Derek Sherinian is unquestionably one of the most significant keyboard players of the modern era. His far ranging talents have been much in evidence through the music of Alice Cooper, Dream Theater, Black Country Communion and current band Sons Of Apollo. Sherinian has also released a series of acclaimed solo albums over the last two decades. The latest of these is 'The Phoenix', his first since 2011's 'Oceana'. For this album, he once again works alongside collaborator and mentor Simon Phillips, who is a crucial part of the process.
Also appearing on the album are Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Kiko Loureiro, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, Billy Sheehan, Tony Franklin, Jimmy Johnson. Sherinian is very proud of what 'The Phoenix' represents, especially in its joyous sense of diversity. ‘'The Phoenix' once again represents my ability to not only be a musical chameleon, but my ability to blend my signature style with the top guitarists in the world, of many genres.’ This Standard CD Jewelcase format replaces the sold-out Ltd. CD Digipak edition.
Derek is unquestionably one of the most significant keyboard players of the modern era. His far ranging talents have been much in evidence through the music of Alice Cooper (who once called him “The Caligula of keyboards”), Dream Theater, Black Country Communion and current band Sons Of Apollo. Moreover, proving just how much he is demand to work with rock royalty, Sherinian has also toured and recorded extensively with KISS, and Billy Idol. With such an unrivalled pedigree is it any wonder that no less a luminary than David Coverdale once praised him as being “Like the son of Jon Lord... it's breathtaking!” Sherinian has also released a series of acclaimed solo albums over the last two decades. The latest of these is 'The Phoenix', his first since 2011's 'Oceana'.
“Why such a long delay? With people downloading your music for free, the record advances dwindled to a point where it didn't make sense. I focused my creative energy in other areas. But then I got inspired to start working on a new album, so I called Simon Phillips, who has been my collaborator and mentor on these records for so long. He was open, so I then got a label deal with InsideOut, and off we went.” To Sherinian, iconic drummer Phillips has been a crucial part of the entire process, as he was on five of his previous albums. “It is always an amazing experience to be able to work with Simon. He's been a hero of mine for ages, ever since I heard him playing on albums with Jeff Beck ('There & Back', 1980) and Michael Schenker ('The Michael Schenker Group', 1980).
And he is such an invaluable part of the way this new record has come out. We wrote most of the material here and co-produced the record. Simon has mixed it as well. Oh, and he plays the drums of course.” Phillips is unstinting in his praise for Sherinian: “When Derek asked me to collaborate on this album, I immediately said 'Yes'! We have a wonderful writing chemistry, always have had, and it was a joy to work on these new tunes. I feel he brings out the best from me in terms of composition, playing and engineering. The partnership just works!” There are a number of top line guests featured here, as has been the case in the past for Sherinian, on both guitar and bass. Some have become regular contributors to his solo sessions. People such as bassists Tony Franklin (“He's been on all my albums to date”), Jimmy Johnson and Billy Sheehan (Sherinian's bandmate in Sons Of Apollo).
Plus guitarists Joe Bonamassa and Zakk Wylde. In addition, others are welcomed into the fold for the first time. For instance, there's master guitarist Steve Vai. “Steve Vai has always been on my hit list. But it was when I played keyboards on the Generation Axe tour of Asia in 2017 that I asked him to play on my record, which he gladly accepted” Also present are Sons Of Apollo bandmate Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal (Sons Of Apollo) and Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth). “Kiko and I have known one another for about 20 years. But this is the first time I've had the opportunity to play with him.”
The album was recorded at different locations, including Sherinian's home studio in Los Angeles and Phillips' own set up (Phantom Recordings) in California. “I went to Zakk's studio (The Black Vatican) to get his brilliance recorded. In addition, Kiko is in Finland, so did his parts over there. And Billy recorded in New York.” There are eight tracks here, one of which is a cover version that resonates with Sherinian's own past. Release-Date: September 18 th, 2020 “We did the Buddy Miles' song 'Them Changes' from 1970, which has Joe Bonamassa singing; it's the only track on 'The Phoenix' with vocals. For me, that was very special because I got my first professional break playing with Buddy, and being able to do this again was fantastic.
Joe and Simon loved it as well, because they are also big fans of his. Each guitarist was given the freedom to express themselves in the studio. “Simon and I had worked out the melody lines for each of the songs in advance. But we encouraged all of the guys to do their thing on their solos. Everyone was chosen for their specific song, and everyone really shined. I am so blessed to continue to collaborate with such talented musicians.” The longest track here is 'Pesadelo', which weighs in at eight minutes in length. “I co-wrote that with Kiko; the title is Portuguese and translates as 'nightmare'. There are also three tracks with 'Bumblefoot' and bassist Jimmy Johnson” The album title itself came as a direct result of a post Sherinian put on his Facebook page, as he outlines. “Time was running out and the label were pressing me to come up with the album title. So, I posted on Facebook asking for people to send in suggestions. I got hundreds of responses, and went through them all. There was one that stood out, namely 'The Phoenix', which immediately struck me as perfect in so many ways. Ironically, this came from a friend of mine. As soon as I saw this I knew that not only did it carry the right message for what is on the album, but also lends itself to the creation of great cover artwork as well.” Sherinian is very proud of what 'The Phoenix' represents, especially in its joyous sense of diversity. “'The Phoenix' once again represents my ability to not only be a musical chameleon, but my ability to blend my signature style with the top guitarists in the world, of many genres. “I also feel so blessed to have Simon alongside me as my partner. He is so meticulous in everything he does, and is the embodiment of musical excellence. He has played a valuable part in the way it has all turned out.” Phillips is equally enthused with his role here. “Derek has a unique, distinctive sound and playing style; it’s a pleasure to be part of his solo career.”
'The Phoenix' is not an album that should be compared to what Sherinian has done previously. He has impressively masterminded a series of tracks, with input from many high profile musicians who seamlessly fit into a mosaic spotlighting Sherinian's abiding love for insightful and perceptive music. “I am very satisfied with the result of this album.What we have done is develop something which will stand the test of time.” Malcolm Dome London, May 2020