Amazing Memories With November Rain

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What is it about tribute bands? Does the passion of reliving our tween years really play a part in their success? Memories of times where life was simpler and worries were far. Times when friends were everything, school was the hardest thing we knew, and music was our escape… our life.

There are plenty of bands out there paying tributes to the bands of the past. Solely dedicating sets or songs to just reliving the music. Covering songs that are melodic to our memories and bring us back in time. A band that brought me back in time with their seamless rendition of tributes was the Guns N’ Roses Tribute band November Rain. Their dedication to the recreation of their tribute has been finely and delicately crafted to reproduce the same feeling! I wondered if Guns N’ Roses was just more near and dear to me but I would have to question “Who isn’t it?” The glamour rock days were full of plenty die-hard rockers. Some kicked ass while others had a great head of hair they could toss around and mean it. But none of them brought the core element that Guns N Roses brought…. The passion and conviction they had for making it or breaking it was felt by their audiences everywhere! The weeping sound of Axels’ vocals backed by Slashs’ Les Paul cannot be forgotten. The swaying dance moves, the famous hat, the bandanas, and the infamous CBGB tee… need I say more? We all know it. 

A few months ago I went out like any other Saturday night and was totally blown away!  Not    by one thing but a group of elements put together that was a mere enactment of a sweet memory of mine. It was the night I witnessed the ultimate show of November Rain, the Guns N Roses tribute. They not only rocked it to the tee but everything was perfected. The lights, the costumes, the smooth dance moves, were idiosyncratic to all the band members of Guns N Roses! It truly brought me back in time!

November Rain was recently asked to play at the House Of Blues for a Guns N Roses induction to the Hall of Fame. Not only is this a great accomplishment but proof that these musicians are finally being noticed for their hard work and dedication.

http://youtu.be/gDIMGRXfEkU

It is with great thanks and excitement that I am able to bring them up close and personal to you in another interview series of The H Note. These great musicians who entertain the hell out of us are:

BA= BRIAN ANDERSEN, Vocals 
JG= JERRY G, Lead Guitarist
SG= STEVE GERRAPUTA, Bass Guitar/Background Vocals
TM= TIM MARTIN, Drums
JH = JOEY HANKO, Rhythm Guitar/Background Vocals

Before I begin I have to add that most of the times when I speak behind the scene with bands there is usually one “mastermind” behind the music and lyrics. This time around it seemed when I asked the question “How did November Rain begin?”  all of the bands members replied the same, “Let Jerry tell this story since he is the creator” So here you have it, straight from Jerry the November Rain creator and inspiration to everyone reliving their GNR memories:

JG= Guns N’ Roses joins the ranks of many rock bands that “simply vanished” at the pinnacle of their careers, such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and so many more. November Rain began with the thought of filling the huge vacuum that still remains years after GNR’s breakup. With no GNR tribute bands on the East Coast, in late 2004, Jerry contacted drummer George Giordano, (Original Drummer) the one man he knew could bring the power, energy and muscle to anchor this project. When the call for bass players went out, George quickly recruited Steve Gerraputa to help him recreate the powerful rhythm section that is at the heart of GNR. After an exhaustive 6 month search, Brian Andersen walked into the audition studio and easily handled the role of lead vocals. Kevin Bryan, rhythm guitar and backing vocals, was the last piece of the puzzle.November Rain has been rockin’ to sold out shows ever since!!!

THE H NOTE= WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
BA= Oceanside, NY
JG= Queens, NY
SG= Oceanside, NY
TM= Massapequa, NY
JH=Oyster Bay, NY (then L.A., Ca. Denver , Co. the list goes on)

WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU KNEW YOU HAD TO BE A ROCKSTAR?
BA= I could see at a young age who was getting all the hot girls
JG= When I was about 10 years old I saw my friend play drums (he had been playing since he was 5) and I was blown away. I asked for a guitar for Christmas so that he and I could start a band.  As soon as I played my first note I knew this was what I wanted to do.  To this day, I still get that feeling as soon as I put my hands on a guitar.
SG= When I was five.  I saw the Partridge family and the Monkees on TV.
TM= When I was 10 and sat down behind the drums
JH= I’ll go with Steve on this, Mike Nesmith was an idol when I was young. My mom reminds me I wore a ski cap all the time when I was about 5 or 6.  Funny thing is I became friends with his son while in my 20’s and got to speak to Mike. I never told his son that his dad was an idol.

YOU ALL HAVE A NICE MUSICAL RESUME, WAS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU EVER WANTED TO BE?
BA= As a kid I wanted to be a stuntman… spent a lot of time in the ER
JG= Comedian
SG= Maybe a baseball player when I was a kid.
TM= A hockey player in the NHL
JH= Supreme Chancellor of Earth?

IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE GNR LYRIC THAT DEFINES WHY YOU ROCK OUT IN THIS TRIBUTE BAND WHAT WOULD IT BE?
BA= “aint looking for nothing but a good time“  Oh wait wrong band…
JG= “You can taste the bright lights but you won’t get there for free”
SG= “Rags to riches or so they say Ya gotta-keep pushin’ for the fortune and fame”
TM= “Welcome to the jungle”
JH= ”I’ve seen everything imaginable pass before these eyes, I’ve had everything that’s tangible honey you’d be surprised”

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WAY MUSIC HAS CHANGED IN THE PAST TEN YEARS WHAT WOULD IT BE?
BA= Electronic music….fuck…kids just don’t see instruments being played anymore
JG= Today anyone with a computer, a basement and very little talent can create a really good demo.  This has resulted in the market being flooded by “artists”.  The talent pool is diluted and the talented people are being overlooked or they just give up.
SG= I’d have to say let’s just go back to the 80’s…make it 20 years.  The big thing has to be the MP3 player/IPOD…that was a game changer.
TM= Get rid of American Idol.  It has killed the industry
JH= Seems like less album oriented than ever. More artists just pumping out a hit or two (or even 10) but the rock bands… hmm.. no one seems to be stepping up right now.

WHO ARE YOUR MUSICAL HEROES OUTSIDE OF GNR?
BA= Always a huge DIO fan, than have to go with Coverdale
JG= Van halen, stevie ray Vaughan, jeff beck, steve vai, santana
SG= As far as Bass player go, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, John Wetton..as far as bands, Led Zep, Floyd, Beatles, ELO, Foreigner, Van Halen..the list goes on…
TM= John Bonham, Neil Peart,  Alex Van Halen, Buddy Rich, Louie Belsom, Gene Crupa…..There are too many to list
JH= Keith Richards, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Randy Rhoads, George Harrison, there’s so many.

WHAT IS THE MAIN FACTOR THAT DRIVES YOU TO SUCCEED WITH NOVEMBER RAIN?
BA= I love to see the looks on some peoples faces when we come out dressed like the GNR line-up, you can tell their skeptical, than we start to play and draw them right in, and their the ones at the end of the night thanking us for a wild ride.
JG= All the B.S., dealing with the bar owners, agents, the wanna be’s, the traveling, (we’ve traveled up 20 hours to play one 2 hour show) the packing and unpacking of all our gear is all worth the time on stage with the guys in this band.
SG= Being on stage doing what I love.  Being able to tribute one of the best rock bands of our time plus the people who come out to see us.  Seeing them having such a great time rocking out like back in the day.
TM= = As being a guy who spent some time on the west coast and knew some of the guys from Guns.  Its great to pay tribute to such a great band and some great guys.
JH= I couldn’t have asked for a better well known member of a band to play. Izzy is all about me, the rhythm guy, and I get to rock out and hold down the music while Jerry and Brian get to do their thing. I lock in real well with Tim and Steve.

WHAT GIG ON LONG ISLAND WAS YOUR FAVORITE YET? WHY?
JG= Same as Steve.
SG= There were 2…the first we played with Ron “Bumblefoot” of GNR.  He was hanging out where we were playing and he jumped up with us and played 3 songs.  The second would have to be the show we just did because we got to play with Dizzy Reed of GNR.
TM= That would have to be the show where we got to play with Dizzy Reed of GNR.
JH= Definitely with Dizzy. It was a short set, but so much fun to play with a member of GnR

IF YOU HAD ONE DREAM CONCERT TO PLAY WHAT WOULD THE WHO, WHAT, WHYS, AND WHERE’S OF IT BE?
BA= Well being a tribute band, I’d have to say anytime we play with an original GNR member who, respects what we are doing, and give us kudos on the talent, it feels pretty amazing.
JG= Madison square garden with November Rain
SG= The Beatles anywhere!!!  They changed music forever.
TM= Madison Square Garden,  With KISS,  They put on a Rock N Roll show every night.  It would be a thrill to be on that stage with all those bombs going off.
JH= Apple Roof top with John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Bill Preston.  Hmmm… or MSG with the Stones in 1969 (Gimme Shelter) or even GnR at the Ritz ’88.

WHAT PLAYLIST GETS THE MOST MILEAGE ON YOUR IPOD?
JG= Van halen, stevie ray Vaughan, jeff beck, steve vai, santana
SG= Shuffle All… haaaaa
TM= They all do.  I am very diversified in Music.
JH=  Gotta be GnR still. I’m the newest member of the band so I still listen to the songs a lot to make sure they are ingrained in my head.

IF YOU HAD ONE NIGHT WITH A PRIVATE JET WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
BA= Las Vegas… LOVE THAT PLACE!
JG= Carnival, South America
SG= That’s tough. So many places I’ve never been…I’d have to say Italy.
TM= Italy
JH= Paris

WHEN YOU ARE NOT RUNNING AROUND SETTING UP YOUR STAGES, WHAT DO YOU DO TO HAVE FUN?
BA= Family time… never seems to be enough.
JG= BSing and joking around with the guys in the band.  This is our time, away from the stresses of life and the responsibilities of work and family.  For that time we suspend reality and go back to a time when we had no responsibilities, no mortgage and no pressures.  For me, it keeps me balanced and allows me to let loose and recapture a really good/different time in my life
SG= Hanging out with my wife Christine,watching the Yankees, going to the movies, and when she’s home, hanging out with my daughter(she’s in college now).
TM= Ride my Harley
JH= Full contact MMA.

IF YOU COULD BURN ALL THE COPIES OF SOMETHING YOU DID IN YOUR MUSICAL CAREER WHAT WOULD IT BE?
BA= I’m not really ashamed of anything I’ve done…it all holds great memories for me.
JG= Nothing.  All of those demos show my growth and maturation as a person and a musician.  Most of it is really bad but it was a part of my musical life and interesting to see where I was and where I am.
SG= Nothing I can think of…I love all of my old work, good or bad.
TM= Some of the cheese ball stuff I did in the 80s
JH= I don’t think it legal to burn people. Is it? Really,  I’ve done a lot of bands, a lot of different music, I wouldn’t burn any of it. Maybe less proud of some than others, but they are all a part of me.

DO YOU EVER WISH YOU COULD PLAY ANOTHER INSTRUMENT? WHICH ONE?
BA= I LOVE being the front man…. But guitar would be my next pick.
JG= Piano
SG= I also have played, guitar, drums and sax…I want to play piano..so I have started to take lessons!!
TM= Piano
JH= Flugelhorn or maybe Sousaphone, because it’s so fuckin’ big. I’d like to bash it over some heads.

IF YOU OWNED A VENUE ON LONG ISLAND AND HAD TO PLAN TO GRAND OPENING NIGHT WITH ONE BAND ONLY, WHO WOULD YOU BOOK FOR ENTERTAINMENT OTHER THAN NOVEMBER RAIN?
BA= National bands aside…there are so many bands I’ve had the pleasure to see and share the stage with right here on Long Island. To name a few, on the tribute side, we have Bottoms Up , Theatre of Pain, Big Hair Daze. Original bands like Borgo Pass, Thunderbrew, and many others draw big crowds here.
JG= As far as a national act – Van Halen or G&R.  As far as a local band – Separate Ways (Journey Tribute)
SG= Separate Ways, my Journey tribute!!
JH= Separate Ways. 😉

CITY OR BEACH? WHY?
BA= Beach…toes in the sand…drink in my hand….haha!
JG= Beach – I hate the city.  Too many people. No parking – ever!!
SG= Beach…not a city person.
TM= I’m a city boy at heart.  Love the fast pace of NYC!
JH= City. I can’t just lie down on the beach. I need to be really busy all the time.

YOUR LOTTO NUMBERS JUST CAME IN, WHAT’S NEXT?
BA= New car anyone…
JG= My wife and I quit our jobs, set up my son with a trust fund, put all of the members of November Rain on a huge salary, buy a private jet and finance a world tour with November Rain.
SG= I’d quit my day job and head for Las Vegas for some fun!! Then I’d buy a big house and make music everyday!!
TM= Buy a huge RV and book the band all over the country….Road Trip!!!!!
JH= A lot, I mean a lot of vintage guitars and amps…….

THE LIGHTS GO OUT AND YOU ARE TRAPPED IN WALMART FOR THE NIGHT! WHAT DO YOU DO ‘TIL OPENING TIME?
BA= I’m thinking , lawn chair, beer, 70 inch tv, and a few good movies…
JG= Grab some snacks, drinks, hit the entertainment section and watch all the concert dvd’s on the biggest tv they have
SG= Grab some food, listen to some music, watch some TV…sounds like fun!!
TM= Play with all the toys
JH= Target practice with any weapon I could find. Would look like Dawn of the Dead in the morning.

WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT OUT OF NOVEMBER RAIN THIS YEAR?
BA= Loud music, screaming vocals, and GOOD TIMES!!!
JG= More gigs, better shows, bigger shows and just a great time. For two hours we transport the audience to 1987.
SG= We have more Long Island shows then we have had in years past.  We also played at The House of Blues in Cleveland to celebrate the induction of GNR into the R&R Hall of Fame…2012 will be a great year for November Rain.
TM= An ass kickin’ rock n roll show.  We give them our all every night!
JH= Uhh, Steve……

http://youtu.be/s4WRY1gE0IM

Not only are they down to earth cool guys BUT they are guaranteed to rock you back to your GNR memories! Check them out here and even go see one of their upcoming shows. If not, friend them on facebook to be in touch of their media! June 15th at 89 North is gonna be a GREAT show so mark your calendars and come enjoy the show! 

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