crackintheshell2015ALIVE AND WELL with CRACK IN THE SHELL

Crack In The Shell is a power trio from Southern California whose music is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who have encountered them either at a live show or on ITunes. The collective has opened for quite a few notable bands, the latest being a sold out show supporting the one and only Loverboy! And on February 4th they’ll be back at The Canyon Club with the legendary Geoff Tate (Operation:Minecrime). Here is an interview we conducted with James McFadden (Bass/Keys) to find out more about Crack In The Shell and their latest I Am Alive EP, now available on Ajem Records!

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Crack In The Shell, and how long the band has been together.
Daniel Alan (singer/guitar) and James McFadden (Bass/Keys) started the band in 2010 as a songwriting project. Our plan was just to write music with no immediate intentions of playing live. After our first album “Harder” was released, the response was overwhelming and it left us no choice but to find a drummer to play live shows. This brings us to Jason Russo (drummer/backing vocals), who joined the project as a full member in 2011.

Where is your band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
Our band is based out of Lake Balboa in the San Fernando Valley. There is not much of a music scene in the Valley. There are some smaller clubs, like Paladinos, Universal Bar & Grill, a new club I am hearing about is Skinny’s but I have not been there.

What was your experience like opening for Loverboy at The Canyon Club recently and did you get to meet or hang out with the band at all?
Opening for Loverboy was amazing for us. This was the first show since 2011 that we went back to a three piece! Over the years we have tried using other guitar players but that did not work out because we are more of an alternative rock band and not a metal band. It was a sold out show! Usually when we open for national headliners we are busy with our own show and spending time afterwards speaking to our fans, so we really do not have time to hangout with the headliners. It is usually a “hi” at sound check or backstage but no long conversations. There has been several bands that have hung with us after a show or chatted a lot at sound check. Usually, we talk more to their road crews. Loverboy road crew loved us…..also when we opened for Queensryche (Geoff Tate) their crew loved us and told us the band loved us to. That happens more often.

iamalive1Is there any story or concept behind the I Am Alive EP title?
This album is about survival. You have “I am Alive” about coming home from fighting in a war. Emptiness, surviving the new generation of technology, Look Away, survival in the recording industry when you have a guy like Kayne West telling the music industry Hip Hop artist are the true artist.

What inspired the lyrics to your song Emptiness?
Emptiness is about everyone being attached to their cell phones, IPads, texting, on social media, etc….. losing touch with real communication and reality. We can think we know someone really well…what from just being friends on Facebook. It is a sad state that youth doesn’t communicate like we use to.

Select two other Crack In The Shell songs and what inspired the lyrics.
Harder” a song written by Daniel Alan on his personal experience of having nothing and being homeless. “After Life” (After Life CD) ~ After Life is inspired by living that is missing the loved ones who have passed, and having the tables turned of being the one passed missing the love ones that are living.

What could one expect from a live Crack In The Shell show?
A solid power trio hard rock show. Musically tight with powerful vocals. Not boring!

Any strange or scary happenings while on the road or at a Crack In The Shell show?
Prior to one of our shows Daniel Alan was involved in a major car accident at 2am on a show day. It was a near head on collision. Luckily he was not seriously injured but really shook up. We did not cancel the show. He showed up (without sleep) and pulled off a great show.

Who are some of the bands you have opened up for in the past and is there any particular show that stands out?
Gin Blossoms, Bret Michaels, Dokken, The Winery Dogs, Lou Gramm, Puddle of Mudd, Loverboy and Queensryche (Geoff Tate). The Canyon Club promoter, staff and booking agent loves the band. They offer us to open for some great bands. All the shows had something special but a surprise to us was the Lou Gramm show. We are a hard rock band when Lou Gramm (Foreigner) are more of a mainstream rock band. The fans loved us! We got a standing ovations by some new fans after our set. Our analytics numbers for streams and YouTube views shot through the roof the next day. We had numerous Facebook request and gained a new group of fans. On Ticketmaster show Reviews, we got outstanding reviews from fans! It was pretty surprising and amazing experience.

If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Me (James McFadden) it would be RUSH , Foo Fighters, Queensryche (original band with DeGarmo) or Paul McCarthy. Daniel and Jason might have a few others they would add to this list.

What’s up next for Crack In The Shell?
We are waiting for a confirmation of opening up for Geoff Tate (Operation Mindcrime) on 2/4/16 at The Canyon Club, this should be a great show. We played with them before. They loved us …….and i hear that he might be playing Operation Mindcrime album…but that is a rumor.

Any messages for those reading this interview right now who should go and check your music out?
We have three albums on ITunes, Spotify, etc.. We are streaming globally. our Albums 1) Harder (2010) 2) After Life (2014) and 3) I Am Alive (2015) Our website ~ – as well as YouTube , twitter, instagram, etc.

Be sure to check out singer / guitarist Daniel Alan’s answers exclusively in the Highwire Daze 25th Anniversary Print Issue, out December 7th!

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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