Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Digging. An interview with Chuck Wright of Heaven & Earth.

Heaven & Earth uptop PhotoHeaven & Earth are band of musicians on a mission. Their goal? Creating music that is fresh, but presented in a classic rock setting. So many love the era of the 70’s, but no one is really feeding the fans of that style with new music. Enter Heaven & Earth. Comprised of some of the best musicians from the last 40 years, the band has created a new album titled Dig. It’s being released on April 23rd by Quarto Valley Records.

Listen to the entire Chuck Wright from Heaven & Earth interview below:
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Today, I’m welcoming Chuck Wright to the Unsung Melody family. Chuck is the bassist of Heaven & Earth. First off Chuck, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today.

I’m happy to do it man. I’m really excited about this new album. It’s a great band effort where the guys all got together and worked up material as a band, which seems kind of rare nowadays. Most people just fly in their parts on the computer or whatever, but we actually wrote the songs together in a room and recorded everything as a band. It has that feel and when you listen to it, you can kind of feel that. Our goal is to get music back to the 70’s, where rock and roll was real. That’s kind of our mission statement.

You guys have such a distinctive classic style, but I feel you’ve taken it to another level on this album. Do you think that comes from the band being together for awhile now, or was the time you had to work on the songs, or was it Dave Jenkins?

Realistically, this is a brand new album, because it’s a brand new band. For instance, the first Heaven & Earth record was basically a Stuart Smith solo record. He had tons of guests on it, including me. I’m from a list of bands. I’m in Quiet Riot. I’ve played with Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and all these different people, but he brought in all these different people. He brought in Glenn Hughes, Carmine Appice, Richie Sambora…just a whole list of really great talent to play on that record. Then over the years, as he did the project this year, he wanted it to be a band project. The reality is that this band, as a band, has never even performed live, which we are about to do in April. We’re going to have our debut performance. We’ve obviously played a lot together as a band in rehearsals and working up material. Basically, it’s a fresh new thing. It’s not an old band that’s putting out a new album 10 years later or whatever. This is a fresh new band that just happened to have the name Heaven & Earth.

The album name is Dig. Is there meaning behind that for the band?

If you see the album cover, which was designed by Glen Wexler, who’s known for his work with like Van Halen, ZZ Top, Whitesnake, and Black Sabbath, and all these people. Basically, it’s this gigantic alien spaceship Stratocaster, Fender Stratocaster being pulled out of the ground. Which basically Dig represents rock and roll that’s been buried away for far too long and we’re trying to bring it back to where things were, real rock and roll. So, that was the symbolism of the album cover.

Was the concept from within the band or was the idea Glen Wexler’s?

We sat down with Glen Wexler and we conceptualized a bunch of ideas and that’s the one that stuck, because it really represents what we’re about, what we are trying to do. We’re trying to forge the way to get things back to the way they were. I hate to say it, but away from the Justin Beiber’s and that kind of thing. (laughter)

I see a lot kids these days wearing AC/DC t-shirts and Zeppelin and Iron Maiden. They love the music, but they are not getting any of that kind of music fresh and new. They always have to go to old back catalogs. So, we’re trying to get it started back up again.

There are a few guest spots on this record as well. Tell us a little bit about those.

We do. It’s not a focus of course, it’s a band effort. We brought in David Paich from Toto, who did some string arrangements for us. Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) is a very good friend of Stuart’s. On one of our songs, called Man and Machine, we had him do his signature talkbox, slide guitar and his rhythm on that track was just screaming great. Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers Band) came in doing some really nice acoustic work with us. Again though, it’s a band effort. It’s not a guest all-star album type thing.

No Money, No Love is the first single off the record. You also have a video coming up for that song. Give us a little insight into how that song came together and why you chose to lead off the album with it.

Yeah, that’s right. We are very lucky to have a record company behind us. It’s called Quarto Valley Records. The main guy there Bruce, he totally believes in our mission and is backing it all the way. We actually got to do a video, like what I was doing in the 80’s. Where it’s like real…it’s like making a movie. This is a very, very interesting video. We’re going to have two versions of it. An R-rated version and a safer version.

There’s live performance of the band of course, but there’s a narrative that takes place in a Victorian Bordello that’s kind of like The Shining. Behind each door, there is something really strange going on. The guy sneaks into it and he’s trying to find this girl. He doesn’t have the money to get in there, so he’s just trying to find her. Hence, No Money No Love.

Now Glen is also producing some of the videos for you guys as well.

Yeah. The plan is, there are two characters, the guy and the girl, who are always trying to find each other through time. Every time one of them finds the other, something happens. One of them disappears, or crumbles to dust, or some kind of odd occurrence happens. Our next single is I Don’t Know What Love Is. It’s a ballad and it basically features them in more of a renaissance period. Same two people which meet up on the streets in modern times too.

Any release date on those yet?

The No Money No Love video is about to be released. We have an EPK out right now that you can see on Youtube. We’re all talking about making the record and there’s little snippets of the video in it and footage of us playing and in the studio making the record. Richie Sambora’s in there playing slide and it’s a pretty cool little EPK. Then the video is going to drop really soon. It’s just now going out to all the different places that need to get it.

We’re planning a big event for the album release party. Mid-April, around April 10th at the Fonda Theater here in Los Angeles, which is a beautiful turn of the century venue. My favorite venue in Los Angeles and it kind of has the same look as our video. So, we picked that as our launching place for Heaven & Earth live.

Are there tour dates in the works as well?

Part of the reason that we’re doing this is we’re going to get in front of a bunch of key agents to see us live. We’ve been in discussions about some different tours that are going on and getting out on those tours, but we need to lock in an agent right now. That’s our next step and to do that, you’ve got to really show them that you can bring the goods live. Which we do, but we have to show them.

Alright, I always end on a random question. It’s a bit of a tradition around here now. So, I’ll go easy on ya today. You’ve traveled the world over with Quiet Riot and other projects, so I thought I’d ask; What was the most miserable gig you’ve ever played. Whether it was too cold or too hot or too crowded, what gig stands out as an all-around bad experience?

Well the most recent one that I can think of happened last year. We were flying to, I think it’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin. To get there, we had to stop in Chicago to get the plane to take us to this out of the way in upstate Wisconsin and our flight was cancelled.

So, we had a choice. We could stay at the airport, sleep on the floor and take the flight the next morning, or get a hotel and take the flight home the next morning and just not do the gig, or we could rent a van and drive eight hours. Do the show, turn around and drive eight hours back to make our flight out. That’s what we chose to do.

Luckily we had a tech that was with us that was willing to make the drive. We drove eight hours in a downpour. We got to the gig 15 minutes before we were supposed to go onstage. It was a big outdoor event, but it was thundering and there was rain. The rain was coming in on the stage, but we just forged ahead. Which is always the bands motto…is no matter what, we’re going to go kick ass.

So, we did the show, turned around and drove all the way back to Chicago. (laughter) It was pretty miserable as far as getting there. The show was in the rain and it was just insane. So yeah, that one stands out to me.

That’s rock and roll for you.

Yeah, the show must go on. Right?

Absolutely. Well Chuck, I appreciate you very much for taking the time to speak with us today. The site and myself wish you and the band nothing but the best and hopefully we can get caught up at a show sometime soon.

Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

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Check out the EPK from Heaven & Earth below: