JACK, CHIP, RUBEN
What are you currently up
to? (recording, gigs, plans)
Jack Marques: Currently,
I'm mixing a record for a talented group of players called China Blue with Josh
Ramos, Tony Mills and Eric Ragno. There are some good songs and great
performances on this record. You all should check it out! It is soon to be
released on Frontiers as well.
I'm also writing and
recording my first solo effort. It was something I was working on even before
the days of Mars Hill. I kept putting it on the back burner to record the Mars
Hill record and to also finish the Action record.
I'm hoping to finish it by
this spring and have Vining Management shop it around. Tim Gaines formerly of
Stryper has played bass on 2 songs and I'm hoping to lock down one or two more
guests if our schedules allow. Check out www.jackmarques.com for updates.
Chip: WRITING, PLAYING
LIVE ALL THE TIME. TRYING TO GET ALL THE ARRAIGNMENTS READY FOR ACTION II. WE
START RECORDING BASIC RHYTHM TRACKS IN FEBRUARY.
Ruben DeMello: I have a music production company called "Galactic Vibe Music".
We do soundtracks, film scoring and keyboard overdubs. So I've been busy with
that when not busy with the Action project. You can check out my page at
Ron Vining: Chris
Sutherland (Bass) and Mark Duane (Drums) are currently working with Chip on
Action II. Chris Longo (Drums) is working with his other band Project Broken
which recently released their debut titled Songs of Disbelief and will be
working with Action when he's finished.
I am working with
Frontiers to see that this Action record gets the exposure it deserves
throughout Europe. Then it is on to the promoting the record in Asia and later
this year in the USA. I would like to put Action on a tour package as well so
the European and Asian fans can get a little action this summer. So if any of
your readers are interested, please have them get in touch with us.
We have recording starting
for Action II in February. This record will be more of the same, but very
different. I think the fans will love it. I am also managing a band, WickedWitch,
comprised of Zak Stevens of Circle II Cirlce and Savatage fame, along with Jeff
Plate of TSO, Metal Church and Savatage and founder Matt Leff who is also in
Adam Bomb and Trigger Effect. They'll be finished recording in February and with
all the firepower, I am hoping to get interest from some of the major labels.
Jack and I are working
together on another all-star band I manage, China Blue, which will be released
on Frontiers Records in 2008. This is a real treat for me as I've been a huge
fan of Josh Ramos going back to The Storm, Two Fires, Hardline.
Not to mention of Eric
Ragno as well, whose keys can be found on just about every major melodic rock
release of the past decade going back to the legendary Takara with Jeff Scott
Lastly, Action has renewed
a great interest in Mars Hill's recordings which were released independently, so
I may shop both Sink or Swim and Prelude with bonus tracks in the coming months.
Brief history of the band
and how you all met etc.
Jack Marques: Chip was the
catalyst for getting Action together. When he and I were in Mars Hill we decided
to get some of our other material and put it together with a bunch of tunes he
had written and that we recorded at an earlier time. After shopping it around
there was some label interest and Chip recruited the guys to complete the
Chip: CHRIS SUTHERLAND AND
I MET YEARS AGO WHEN HE WAS AT BERKLEY SCHOOL OF MUSIC. I TOLD HIM THAT I NEEDED
A BASS PLAYER AND THE REST IS HISTORY.
JACK AND RUBEN, I MET IN
THE LOCAL, ORIGINAL SCENE. ALWAYS ADMIRED THEM BOTH, WE KEPT IN TOUCH AND
FINALLY GOT THE CHANCE TO WORK WITH THEM.
CHRIS LONGO AND I WERE IN
A BRIEF COVER BAND TOGETHER A COUPLE YEARS BACK, WE KEPT IN TOUCH AND HE WAS
THERE WHEN I NEEDED HIM FOR ACTION.
Ruben DeMello: All of us
came up playing in different bands in the local scene. That's how we all
originally met and got to know each other. Chip and Chris Sutherland (Bass) were
2 of the original founding members of Action back in the 80's.
Jack and I had been in
bands together and Mark Duane (Drums) and Chris Longo (Drums) had been in bands
with Chip. When Chip decided to resurrect Action, he chose the line-up that you
hear on this album.
Ron Vining: I first met
Chip at Mars Hill's record release party for Sink or Swim. I then kept in
contact with Ruben's wife who was booking the band as I wanted to pair Mars Hill
up with a band I was managing at the time, MASS.
From there, I started
doing promotion and media stuff for them and was later asked to manage them.
They were a solid band and it was too bad I came in too late as they had pretty
much decided to disband as I was getting started.
Chip and I remained in
contact and he just called me out of the blue one day and asked if I remember
the Action demos he had given me years ago. I was like, remember them, I listen
to them all the time. We got to talking and the rest is history.
How did Action hook-up
Jack Marques: When we were
recording the Mars Hill record, Michael Sweet of Stryper had heard some of the
other material we had written and recommended we send it to Frontiers. Serafino
Perugino, the President & C.E.O. / A & R Director of Frontiers showed some
interest in the project but the timing wasn't right as Chip and I were pursuing
However, truthfully, we
blew it! We lost the deal. After some time passed post Mars Hill, Ron Vining of
Vining Management and Chip talked and they thought it was time to revisit the
Action material. He worked on our behalf to secure the deal.
It wouldn't have happened
if not for him. Not only was he the one who secured the deal for us, he managed
the whole thing, recording, mastering, CD packaging, MySpace, etc...
Chip: WHILE RECORDING MARS
HILL, I WENT OUT AND BOUGHT THE LATEST GIANT CD ,WHEN I BROUGHT IT BACK FROM OUR
RECORDING BREAK SHOWED IT TO MICHAEL SWEET AND HE MENTIONED THAT WE SHOULD SHOP
OUR MATERIAL TO THEM. I DID AND SERAFINO LIKED IT. BUT UNFORTUNATELY THE TIMING
WAS OFF FOR US TO GET IT DONE AS WE WERE SO INVOLVED WITH MARS HILL, OUR
FAMILIES AND WORK.
Ruben DeMello: Chip had
several tunes from the old Action days that he wanted to shop to record labels.
That's when he contacted Ron at Vining Management who was instrumental in
securing the Action / Frontiers partnership.
Ron Vining: When Chip and
I talked about Action, he asked if I could get things going for them. At that
time, the interest Frontiers had shown in them while recording the Mars Hill
record years before was long gone. I repackaged the demos, sent out a few
feelers to labels and got a number of great offers. But what I wanted was to be
on Frontiers. So I reached out to Serafino Perugino and he was gracious enough
to give the band a second listen and they picked us up immediately.
Could you take us
though the songs on your excellent debut album please e.g. ideas behind the
songs, song writing process etc?
Jack Marques: It was
essentially recorded in two parts. We had recorded 6 tunes before the Mars Hill
era and then 5 after. Once we knew there was label interest we got together and
wrote a few new tunes to complete the record. We wrote songs like Destiny,
Forever and Someday. I had written Cinderella and thought it would be a good fit
for the record. Half the record was done at an earlier time the other half was
recorded over the summer of last year.
Chip: A LOT OF THEM WERE
WRITTEN A WHILE AGO, SOME IN THE 80'S SOME IN THE 90'S - SO MY MEMORY WON'T GO
BACK THAT FAR, LOL. BUT THE NEW ONES, WRITTEN JUST LAST YEAR WERE A BLAST TO
WRITE FROM SCRATCH WITH THESE GUYS. BASICALLY WE JUST GET THE MUSIC OVER TO JACK
AND HE FINISHES IT WITH THE MAGIC TOUCH AND THEN BAM!!! YOU HAVE A GREAT SONG
Ruben DeMello: The 3 tracks on the album that I was involved in writing were
Someday, Destiny and Forever. Chip had a few rough ideas for new songs for the
album. That's when Chris, Chris, Chip and I got together to work out the ideas
that Chip had and turn them into songs.
Then from there, we
presented the songs to Jack who wrote the lyrics and melodies. It was great to
have the opportunity to contribute to some of the song writing process on this
Ron Vining: Jack and Chip
did a track by track which is posted on ActionTheBand.com if you really want the
history behind each track.
What have been the live
highlights so far for the band and who ideally would you like to tour with &
Jack Marques: I would love
to tour with Journey, The Police or the Foo Fighters, because I greatly respect
these guys as players and writers!
Chip: THE HIGHLIGHTS ARE
MAKING MUSIC WITH THESE GUYS, WATCHING SONGS COME TOGETHER, AND THEN RECORDING
I HAVE TOO MANY PEOPLE I WOULD LOVE TO TOUR WITH, BUT RIGHT NOW...I'D SAY
AEROSMITH, OR VAN HALEN. OLD SCHOOLERS STILL DOING IT. IT WOULD BE FUN TO PLAY
WITH WINGER, MR. BIG, TESLA, JOURNEY - A LONG LIST.
Ruben DeMello: I know that
our manager, Ron Vining, would love for us to open for Alter Bridge as it is one
of his favourite live acts today. I think it would be great to do a tour with
U2. It's been said that you don't see a U2 show, you experience it. A U2 show is
more than just a rock show, it's like a spiritual experience. That's the kind of
experience I want people to feel when coming to an Action show.
Ron Vining: We were going
to open for Jeff Scott Soto during his US tour in October but the timing just
wasn't right as we were getting the final details squared away for the December
release of the debut record. Chip and I ended up bringing JSS out to New England
anyway. I'd love to see them on a package that tours Europe and Asia this summer
and fall. It would be cool to do some shows with Def Leppard, Alter Bridge,
Poison, Winger, Journey, Tony Harnell, Valentine, Hardline, Foreigner;
Ten…notice that I am listing bands I am fans of!
Who have been influences
on the band musically?
Jack Marques: Journey,
Giant, TNT, Def Leppard and so many more.......
Chip: ANOTHER LONG LIST IF
I SAT DOWN TO WRITE IT. SO MANY. LET'S SEE VAN HALEN, JOURNEY, MR. BIG, WINGER,
TNT, SCORPIONS, RATT AND ON AND ON…
Ruben DeMello: The thing
about Action is that our musical influences are so diverse. My influences range
from the Beatles to U2 to Stevie Wonder to Bach to Jimmy Smith to….the Wiggles
(I have 2 kids!). I think for this album some of the influences that have come
through in the music have been bands like Journey and Boston.
How do you view the
internet and downloads etc. Does it help bands like yourself get established?
Jack Marques: One great
thing about the internet is that a struggling artist can get their material to
many more people (and quicker mind you,) than they could ever meet in person. It
also allows you to get your music out to those who may be interested, even if
you don't have a label to back you.
The one danger about
downloading is that I believe it hurts up and coming artist's chances of
securing a much needed break in the music business. Let me explain, I don't have
a problem with someone downloading one song or even two for free.
However, when people are
getting entire albums, every song on an album for free, what happens is that
artist sells fewer records. When you don't sell records, you don't secure a
record deal or worse.... a career! So the end result is that the artists you
like and the struggling up and coming artists, get passed on because the record
companies aren't making the kind of money they need to take chances on current
and newer artists!
Many people think that
because you are on a label that you're making big money and that very often is
not the case! You make many financial sacrifices as a struggling artist to try
and make it. You very often can't even pay the bills as your starting out.
When people download music for free they are making it even more difficult for
new artists to make it or for some to maintain a career. When you get music for
free, you're not sticking it to the labels, your really sticking it to the
artists! Buying the music of an artist who you love allows that artist to stay
alive and keep making music. Well that's my take on it anyway!
Chip: SEE JACK'S
COMMENT...I SECOND THAT!!! IT'S A BLESSING AND A CURSE ALL IN ONE. BOTTOM LINE,
WE NEED MORE MONEY SO DON'T DOWNLOAD THIS RECORD JUST BUY IT PLEASE!!!! I NEED
ANOTHER GUITAR TO WRITE THE SECOND RECORD.
Ruben DeMello: I think the
record industry as a whole is in a state of transition. The old business model
and methods of getting music out to the masses has changed. Modern technology
certainly has allowed a lot more music to be accessible by a lot more people,
which I think is a good thing.
If you really think about
it, it has been technology through the years that has made music more and more
accessible to people, the inventions of radio, the phonograph record. So I think
what's been happening lately is not anything new. It certainly has opened up
more opportunities for bands like Action.
Ron Vining: On one hand, I
view the internet, MySpace, iTunes, downloads as a great tool to create
awareness of new bands as well as grant greater access to established ones.
However, I also see it bleeding the industry to a slow death of a million paper
cuts. Some fans want music for free and ,most artists can't simply survive by
giving their music away.
When the whole Metallica
vs. Napster flap occurred, many mistakenly saw it as the greedy rock stars
looking to squeeze every nickel out of their fans. In Metallica's case, they
were an established band who made it, made millions from their label touring,
etc. But Metallica is the exception, not the rule. For a band like Action or
China Blue, the deals are small, basically not even enough to cover the costs of
all the work that is involved. If fans cherry pick songs on iTunes or make
pirated copies of the CDs, then the guys make no money, period.
In the Radiohead case,
they made more money by putting the album up on their site for free and giving
fans the option to donate what the felt they should. Radiohead made 3x more than
if they had taken an advance from a label and distributed it in stores.
Even if the band didn't
make money via the donations, they would have made up for it with a world tour
and merchandise. Can a band like Action or China Blue survive if they followed
the Radiohead model? Certainly not new comers like Action. China Blue might have
made out ok on the name of Tony Mills, Josh or some of the other players, but
not to the extent of an established act like Radiohead.
If I can't land
WickedWitch, which will be produced by the Goo Goo Dolls' Paul David Hager a
major deal, we may give the Radiohead model a try. But it is really risky.
I've seen the Record, 8-Track, Cassette, CD and Mp3 in my short time. The modern
delivery systems are just awesome. I fear that the Mp3 takes away the connection
that a fan has when the hold the artists' product in their hand, read the liner
notes, follow along with the lyrics while listening, etc…It is something that I
still enjoy today and hope that won't be lost with this great, new technology.
Music shouldn't be about
money. And for most artists it is not. The artists create music cause they love
to, and because they love the interaction with the fans. However, at the end of
the day, they have mortgages, wives and children to support. Let's not forget
their manager either, lol.
Any good rock 'n' roll
tales to tell?
Jack Marques: It was great
to work with Michael Sweet of Stryper on both the Mars Hill and Action records.
He was always one of my hero's and it was a joy working with him and Stryper and
doing some tour dates together. If that wasn't cool enough, when he asked me to
sing some backups on the Stryper record, I had to pinch myself! Talk about
dreams coming true!
Chip: NOT REALLY, I'M
BORING ACTUALLY...BUT IF YOU BUY THE RECORD I CAN TOUR AND THEN COME UP WITH
SOME. THEN I CAN GO BACK INTO THE STUDIO. THEN MAYBE I CAN COME UP WITH SOME
GOOD TALES. ACTUALLY DID YOU HEAR THE TALE OF A BAND ACTION THAT SOLD A MILLION
COPIES OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM? YOU DIDN'T? ME NEITHER, SO PLEASE START BUYING NOW.
Ruben DeMello: One of the
more "glamorous" moments was when we were doing the photo shoot for the album.
One of the locations we were at was an old military fort of some kind. There was
a really cool spot in there for some shots of the band.
While we're standing there
trying to look all cool there was water (I think) dripping on top of us from
somewhere up above. It was kind of funny because we had to stand there and look
all tough and cool while inside we're all like 'get us outta here'! Talk about
Ron Vining: Things that
happen on tour buses, backstage and in the studio stay there. LOL, Actually as
Chip said, it is pretty quite. I've got some tales from other bands that I could
share, but the Action guys are all good family guys so the only tales are in
good natured, practical jokes and the camaraderie of hanging out with some great
The best moment for me was
when Frontiers sent us some promos of the Action debut. What a treat to hold it
in my hands and thumb through it and put the disc in my player. The guys did
such a great job!
Where would the band like
to be in a year's time?
Jack Marques: Still making
Chip: A YEAR FROM NOW.
BACK IN THE STUDIO WORKING ON ACTION 3, WAXING THE NEW CORVETTE, AND STRINGING
UP MORE GUITARS WITH THE MONEY WE MADE BECAUSE YOU BOUGHT A GREAT ALBUM AND
DIDN'T DOWNLOAD IT. HONESTLY, WE'D LIKE TO HAVE ACTION II RELEASED, HAVE BEEN ON
A TOUR OF EUROPE AND ASIA AND THEN STARTED WORKING ON ACTION III.
Ruben DeMello: We'd like
to have the word out about Action to a worldwide audience. We're also hoping to
have the second album wrapped up and ready to go!
Ron Vining: One year from
today, I'd hope that Action will have done their tour to support the debut in
both Asia and Europe, be ready to release their follow-up and have the third
just about in the can. I'd like to see us do a full US tour with a national act.
Message for your fans...
Jack Marques: I want to
thank all the Action fans who bought the record for their support. I really hope
you enjoy the music. To the fans that have carried over from the Mars Hill days,
thanks to you as well! You all are the ones who let us know we aren't crazy and
keep the guitars in our hands instead of hanging on the wall!! We need you and
love you all. God bless you guys!!!
Chip: WHETHER YOU DOWNLOAD IT, BURN IT, BUY IT, PLEASE ENJOY THIS RECORD...THIS
IS WHAT WE DO ALL OF THIS FOR. THE GOAL IS TO BRING GOOD MUSIC TO YOU, THE FANS,
PLEASE ENJOY IT.
Ruben DeMello: We want to
express our deepest thanks everyone for your support and for buying the Action
CD! It means a lot to us. It's a good feeling when someone is able to connect
with what you are trying to express and communicate through music.
Ron Vining: Like a lawyer,
I am just the manager, so I don't have any…lol. That is until the guys need
Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.
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