Reminiscent when arena rock & music videos ruled the airwaves! Mixed by legendary producer Michael Wagener (Dokken, Skid Row, Ozzy, Motley Crue, Metallica, Tesla) in Nashville, this album is one big slice of vintage 80's arena rock! Eight killer tracks with over 40 minutes of music. If we still have your attention, here is our story in full!
Based out of Youngstown, Ohio, Love and War (now Apocalyptic Lovers) played regionally and had much success entertaining crowds hungry for genuine hard rock, which was rapidly fading into the background amidst the rising grunge scene. In 1994, the band made a trip to LA where their unique marketing tactics intrigued Entertainment Weekly so much that they placed a small mention on the band in an issue of the popular magazine. That small mention snowballed into two distribution deals overseas.
The band was gaining momentum, but by 1997, the grunge era had taken its toll. It no longer seemed worth the effort to spend the thousands of hours it took to promote the band, drive to gigs, and perform – all for little or no money. Love and War had held on longer than most, but their time had come to a close. They played their final show and went their separate ways. It was the end of an era.
Except, it wasn’t the end. Decades passed, but the fire to create good rock and roll still burned. Melodic hard rock has made a comeback, and through something not entirely unlike divine intervention, Love and War has been resurrected.
Due to previous lawsuits from other entities also using the name Love and War, the band has reunited with a new name, the Apocalyptic Lovers – an apt description for a band that has survived the devastation of an entire genre of music and the music industry itself as a whole. They have overcome great distances in both time and space to bring their project back to life, and, as the old industry adage goes, “all it took was one song” to fuel the fire that never quite went out.
Unfortunately, a tragedy was the catalyst behind that one song. In 2010, Hope’s wife lost her younger sister. His wife was completely devastated, and he didn’t know how to help her in her grief. When Hope’s wife was on her way home from the services in Chicago, he left to pick her up from the airport and inspiration struck. “I heard a song. I have no idea what song it was, but there was a phrase in it that caught my attention – something about changing frequencies on the radio,” Hope says. “Somehow it just sparked my brain, and by the time I arrived at the airport, I had most of the lyrics in my head. After picking up my wife from the airport, I went straight to bed without writing the lyrics down. The next morning, I woke up remembering every single word.”
Hope continues, “I love to work on arranging songs, but my strength was never in melodies or lyrics. If I did try to write lyrics, I would never finish them or they would sound too close to something else, so I would just toss them. But this time was very different. It almost felt as if I were channeling the lyrics.”
The song, Change of Frequency, is written from a deceased person’s point of view. “If you have ever lost someone you love dearly, the lyrics will really speak to you,” says Hope. “My wife really liked the lyrics and so did the few other people I showed them to. But, I put them away and really did not give them much thought.”
A few years later, Hope was rearranging the music memorabilia in his house and noticed it had been just over 20 years since the release of Love and War’s full-length album. None of the members had been happy with the final product, and Hope wondered if they could get back together, even if only to produce a product that each band member could be proud to share with family and friends.
Hope reached out to songwriter/guitarist, Sean Magee and asked if he would be interested in redoing the old stuff, and possibly writing music for the new song, Change of Frequency. Sean hadn’t written music since Love and War had split up, but was excited to give it a go.
Hope then sent the demo to vocalist Rob Kane to take a stab at the vocals and play around with the harmonies and melodies. “Rock and Metal singers tend to blow out their voices later in life, and I wanted to make sure [Kane] still had the pipes,” says Hope. Kane sings and plays guitar in his church band, and had previously sent Hope a recording. “He sounded really good – maybe even better than when we first got together. When I got the demo back from him, I felt like we had never split up, even though it had been more than 20 years. And what is even stranger, I received the demo with Rob’s vocals on the fifth anniversary of my wife’s sister’s passing.”
The five-year anniversary of her passing would be the catalyst that fueled the fire, and hence began the band’s rise from the ashes. With a new name and a new plan, the band began preparations to meet and to record what would become Redemption Volume I.
It was August of 2015 when the band finally got together for the first time in more than two decades to record their 8-song album, Redemption Volume I. They traveled from opposite ends of the country– Arizona, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Pittsburgh – to meet up at MindRocket Recording Studios in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania.
The band rerecorded six fan favorites and two new songs, Change of Frequency and, Who the Hell Are You?, a song the band had just begun to play before they split up. “It was great to have the opportunity to record again. And with no demands to rush, no immediate management, and with all of the wonderful technology out there, we were able to put out the quality the tunes deserved in the first place,” says Hope.
When Hope and the rest of the band heard the first versions of their new recordings, they were stoked. While mixing began, Hope who is know to shoot for the moon decided to reach out to some of Melodic Rock’s most notable producers to see if there was anyone else interested in working on the record as well. “I just thought that if this was a one-and-done type of project, I really wanted it to sound like all the arena rock we grew up with. I wanted to put that CD in and hear vintage 1988 blasting out of the car stereo, but I also wanted to make sure it did not sound too dated,” says Hope. “That’s when I had the idea to go though all my vinyl records and check out who worked on them. Honestly, Michael Wagener’s name was just about on every one of them for engineering, mixing, and/or producing – it was crazy. So, I picked the four most common names on the list, sent them each a message, and Michael got back to me within 24 hours or so. The next thing I knew, Rob and I were on our way to Nashville, TN to mix our record with one of our production idols – Michael Wagener at his Wire World Studios.”
Michael Wagener’s stable of artists has sold over 110 million records over the years, including Metallica, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osborne, Queen, Tesla, Poison, and Janet Jackson.
“We funded and produced the entire project ourselves, but Michael made some fantastic suggestions. It really is 110% of his mix that brought our sound to where we wanted it,” says Hope. “We ended up mixing with Michael over 11 days at his studio in Nashville, just after Thanksgiving and into December a bit. Rob and I were in absolute awe watching him do his thing with our songs, and could not be happier with the end result.”
The infant stages of guys getting together simply to have fun and rework some old songs snowballed into the band actively seeking live shows.
The thought of playing live was in the back of their minds, but it was never the reason the Apocalyptic Lovers decided to get back together. For them, it was always about the music. As the project began to grow, many Love And War fans were messaging the band, asking if there would be any live shows. Because everyone lives in different states across the country, doing a live show would be challenging – not to mention that the last live show the guys had played was in the 90s. Pulling off a gig with little or no practice was a big question, but the band decided to answer it with a 50-minute, all-original live set celebrating the release of Redemption Volume 1.
“We all flew or drove into Ohio on Friday with hopes of a long night of rehearsal and a final dress rehearsal on Saturday morning,” says Hope. “That plan was dumped after running though the set twice because it was like we had never broke up. The rehearsal was the first time we had played in one room together in over 20 plus years, and it was like magic.”
“We went on the following evening and nailed the set,” continues Hope. “And after watching video of the show, we knew we still had what it took to play live. We might all be older with families and full time jobs, but we have decided that YES we want to play live and carry the 80s metal torch, but in a less is more fashion.”
“We rebooted this project to have fun and to do it our way, with or without management or a label,” says Hope. “I figure some guys play golf, some go to strip clubs, so why can’t we continue to write and record music? We plan to release either a 10-EP collection or five full-length albums with both updated vintage material and new songs. We already have everything lined up and ready for Redemption Volume II, but we have so much new material, the trick now is to figure out what songs go where,” Hope says with a chuckle.
The band is currently gearing up for Redemption Volume II plus a covers EP while actively seeking management, investors, and/or record labels that share their vision. Promoters, managers, investors, and labels are welcome to contact the band via their website or social media to chat anything Apocalyptic Lovers. Hope’s closing message: “We may be older, but we are here, willing and able to make things work so we can continue to do what we love best – ROCK!”