Jack Frost has been a top guitarist in the rock scene for decades. He has played or toured with bands like Savatage, Lizzy Bordon, Bronx Casket Company, and Seven Witches. He is now launching a new band with some well-known friends called Brothers In Arms. Jack recently took some time to talk about their debut record, Sunset & Clark, which is out everywhere on September 24.
Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws.com Conversation with Jack Frost –
On the origins of Brothers In Arms – I just wanna get one thing out of the way, let people know this is not a project, it’s a band. A lot of people are like, “Oh, it’s just cool, I like this. You guys gonna ever do anything again?” I wanna get something straight, it sounds weird, but this is definitely a band, everybody in this is in this band, and I just wanna let people know that because there are a lot of projects out there and the record comes out and you never hear from it again, it’s kind of weird… 18 or 19 months ago when we were all locked down, a lot of people went one way other people went another. Some people were really depressed and down. Me, I’m like, “Okay, I have a choice. I can sit around, watch TV, eat Doritos all day long”, but I was like, “You know what, maybe I’ll use this time smartly, and I’ll go back down to my studio and I’ll pick up my guitar”, something that I haven’t done in 20 years and just practice on my playing. Don’t get me wrong, I practice when I have to tour, but it’s like learn the songs and go. I haven’t had a chance to work on me, my sound, my feel. The cool thing about this was Alessandro DelVecchio from Frontiers, just called me up about 18 months ago and goes, “I’m doing Ronny Monroe’s record”, and I was like, “Oh cool”, (Alessandro said), “He’s doing a solo record, Beyond Worlds is what he called it, but it was still his solo record. I want you to play some solos on it”. So he sent me tracks and I started to really get into it and that’s what kind of got me going like, “You know what, man, I’m really enjoying this”, and I started to come up with some riffs and I just started to watch this baby start to give birth. I was like, “Oh, this is kinda cool”. In the back of my mind, I had guys I’ve always wanted to work with, friends of mine, and that was the beginning of it all. :36
On if he had a wish list of musicians for the band – I’ve always had a wish list of people I (want to) work with, but unfortunately, some of them are no longer with us. But I guess what it was was Karl (Wilcox) from Diamond Head, our drummer, we’ve been joking around for years, “We gotta do something together”, and Charlie Calv, keyboard player from Angel, we’ve played together for 20-30 years together. Alex Janson, he’s playing bass for Jean Beauvoir and I played Jean, and we kind of met at NAMM, and those guys were the three guys (who said), “We gotta do something. We gotta do something really special”, and that’s how it kinda happened. As for the singers, I’ve been fans of these guys forever. It was really easy with Keith St. John, I do the Ronnie Montrose Remembered thing and Keith keeps that alive and he’s such a great frontman. Andrew Freeman from Last in Line, he’s another guy that I grew up with, he’s an East Coast guy that moved out West Coast, so it was Keith. It’s funny, a lot of those guys moved out to the West. They were just guys I have always wanted to work with, Todd Poole from Roxy Blue, Steve Overland from FM, Jesse Damon from Silent Rage, and Paul Shortino from Rough Cutt was the one that I was always like, “That’s the dude”. Then there’s a guy that a lot of people may not know in my area called Nick Walsh, he sings for Slik Toxik, Moxy, what a great singer. It’s funny, there’s this Canadian side of music, Harem Scarem, Haywire, people don’t really kinda know those bands. Harem Scarem should have been bigger than Bon Jovi. So these are guys that always looked up to, I’ll be honest, I’m a fan of what they do, and that’s really how it came together. 3:02
On whether he wrote with or for the particular singer – A little bit of both to be honest with you. Like the Paul Shortino song, we talked about King Kobra was looking for a guitar player at the time, and I’m really dear friends with Carmine (Appice) and my name gets put into the mix a little bit here and there sometimes. So I thought of Shortino’s voice and I worked on the song and that’s how he came. Keith was easy, man, Keith and Andrew were easy. I would send them riffs, and those guys were just sent me back hooks like, “I got this”, and then they’re like, “Hey, why do you try this?” The Todd Poole song, from Roxy Blue, he sings on two tracks, he has that Memphis growl and that swagger. So it’s a little bit of both. It’s kind of hard to say. I just want people to know this. I didn’t write the songs, it’s a collective of the band, maybe I came up with a riff. I know people (ask), “How do you do that? Are there too many chiefs, no Indians?” It was never like that. Those guys’ ideas were so special and they brought so much to the fold. I don’t think people realize how amazing Keith St. John is. The guy is beyond a rock star, but he’s an amazing songwriter, amazing producer, and the video we just put out, he did the whole video. I mean, Freeman’s like that too. Steve, Overland, “The City Never Sleeps”, I wanted that Lou Gramm kind of, Journey kind of, Foreigner song. Steve just killed it. It’s sad to me, like me and you, we get it, we were fans of music, but there are people like that that probably go, “Who’s Steve Overland?” Go check him out, man. That’s why I did this record too, I think people are going, “Wow, that Nick Walsh guy is awesome.” Well, you should go check out what he’s done, he’s got a big history, you should check out Keith and Burning Rain and Andrew, I mean before Last In Line, Freeman is a rock star, too. People need to open up a little bit and check out some cool stuff out there…and I try to push us on interviews, I don’t want people to think, “Okay, this is the Jack Frost show, all about Jack”, it’s so not about me. I just came up with these riffs and the songs, and I let these guys take their art. I said this in every interview, here’s a canvas, I drew a couple of lines, these guys made a picture come real. 5:12
On how Brothers in Arms will tour – Karl, Alex, and Charlie that’s the rhythm section, that’s the backing band. We were trying for January because Keith always puts on the Montrose Remembered during NAMM. Unfortunately, NAMM got moved to June. We were like, “Okay, let’s see. We go out to the West Coast, we got Andrew out there, Shortino’s out there, Jesse’s out there, Keith’s out there”. So what we’ll do is we’ll play four or five shows on the West Coast, maybe LA, Arizona, Portland, that kind of area, and then we’ll do the whole record start to finish, and then we’ll do a Montrose song, we do a Burning Rain song, or we’ll do a Last In Line song, whatever Andrew wants to do. I think that’s really fun that we could take their history and everybody’s history.. So now we do East Coast, we’ll have Nick come over from Canada, will probably fly out Keith or Andrew, whoever is available at the time, and then for here, you gotta get Todd Poole because he’s right in Memphis, he’s not that far. So we could do maybe the Midwest to the East Coast. So it really works out fun where shows are different, you have different singers and people will like that. 8:28
On how he joined Savatage – I have to say, a lot has to do with Chris Caffery. He was in a band in Germany, called Metallium with Mike Terrana. I just would like to say it is the bass player, and the guy that started the band, Lars Ratz, passed away a few weeks ago, it’s really horrific, very sad, an airplane accident. He really was a big part of my career starting, him and Chris got me over there. I was doing Seven Witches, I was doing Bronx Casket Company, doing a lot of stuff in the States. Chris was getting ready to go on tour. It was Primal Fear, Metallium, and Synergy. TSO was just getting to smoke, it was starting to take off, and Chris knew me and my name got brought up and Chris goes, “You should do this”. He kind of pushed me to do it, so I went over there and I appreciate that, I always say thank you to him for that. So I went over there and then Chris got very busy with Savatage and TSO. So I stayed in the band on the second record, and then Al (Pitrelli) got the Megadeth gig, which was a pretty big gig at the time to get. Chris called me out of nowhere and said, “Listen, we want you to come and audition”. So this is a crazy story. I was getting ready to do the Metalium tour, the second record tour, and I had to turn it down. I literally could not believe I’m sitting in Germany with tears coming down my eyes going, “I’m gonna turn down auditioning for a band that I loved since I was a kid”. Criss Oliva was one of the most amazing and still is one of the most amazing guitar players to ever walked this Earth. He should get more credit, he should be up there with Eddie (Van Halen), and Randy Rhodes, and Ronnie Montrose, that’s the kind of player he is. I said to Chris, “I just can’t be that guy, I can’t bail out on a band”. I think that’s one of the main reasons I got the gig, because I think Paul O’Neill, God rest his soul, thought, “Wow, that’s a real dude right there”. So I did the tour, I get home, I got a call from Chris and he’s like, “Hey, can you come down tonight? Come down tonight and audition”, and I know they had some great guys, like Vinnie Moore, the guitar player from Zebra guitar play from Riot. So I went down there, I walk in the room, and there’s Jeff Plate, Johnny Lee Middleton wasn’t done at the time, and then Chris and the Mountain King. I walk in and was talking and telling them my history, What Savatage means to me, so we jam a couple of songs, and that was it. So I leave there, they say, “Thanks Jack for coming down. Great job.” You leave a room, you’re like, “Well, I guess I didn’t get it”, I walk away. About two weeks go by. So I’m moving on with my life. I’m like, “Well, you know, I gave it a good shot. Kind of bummed. But hey, at least I got to audition. That was cool”. So I go see Symphony X at L’Amour’s, Chris walks in that night. He’s like, “Hey, how you doing, man?” I’m like, “Hey, how are you?” He’s like, “I got a phone call for you”, it’s (Jon) Oliva. He’s like, “Hey Frost”, you know how Jon is, he’s a world of happiness and he just makes you smile and he’s like, “So you wanna be in Savatage?” I just want people to know this when I got the gig, people should really look at Chris Caffery, because Chris really knows how to pray the Criss Oliva stuff. He was with Criss on the Gutter Ballet tour and he was on Hall of the Mountian King playing keyboard, playing rhythm guitar, and some solos. Chris took me under his wing, man, and I always say this about Chris, he showed me, I would hear something, and he’d be like, “No, no. Check this out a little nuance that Oliva played”, and you wouldn’t know it. That’s how nice of a guy Chris is, and being in that band to this day will be some of my fondest memories. Those guys treated me great, I love those guys. I’m so happy for them how TSO’s taking off. They’ve got to go out and do new Savatage. I always say this, nothing against Pitrelli, what they should go out. Chris as a four-piece, like the old Savatage, because Caffery nails it. Pitrelli’s an icon, he can play anything, but I just think Chris call gets it. He gets it, he gets it. 10:28
On upcoming plans with Seven Witches and Aldo Nova – I literally got home two weeks ago, James Rivera re-joined the band. We just did the Alcatraz Festival. We were the only American band on the bill, so it was UDO headlining, Destruction, and we got the third slot, it was incredible. 15000 people and Wade Black came out and saying, “Metal Tyrant” with me and James. Actually, six songs are done for the new record, a new Seven Witches will come out next year, and we will definitely be touring. I don’t know if everybody knows this, but I joined Aldo Nova about a year ago. I’m so honored to be a part of it, Talk about being part of Savatage, now I’m part of Aldo Nova’s history. I don’t know if people realize Aldo was there before Bon Jovi got signed. He was the first guy. I mean, that record came out, the “Fantasy” record, it was that record, it was Asia Asia, it was Foreigner 4. That’s the caliber of albums that came out that year, so we’re going out on a 40th-anniversary Aldo Nova tour. We’re gonna do a lot of hits, but Aldo is such a great songwriter, people don’t know what he’s been doing for the last 10 years. He’s written for Celine Dion. I mean, the guy is a master of his art, and I’m leaving next Friday to go up to Montreal to shoot a bunch of videos for the next Aldo Nova records. I’m pretty stoked, I’m gonna learn so much for him, I can’t wait. 16:00