Guitarist Mike Orlando may be the least well-known of Adrenaline Mob‘s famed contingent, but his guitar speaks as loudly and powerfully as Russell Allen’s vocals, Mike Portnoy’s drums or John Moyer’s bass. The heart and pulsing energy of Heavy metal is and always will be all about the almighty riff, and Orlando a fretboard wizard. This week Metalholic spoke with Orlando about Adrenaline Mob‘s new EP, “Coverta” which releases March 12: The same day the band embarks on the first day of its newest North American tour in support of the band’s debut beast, “Omerta". Orlando talked about choosing the songs for the EP, channeling the guitar Gods of his youth, and he updated us on his other band, Tred.
How did you guys pick the songs?
“We just put our minds together and picked a slamming collection of classic tunes. Stuff that inspired us back when and still does now. It still kicks ass, you know; Badlands, Dio, The Doors, Van Halen, Heart, Rainbow, Zeppelin, Sabbath. It’s a really cool mix. You know, Mike [Portnoy] threw a bunch out initially and then we put our own input in. “Highwire” was a no brainer. Me and Russell Allen had been performing that with my Sonic Stomp band. You know I would have him come up and close the show with my instrumental band since maybe 2007. Jake E. Lee being one of my favorite guitar players of all time and Russell–one of his idols is Ray Gillen. ‘Stand Up & Shout” had been in the Adrenaline Mob set since day one. ‘Break On Through’, I’m a huge Doors fan. Grew up with them from a little lad and I still listen to them. I always wanted to do a slamming version of that. ‘The Lemon Song’ was Russ. he has a really big Led Zeppelin influence and he does Plant– I can’t believe it. That’s one thing that’s great about ‘Coverta‘, we get to put on different hats. I can kind of get into the Jake E. Lee. I can get into Blackmore. Or I can get into E.V.H. All these cools things, and it’s great to take on a different persona. I think everyone on this album did a stellar job at it.”
How did you put yourself in the place of these great guitarists; Page, Blackmore, Van Halen, Lee, Campbell, Iommi, and make each song your own but still pay homage to them?
“Being that these are such iconic songs you do not mess with greatness. I tried to basically stay true to form and really pay attention to paying tribute to each song, but give it a little bit of my own bag of tricks here or there. But being respectful to the song. ‘Kill The King’ for instance. I went right for my Fender scalloped, Yngwie Malmsteen signature strat into the crank Marshall. E.V.H., I put my white and black Charvel around my neck and I plugged into the Phase 90 into a Marshall, and you get into that head. It’s just something that’s easy for me to do cause I’ve grown up with all these songs. It’s such a blast to do a keyboard solo from Ray Manzerak and The Doors, and I did it on guitar. Stuff like that’s really cool because you just gotta think like a keyboard player. (laughs) I had a ball doing Iommi, and paying tribute to one of the greatest guitar layers of all time, Eddie Van Halen. King Edward, what can I say? I hope I did a great job at it.”
All these guys play different guitar types. Did you switch up a lot?
“Without a doubt. I have like 50 guitars and I definitely pulled in the Les Paul for the Zeppelin stuff. I switched it up for all the different songs just to try and get a different vibe here and there. Again, we’re staying true to our sound too. If the song came across a little heavier than normal, that’s just us. That’s just Adrenaline Mob. That’s just how we turn the dial up a little. This is just us having a good time on these songs. It was such a blast and an honor.”
A couple of years ago you were working on a new band. Tell us about that and anything else you’ve got going on.
“I do have a new band called Tred. And the members who would be one of my dearest friends, A.J. Pero on drums from Twisted Sister. Who is an absolute monster. And I can’t wait for people to hear him really tearing it up in a pretty damn heavy band. And the legendary Rudy Sarzo–one of my favorite musicians and people in general, of all time. The guy’s just great. You talk about the elite, I mean Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Whitesnake, Dio… And he’s just an amazing player. Tred is in between a little and a lot heavier than Adrenaline Mob. You know there’s some Slipknot aspects to it, but still song-oriented, grooving, tribal, funky. Rudy’s just ripping it, and A.J. is on fire. We have a new singer we’re going to announce soon. The whole album is recorded musically: 12, 13 tracks are pretty done and we’re trying to finish all the vocals. And I’ll also hopefully be working on a Sonic Stomp III album, soon as I can get the time to sneak myself into the studio again.”
Editor’s Note: Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens was originally the slated vocalist for Tred.
Listen to the full interview with Mile Orlando below for more in-depth details about “Coverta“, Tred, and all things Adrenaline Mob. Also check out our review of “Coverta".
Music is the universal language: Speak it loudly!
Rustyn Rose is a veteran music journalist who owns and operates Metalholic Magazine and Metalholic Radio.