By MIKE CHAIKEN
The members of Adrenaline Mob come from bands celebrated for their original material.
The band’s singer Russell Allen comes from Symphony X. Drummer Mike Portnoy arrived from Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold. And guitarist Mike Orlando made his name with Sonic Stomp.
But for the band’s latest release, “Coverta,” Adrenaline Mob has pulled together a set of cover classics to make most metal and hard rock fans drool.
On the eight track set, the group covers, “High Wire” by Badlands, “Stand Up and Shout” by Dio,” “Break On Through” by The Doors, “Barracuda” by Heart, “Kill the King” by Rainbow, “The Lemon Song” by Led Zeppelin, and “The Mob Rules” from the Ronnie James Dio-era of Black Sabbath.
Mike Orlando, calling from his home on Staten Island, said the idea of doing a set of cover songs came from their manager. “And we ran with it.”
Each of the members picked up some of the tracks that eventually made the album, said Orlando. It was his idea to perform Badlands’ “High Wire.” The 1980s metal band featured guitarist Jake E. Lee, who went on to play with Ozzy Osbourne. “I’m a huge Jake E. Lee fan… He always comes to play… He’s my favorite guitar player.” And Orlando had been playing “High Wire” on stage since his days in Sonic Stomp.
Orlando said it also was his idea to record “Stand Up and Shout” as well. He said the song was a no-brainer for Adrenaline Mob since it had been in the band’s set list since they started playing together. And it’s a song that he has been playing since he was in his first bands at age 13. The track also showcases the singing abilities of Allen, said Orlando. The vocalist can sing anything but his performance on “Stand Up and Shout” is amazing, said Orlando.
“Romeo’s Delight” by Van Halen appears to a divergent choice given the other tracks. “That was Mike’s pick,” said Orlando. And Orlando said he thought it was a great choice. “Any Van Halen is great Van Halen,” said Orlando. “I’m a huge Eddie Van Halen fan. What rock guitar player isn’t.” And Allen “has a lot of David Lee Roth moments in him.” Orlando said attacking that track “we had a ball.”
Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” seems like an odd choice for a cover from those English metal pioneers. Tracks like “Paranoid,” “Iron Man,” or even “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” seem like more obvious choices.
But Orlando said the selection of “The Mob Rules” makes sense if you know background for its inclusion on “Coverta.”
When the band was first forming, and they were trying to come up with a name for this musical conglomeration, Orlando said they knew they wanted something with the word “Adrenaline” in it. They bounced ideas around. Then Portnoy came up with the suggested Adrenaline Mob. It made sense. The members were all from New York, and they were like a gang of brothers— a mob, if you will.
And once the band had the idea of doing the cover album, Orlando said, Portnoy suggested—given the name Adrenaline Mob— “We have to do ‘The Mob Rules.’”
“It worked out great,” said Orlando.
Looking at the track listing, with three songs coming from bands featuring the lead vocals of Ronnie James Dio, it’s clear the band has an allegiance to the late lead singer from New York.
“We’re huge Dio fans,” said Orlando. “I’m thilled to do something from Dio, Sabbath, and Rainbow.”
Sometimes when bands do a covers album, and they perform in concert, they will perform a set of original material, take a diversion to perform a string of the cover tracks, and then return to the original material to close out their performance. Other times, bands will sprinkle the covers throughout the set.
In past tours, Orlando said Adrenaline Mob would perform all of their original songs, take a break, and then perform the cover tracks as part of their encore. That may be the case again, he said. But, Adrenaline Mob hasn’t quite figured out the flow of the set list yet. It may depend on how to pace Allen’s voice since some of the cover tracks on “Coverta” stretch the singer’s range.
No matter how the set list is structured, however, Orlando promised that Adrenaline Mob will deliver a high energy show.
Orlando admitted he is an “adrenaline junkie.” He is a drag racer. He races dirt bikes. If it gets his heart thumping, he’s into in, including the music.
As good as Adrenaline Mob is on record, Orlando promised that their live performance is “off the charts.”
Adrenaline Mob performs at Toad’s Place, 300 York St., New Haven on Tuesday, March 12. For more information, go to ToadsPlace.com or AdrenalineMob.com
By MIKE CHAIKEN