (KISS) as manager in 1978, from then on it was make records and tour constantly, I really loved those years, and always loved the guys in the band, so it was a great time in my career.
MRM: How was it working with Paul Stanley and touring with KISS?
Waldo: Paul was really great to work with, he brought a real no bullshit, lets rock attitude to the production, other producers wanted to change the band and put their stamp on the record, Paul loved the band the way it was, and didn’t want to change it, just polish and tighten it up, he had great ideas. Touring with KISS was a blast, they treated us great on the road, and their audiences really received us well.
MRM: How was Alcatrazz formed?
Waldo: Gary Shea and myself were living in LA, were contacted by Manager Andy Truman, who wanted us to put a band together with Graham Bonnet as the singer, not a solo project, so we jumped in, wrote songs, auditioned guitar players and drummers, found Yngwie and Jan Uvena. We did the first album pretty quickly, then hit the road.
MRM: How was it working with the legendary Eddie Kramer?
Waldo: It was great, Eddie kicked our ass, worked like a demon in the studio, was great with arrangements and performances, not mention an amazing engineer and mixer. We had a great time, and Eddie and I became great friends, and still are.
MRM: How did you all end up recruiting guitar gods Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai?
Waldo: We were auditioning guitar players in the beginning for Alcatrazz, someone mentioned this new guy in town Yngwie Malmsteen, so we brought him down, played for an hour, and that was it, we knew he was the right guy. When Yngwie left the band, I started making calls to find a new guy, I spoke with a friend David Rosenthal, who was playing in Rainbow at the time, he said just call this number and this would be the guy, it was Steve Vai’s number, we talked and he was into it, got together and played and we knew he was the guy.
MRM: I first heard “God Blessed Radio” in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Do you remember letting them license that song?
Waldo: Steve Vai actually did that, I was happy when I heard about it.
MRM: What is Alcatrazz up to these days?
Waldo: We have a new album coming out Oct 15th, ALCATRAZZ “V”, then we will tour the UK in November.
MRM: How was Blackthorne formed?
Waldo: I met Bob Kulick in 1978 in New York, we hit it off and talked about putting a band together, we both ended up moving to LA at different times, we got together to write some songs and decided to do a band.
MRM: And what led to Blackthorne’s disbanding?
Waldo: We were set to do a second record on Polydor in Japan, when Graham left the band, so Bob and I decided to change the name and get another singer and call the band Murderers Row.
MRM: What can you tell us about the reissue of the “Afterlife” album and the previously unreleased “Don’t Kill The Thrill” album?
Waldo: There were a lot of people who didn’t get “Afterlife “ the first time around, and had all the masters and demos in my garage for “Dont Kill the Thrill” which I really wanted to put out also, so we decided to put them together in one package.
MRM: Thanks for the interview! Anything else you would like to add?
Waldo: Thank you for the interview!!! I hope everyone enjoys the new release, I’m very proud of the music.