New Album: Reckless Abandon
with Song River
Kenny Dubman reaches back to that 70’s rock sound and brings it forward to today. Formerly in the band, Prophet, he now blends the styles of Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deep Purple with hints of Queen, Montrose, and Rush. A dynamic blend of rock and southern tales to tell with his ever faithful love… his guitar.
Song River: This album, “Reckless Abandon” is really a guitar album, isn’t it?
Kenny Dubman: Actually, I wouldn’t consider it a guitar album. I think it’s a song album; the guitar works around the songs rather than the other way around. Which is a totally new way of writing for me. Most guitar players from my era come up with a riff they like first, then construct a song around it; it’s kinda coded in our guitarist DNA to do that, haha! That’s what I always did. But these songs were all written on acoustic guitar, so it was chord changes and melodies first. Which is really a better way, it results in more substance.
Song River: Is this an album written in a wistful memorial to the 70’s guitar sounds?
Kenny Dubman: Wistful? As in I long for those days? Haha, that’s awesome, love it! No, not at all. These ideas just came out, there was no planned style or pre-meditated agenda. It was just a cosmic flow. As Tony Joe White says….songs that are written not for the purpose of being hits, but rather are written just to let them out of your soul, they are handed down to us. We’re simply the conduit that channels them. I totally believe that, because that’s exactly how it feels when a keeper song idea comes out.
Song River: Many times songwriters are asked, “Where do the stories come from?” How do you answer that?
Kenny Dubman: Well, they can come from personal experience for sure. Got a few of them on “Reckless”. They can come from history, as “Brother Against Brother” and “Little Venom” do. But I think the coolest ones are the flat-out fictional tales the just pop into my head out of nowhere. “Devil’s Brew”, “Son Of A Colt .45″….then there’s “Sunset Serenade”, which is perhaps the darkest tale on the album. It’s the charming little yarn of a death row inmate reflecting on the murders he committed while awaiting execution by lethal injection. Wow, WTF is wrong with me, haha! They say Steven King is a pretty normal dude, so I guess I shouldn’t worry.
Song River: We live in such an age where life, in general, is almost a veritable candy store of options. With the advent of electronic becoming more and more popular in creating music, do you feel that the ‘three chords’ and heart of the blues will always be?
Kenny Dubman: The gadgetry will never take the place of pure creativity, it can’t possibly. Different writers in different musical genres have different methods, some lean more on gadgets. But for me, it’ll always be a guitar and a notepad. So yes, I do believe they will always be.
Song River: Is this album a bit of your own life story Ken?
Kenny Dubman: Hmmm….recent snapshots rather than life story. “Memphis” is kind of a musical comeback anthem, while “Wolf At a The Door” and “After The Bomb Fell” tell the story of a long, difficult dark part of my life from which I emerged and started writing this record. “Ghost On The Wind” is about chasing the ever-elusive “right girl”….which I don’t do anymore. I came to really, really love being single. I’ve got all the emotional roller coaster riding I can handle courtesy of my nine-year-old daughter, and that’ll get a lot worse before it gets better!
Song River: Channeling some of the greats listed were Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Deep Purple to name a few… first what connection is it you feel to these sounds as they resonate from your own being to your guitar?
Kenny Dubman: I’m deeply connected to 70’s rock/hard rock because I grew up on it. My brothers and friends and I were absolute animals for music and live shows; we’d take the bus to NYC to see shows at Madison Square Garden when we were 14, 15 years old. My mom would take us to Ticketron in the mall to buy concert tickets, then drive us to shows in the station wagon…The Capitol Theatre in Passaic (NJ), The Beacon, Palladium, Felt Forum (NYC)….it was full-on in my household. Most other kids in school were listening to top 40, but in my house was Purple, UFO, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Sabbath, Stones, Floyd, Queen, Black Oak Arkansas, Rush, Hendrix, Yes, Genesis, Skynyrd, Outlaws, Frampton, Kiss…it goes on and on. So yeah, when I pick up a guitar, all that energy and influence from when I was a kid immediately gets tapped.
Song River: Second, how important is it do you think that the new generations of guitar players go back and really hear the roots of rock?
Kenny Dubman: Ah, whether they do or not, it really doesn’t matter to me. But what I see is that some of them do, and with those players, it’s obvious. You can hear it in their playing, and that’s awesome. Then there are others that you hear where it’s totally evident that there’s none of the roots influence. And that’s the stuff that I really can’t listen to. No feel.
Song River: Would it be safe the sound of “Reckless Abandon” is country blues rock?
Kenny Dubman: Mmmm….I wouldn’t say that’s an accurate description. There’s only the slightest hint of country on a track or two, and though blues is at the root of much of the music I love, “Reckless” isn’t a bluesy record. If I had to sum it up, I’d call it rootsy, organic American hard rock.
Song River: Talk to us a bit about the tracks on this album. Their heart/soul and a directive to your own experiences and observations.
Song River: New Jersey certainly is known for some very homegrown musicians. What is it about NJ?
Kenny Dubman: I think it’s the pollutants in the air and water…what didn’t kill us made us stronger, haha! Just kidding of course. It’s probably just a numbers game, it’s a very densely populated state.
Song River: Is it ever too late in your estimation Ken to make music and share it with those who are inclined to partake?
Kenny Dubman: I could be the quintessential example of it never being too late. I put “Reckless” out at the age of 53, after being away from writing for close to 25 years. And I’m more psyched about it now than I ever was back then! So in short, the answer to that question is