By Cathy Moore for Rock All Photography and Music
It definitely wasn’t a combination I would have predicted would team up for a musical collaboration. A finalist from American Idol and a guitarist from a legendary heavy metal band. But James Durbin (American Idol) and Alex Grossi (Quiet Riot) made it happen and the result is a cool 5-song EP called Maps To The Hollywood Scars, which was released earlier this year on the New Ocean Media label.
Maps To The Hollywood Scars showcases the darker side of Hollywood and the music industry – as experienced by two people that have taken two different paths, yet ultimately found many common themes throughout their respective journeys. The ﬁrst of two EPs features a guest appearance by longtime Guns ‘N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed, as well as programming and engineering by A.J. St. James (The Big 4, MTV).
“I have been a fan of James’s for a while, and after we got an impromptu chance to jam together in Las Vegas last fall, we kept in touch and the ideas just started flowing back and forth,” says Grossi. “I feel that Maps To The Hollywood Scars is a true labor of love and reflects a lot of where we have both been, as well as where we are both going musically outside of what we are both known for.”
The first track, “Roads”, is a classic hard rock anthem – killer guitar riffs and lyrics encouraging us to “sign up for the revolution”. It’s the kind of song you imagine people blasting from their car with the top down on a highway road trip. The second song, “Till Death,” is more of a traditional hard rock ballad with touching lyrics about losing someone. “Lost Boys” is definitely my favorite track on the EP. Durbin really shows off his vocal range and the music and lyrics give the song a haunting but empowering feel. The other two tracks, “Abomination” and “Never Ending Ride” are both fun and fast-paced rock tunes though the latter has just a bit of a punk feel to it.
The EP definitely has clear undertones of 80s hard rock – think early Bon Jovi. Durbin’s voice is strong and has great range, which is showcased throughout the EP. I would have liked to have seen more thrashing from Grossi, but the guitar moments that are there are top notch.
“It’s not very often that a project like this goes from nothing to something in such a short amount of time, without a slough of industry BS,” says Durbin. “Alex started sending me instrumental demos and gave me free range to just write! We started churning out songs one after the other, and they weren’t losing their quality, they were getting better. I think that we stumbled upon a winning team and it’s only fair that we let our collective fans hear what we’ve been having so much fun making!”
Maps To The Hollywood Scars is five songs of classic hard rock fun. Turn it up and check it out.
By Cathy Moore of Moore Rock Shots and Reviews
Maps To The Hollywood Scars Online: