Paris is one half of Paris Keeling, who feature vocalist Kelly Keeling (Baton
Rouge) and they have released 'End Of The Ride - Revisited' which features guest
appearances from George Lynch and Carmine Appice amongst others.
What are you
currently up to?
Right now I am in the studio working on a new album with the band Permanent
Reverse. The line up includes Corky McClellan (Baton Rouge) Maxx Mann (Trans
Siberian Orchestra) Greg Cerenzia and Mike Arrington. The music is progressive -
rock - soul. Really cool stuff. And of course I’m promoting the new Paris
Could you take us through the songs on 'End Of Ride' (e.g. ideas behind the
songs, songwriting process etc)?
'Life' is a song I wrote about a time in my life where I was looking for
something and I didn't know just what. I had an affair on my wife and it's kind
of an apology to her. 'Morning Song' is a song that Kelly brought to the album.
He told me he wrote it while spending time in a temple in San Diego. I wrote
‘Tears of Heaven’ on September 11th 2001 - I knew a lot of people that worked at
the World Trade Center. I can't understand the thought processes of terrorists -
so it just kind of came out with a lot of emotion. When we got in the studio to
record it Kelly and Don added the brilliant chorus that was missing.
‘Color Blind’ was written on the spot at 3:00 AM in the morning one night Kelly
and I were hanging out in the studio - pure magic! ‘End of Ride’ is three songs.
Kelly brought the intro that he recorded in his studio as well as the ending. We
wrote and recorded ‘Middle of the Road’ and then stitched it all together with
the help of Erik Norlander. We brought in Corky McClellan (from Kelly's band
Baton Rouge) on drums and finished the track shortly after. That song was A LOT
of work, but came out miraculously.
'These Days' was a song that Kelly worked on with George Lynch while touring
with George Lynch. We wrote the lyrics for that one on a Saturday afternoon
while completely sober - pretty ironic huh? It’s a message about addiction and
where addiction leads. 'I Learned From The Inside' is a song that I recorded a
couple of years before we started working on the album. It took nine guitar
tracks to accomplish that one and it is one of my best instrumentals. I ended up
licensing that one to ESPN - but they haven’t used it yet.
‘Free’ is a song idea Kelly brought to the project. We decided that it needed
strings so I got Matt Goeke (my cello guru) to score the string parts and we
recorded it in New York City on May 5th 2006 - coincidently the same day Kelly
auditioned for TSO. We dedicated that one to the troops, and it is probably KK's
best vocal performance on the album. 'She Was' is a song I wrote for a movie
soundtrack completely on spec. ‘I’ve Found’ is a Kelly and Don Dokken
collaboration. ‘Head Straight’ came straight from Kelly’s head - does that make
‘Feel’ was a song that we considered on the first release. It’s all Kelly - I
just scored and produced the cello tracks - one of my KK faves. I wrote and
recorded ‘Alive’ as a tribute to all of us who have been able to do what we love
to do - at any price. Al Pitrelli played lead guitar on that one and it is a
favorite of mine. It goes over really well live.
How did you first hook-up with Kelly Keeling?
I met Kelly in 2005 shortly after he recorded Furious George with Lynch. I heard
the album and reached out to his manager. It was my first exposure to his
Who decided on the cover of ELO's 'Telephone Line'? Did the band record any
other cover versions?
No that's our only cover. Kelly and I were drinking Grand Marnier one night
after a show and I told him that we should do a cover of an old song that we
both loved. And I swear that we simultaneously said Telephone Line.
We recorded the
piano that night and Kelly actually played the drums that night too. I recorded
the synth later and we started tracking vocals separately. That song almost
killed me as a producer. It took so many tracks to get that song right. But I
think it was worth it.
What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?
Music festivals! Because they remind me of summer camp?
How did Don Dokken and George Lynch get involved as guest musicians?
Kelly brought both to the project. Kelly worked with George while touring with
him. And he and Don have been friends for many years.
How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of
advice would you pass onto budding musicians?
I have been playing music for over 30 years so I can’t tell you about any
particular moment. I’ve been lucky that I have been able to make money by
recording - producing - and performing music. I guess my first break is when a
UK label signed me for my first deal. But I can tell you that today the label
needs the bands more than they need them. If you have the passion - you can do
Have you seen an upswing in the interest in hard rock and metal music over
the past couple of years? Has the internet helped get your music out there or in
some ways e.g. illegal downloads has it made matters worse?
Absolutely - with the rise of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, kids are discovering
for the first time hard rock at its finest. It’s coming back - mark my words.
The internet has
helped Paris Keeling tremendously (with sites like MySpace) by giving us a grass
roots following that would have been unheard of in the old days. Bands today
have a shot - right out of the gate if they can deliver quality music. I don’t
give a rat’s ass about illegal downloads as long as you get a fan in the
process. If people like your music - they will buy it. And more importantly they
will come to your shows and buy merchandise. That’s what it’s all about today.
Who have been the biggest musical influences and why?
Kiss and Aerosmith were the first two major bands to catch my attention as a
kid. Kiss Alive and Toys in the Attic were my first exposure to rock-n-roll. My
mom bought me a Les Paul copy and a crappy amp in 1975 and I learned every track
on those two albums. Listen to the intro on Tears of Heaven - I was channeling
Black Diamond, I swear.
Message for your fans?
Thanks for all of the support over the years with the different projects we have
done! We do what we do for you and you’ve made it a lot of fun.
September 2009 Jason Ritchie.
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