AUG 8th 2016

‘Guitarcore’ greats LoNero have issued their 3rd effort ‘The Defiant Machine’ which is a tour-de force of guitar wizardry. LoNero tackles an ongoing theme of war throughout [the album] which  is seamlessly linked together by a combination of brilliant use of sound bites and presidential speech excerpts. LoNero founder [lead guitarist] Bill Lonero took time to catch up with Metal Titans to talk about the new album. First what is ‘guitarcore?’ Lonero explains, “We were on our way to rehearsal and I said we have to come up with a word that describes what we do and doesn’t give people the illusion that we’re a ‘shred’ band. And ‘guitarcore’ was thrown out there. I said that’s perfect! We’ve used it ever since.” Bill Lonero knows people yet he’s not used those connections to further his career. He prefers to ‘make it’ based on his own merit and that simply endearing in the music business. “For me the value as a friend is much more valuable than the value of a ‘connection.’ I met Joe [Satriani] about 10 years ago. I was online and looked up JoeSatriani.Com and JoeStariani.Net and they were available! I bought them both [for like $8.99 each]. I called Neil [Zlozwoer] and I said Neil I just bought these domains! He said “why?!” I said because they were available! He said “well that a good reason then.” The rock & roll photographer contacted Satriani who [Bill] Lonero wanted to speak with about giving him the newly acquired domains. “So Joe calls me up and we talk for about 30 minutes and the topic of the domains comes up. Joe said “Listen, my accountant isn’t around at the moment but please let me know how much you’d like for the domain names?” I said nothing I just want to give them to you. Joe said “Seriously? The guy that owned them previously wanted like $25,000.00 a piece.” Bill and Joe struck up a friendship and have been friends since. “I don’t like to use friendships to further my career. I’ve seen that burn bridges with people that have done that and for me the friendship is simply too valuable to do that.”

Metal Titans:‘The Defiant Machine’ has a war theme to it throughout. What inspired the album? And how long has it been in the works?

Bill Lonero: The core inspiration for the album came from the USS Hornet CVS-12 aircraft carrier in Alameda, CA. I'm a volunteer on her and every time I go there I'm amazed at her history and the efforts to keep her together. She was the ship that recovered the first men to walk on the moon [Apollo 11] as well as Apollo 12. She's been in 3 major wars [WW2, Vietnam and Korean] and she was never hit by a bomb, torpedo or Kamikaze. I used to think what a defiant machine she was. I had done some photo shoots on board and it got me thinking that it would be great to do an album based around her but also around the concept of war and how war is the ‘ultimate defiant machine.’ I always say, it doesn't matter how many people protest or how many laws are passed, there will be and always has been war. Humans are just destructive and violent creatures. Once I had the concept we went about naming the songs and finding the right presidential speeches to help everything flow.

Metal Titans: How long was this album in the making? Did things fall into place quickly, where there any barriers?

Bill Lonero: Initially I had 24 songs. I really liked those songs but they were too akin to the last album. I didn’t want to do a similar album.I wrote was ‘Defiant” which was my first time writing on keyboards, programming all the drums, it was my first time laying out the whole song from start to finnish.  

I really liked how that turned out. It was more progressive. I liked that direction so I threw away the 24 songs and started from scratch. The next song I wrote was going by the working title “the Machine” which turned into “The Defiant Machine.” So with those two songs in place I knew what direction we wanted the album to go and then it was next song and next song and so on and so forth.

We didn’t know when this album would be release. We did a couple tours with Tony [MacAlpine] and we pushed it back a few times because of that. Technically, we started work on the album 4 years ago. We thought 6-9 months we’ll have a new record. My father died, then my dog died and a close friend died...truly this album has been so ‘defiant’ itself.

We had problems with the orginal mix and the original mastering so we got a new mix guy and a new mastering guy. I’ve never had an album that has put me through so much hell, but this album has shown a new side of us that our previous album didn’t. I’m proud that every single record we’ve recorded is different from the next.

Metal Titans: LoNero is an all instrumental act. Why not get a singer and become a conventional band?

Bill Lonero: You answered your own question [laughs]. We don't want to be conventional. There are a million conventional bands out there all doing the same thing. All dressing the same. All writing about the same topics. All talking about how different they are but they mostly aren't. For us, we like the fact that most of the time when we play a show, we are the only instrumental band. That usually helps us stand out a little more. Music is about expression and to me, instrumental is the purest form of expression. We like to leave it up to the listener to interpret our songs which ever way means the most to them. That's the beauty of music. But when you have vocals, there really isn't most of the time, any other way to interpret the song other than what the singer intended.

When I first started this band we were called Abstract. I used to work in a CD shop, he and I would close the shop at 10:00 PM. He would come over and set up the drums and we’d rehearse. We’d set up right in the middle of the shop. The plan was to write some songs and then get a singer. We couldn’t find a singer! So finally we tried the instrument thing to see what would become of it.

Later on when it came to deciding on a band name, I was opposed to going by Bill Lonero because that works for Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or Yngwie Malmsteen but it doesn't work for me. So Lonero was suggested I reluctantly went with that. I capitalized the ‘n’ just to separate it from my last name.

Getting back to the question when we play with these bands we stand out because we are the band with no singer. I think it allows for people to get in their own headspace, there are no lyrics so the person in the audience can make the song whatever they want it to be about.  

Metal Titans: LoNero has landed some choice opening slots with Tony MacAlpine and Pat Travers. How did you land these high profile gigs?

Bill Lonero: We were invited. We've never bought onto a tour or a show. We've been very fortunate that the artists that we've toured with liked our music enough to ask us to tour with them. I've been a huge fan of Tony MacAlpine's since I was a kid. His melodies are amazing and his phrasing reminds of Frank Sinatra's vocal phrasing. Watching him live every night was a treat because I would see the way he would dance around the beat with his phrasing and that's something Sinatra always did. It's very unique and not many guitarists can pull that off. Plus we share a birthday which is awesome in my book.

Metal Titans: What’s your first musical memory?

Bill Lonero: Listening to Elvis with my neighbor in her bedroom. I was 5 and we would go in her room and play Elvis. That was what made me want to be a musician. It was Angus Young that made me want to play guitar. He still is my favorite guitarist and Elvis is still my favorite singer [2nd being Sinatra].

Metal Titans: If you were had a choice to score the music for a film what film would it be and why?

Bill Lonero: ‘Boondock Saints.’ I love that movie and I think it would be great to score for a film like that. Lots of high energy and conflicts. When I found out that Sean Patrick Flanery was "Powder" I couldn't believe it. I had to google both and compare photos! [laughs]

Metal Titans: Obviously, this music is made to be heard in the live setting. You’ve toured across the United States in the past. How quickly do you plan on going out and doing some live promotion for ‘The Defiant Machine?’

Bill Lonero: Yeah, we’re in talks with Tony’s [MacAlpine’s] management about touring with him again. We were looking at October [2016] but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen now. We were hoping to do a West Coast tour where we’d play Portland [Oregon], Seattle [Washington], Las Vegas [Nevada] and California, but I don’t think that is going to happen. Tony has some other commitments in Europe that will keep him busy from November through December [2016].

I think right now as it stands, we probably won’t do any touring behind the album until January or February [2017].

Metal Titans: Bill have you ever played in a cover band? Earlier you mentioned that Abstract played original material.

Bill Lonero: I had a friend who had a Black Sabbath tribute band and didn’t have a guitarist at the time. He called me up one day and ask “Would you be willing to do a show with us?” I’m not a huge Black Sabbath fan but I learned the songs and did the gig. That’s the only time that I played someone else’s music. The way I see it is that If I’m going to put energy into music I might as well put it into my music.

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