| Rocket Scientists are Looking Forward with "Refuel"
California prog rockers begin their third decade with a new studio masterwork
(November 18, 2014 - El Dorado Hills, California) The enduring trio of Erik Norlander (keyboards), Mark McCrite (guitars and vocals) and Don Schiff (Sticks and strings) are delighted to release their 7th studio album, Refuel. The full-length album combines both vocal and instrumental songs with the band's signature songwriting, performance and production style in 12 unforgettable tracks. Refuel also features stellar performances by guest musicians Gregg Bissonette (drums), vocalists Lana Lane, Kelly Keeling and Emily McCrite along with others including the brass players from the band's previous release, Supernatural Highways, and Norlander's Hommage Symphonique album which also featured Schiff and McCrite.
Refuel started in 2012 with the idea of marking the band's 20th anniversary of their 1993 debut release. Producer / keyboardist Erik Norlander notes, "We decided to write some new music at the end of 2012 to celebrate 20 years of Rocket Scientists. We wrote a lot. Too much, in fact, for a single album!" The band released a 30-minute all-instrumental EP, Supernatural Highways, earlier this year which represents the first part of those creative efforts. Refuel contains the balance of those 20-year anniversary recordings and is a more traditional album mixing vocal and instrumental tracks in the style that so identifies the group. A video for "She's Getting Hysterical" will closely follow the Refuel release.
Guitarist / vocalist Mark McCrite takes his craft to new heights on the Refuel album. Says vocalist Lana Lane, "Mark is one of the most musical people I know, and Rocket Scientists wouldn't exist without him. He is always up for the challenge of creating meaningful music and delivers incredible work. The songs he has contributed over the past 20 years to both the Rocket Scientists and Lana Lane catalogs are definitely some of the most memorable."
Keyboardist Erik Norlander turns in another production full of depth and color. Don Schiff comments, "Erik is a never-ending source of master keyboard wizardry. His tones are the best, and his choice of harmony is flawless. As for his keyboard technique, it's the stuff of the timeless legends that we know and love." Norlander's keyboard work especially shines on the instrumental, "Galileo," keeping alive the RS tradition of naming an instrumental track after a famous scientist. Norlander was even persuaded to step out with more vocals to the Refuel effort. Mark McCrite notes, "I'm really excited to have Erik return more prominently as a lead vocalist this time out. This was an important element of our first album, Earthbound, and I'm happy to see it come back!"
Don Schiff performs his usual Stick and bass guitar magic in addition to penning 2 of the album tracks, "Regenerate" and "Reconstruct." He also plays contrabass, cello and viola throughout the Refuel record. Norlander comments, "In the few years since the Rocket Scientists Looking Backward project, Don taught himself to play the cello! He had been experimenting with various bowed guitar-like instruments on the Hommage Symphonique album and even on the last 2007 studio recordings like "Earthbound." Those sounded great, but I think Don decided that he needed to learn the real thing … and he did!" Schiff's cello is prominent on the 26-minute opus, "Traveler on the Supernatural Highways," released earlier this year, and the Refuel album takes his string-player role even further on nearly every song.
Guest vocalists on Refuel include symphonic rock chanteuse, Lana Lane, and long-time Norlander collaborator, rock icon, Kelly Keeling. Mark McCrite notes, "It's also great to feature the inimitable Lana Lane. Singing at the same mic with her was one of the highlights of these sessions, and I love that our signature blend is featured as the very first vocals you hear on the record." And Don Schiff adds, "Kelly's vocals embody all the characteristics of legendary vocalists in style, power and control. On top of all that he also is 'Kelly Keeling,' a legendary voice on his own. It's always a great pleasure to hear his artistry." Keeling provides guest vocals to the horn-driven anthem, "Cheshire Cat Smile," and Lane concludes with album with a stirring delivery of the symphonic gem, "The Lost Years."
Refuel is available NOW as a digital download in multiple formats at Bandcamp and is coming soon to iTunes. A deluxe full-color 6-panel Digipak CD with a 16-page full color booklet including liner notes by producer, Erik Norlander, will be released worldwide on December 9, 2014.
CD Track list:
2.She's Getting Hysterical [6:05]
4.It's Over [6:25]
6.The Fading Light [7:29]
7.The World Waits for You [4:20]
9.Cheshire Cat Smile (feat. Kelly Keeling) [5:25]
10.Rome's About to Fall [8:15]
12.The Lost Years (feat. Lana Lane) [5:59]
Other titles by Rocket Scientists:
Supernatural Highways (2014)
Looking Backward (2007)
Revolution Road (2006)
Oblivion Days (1999)
Brutal Architecture (1995)
Scientists - Refuel - Musicians:
Mark McCrite - vocals, acoustic, electric and lap steel guitars
Erik Norlander - synthesizers, pianos, organ, vocals
Don Schiff - NS/Sticks, bass guitars, contrabass, cello, viola, mandolin
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Lana Lane - lead vocal on 12, harmony vocals on 1,4,6,10
Kelly Keeling - lead vocal on 9
Emily McCrite - harmony vocals on 10
Jon Papenbrook - trumpet on 2,9,11
Eric Jorgensen - trombone on 9,11
Rich Hofmann - piccolo trumpet on 9,11
Produced by Erik Norlander for Think Tank Media
Mastered by Maor Applebaum at Maor Applebaum Mastering
Release Dates: Digital Edition: November 18, 2014 at Bandcamp
Digipak CD Edition: December 9, 2014 on the Think Tank Media label (worldwide)
photo by Erik Nielsen
(c)2014-2015 Think Tank Media