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Who Let The Acoustics Out?: An Exclusive Interview With ROBBY LOCHNER Of JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE

By Cynthia Fields-Jalil, Writer/Photographer
Thursday, April 15, 2021 @ 9:55 AM

"Jack and I have 5 songs ready plus a song Dicki wrote and 4 more I hope to have ready to record ASAP. Our next release has to be a new original record."

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Hey there, KNAC.COM fans and listeners! Itís been a while since Iíve had the pleasure of interviewing anyone due to the current COVID-19 climate of our world today. That said, I finally had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite guitarists from one of my favorite bands, JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE, Robby Lochner! During the COVID-19 lockdown, Robby incredibly and successfully managed to rearrange and produce the Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes album, and it sounds great! In addition to that, Robby also released a new feel-good video with one of his instrumental songs that he wrote a few years back called ďRemember WhenĒ. While still feeling a bit rusty from my pandemic hiatus, I feel confident knowing that you all will have learned a bit more about the multitalented musical genius that Robby Lochner truly is after reading this interview. So, read on and enjoy!

KNAC.COM: Thanks so much for graciously extending me this opportunity to dig a little deep into your musical psyche today, I sincerely appreciate it!

LOCHNER: Thank you!

KNAC.COM: Itís been a super challenging year in all of lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us music loving fans are usually able to escape from our daily challenges by decompressing and rocking out to our favorite bands. COVID-19 changed that! That said, as one of my favorite bands JRGW, band members and favorite guitarist you successfully managed to produce and acoustically remaster JACK RUSSELLís GREAT WHITE Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes and write and produce for your solo project! How did both of those projects come together during a pandemic?

LOCHNER: I had just wrapped up mixing for the Acoustic Bytes when Covid hit. I actually had turned my attention to mixing the live recording for Great Zeppelin II. For those who don't know GREAT WHITE had done a live Zep recording years ago and Jack wanted to do another with mostly different songs. Jack absolutely crushes on it and the band sounds pretty authentic to the original recordings. Aside from that and writing material for a new JRGW record I've been working on a host of other things. I've released singles of my own, also put out videos of me playing classical, ragtime and a variety of things all which can seen on my YouTube channel (Robby Lochner). I'm also writing/producing and mixing music with Leroy Butler the lead singer of the BAHA MEN ("Who Let The Dogs Out") and have done guest playing for several different artists. I just did a solo for Rev Jones, former bassist with Michael Schenker, Leslie West, STEELHEART as well as MR. SCARY project and a band out of Tucson called A FALL TO BREAK. AFTB is a kick as Nu-Metal band well worth checking out.

KNAC.COM: Which of the two projects was the most challenging and why?

LOCHNER: Of those two probably the Acoustic Bytes. On my music I'm dealing with me only. For the band thing I'm working with everyone's schedule. On Acoustic Bytes I learned a lot in mixing from having Jack come in and critique the mixes. There's a bunch of little things he'll point out that I'd be like "why didn't I notice that?" I released the remake of "Hold the Line" (TOTO) acoustic version with Jack and Robin McAuley singing last July. Though that was a different project all together and actually was easy because the players were all so great.

KNAC.COM: With regards to the JRGW Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes album was it something that you wanted to do or was it something that you and Jack decided together?

LOCHNER: The idea was brought up in 2017 to do for the 30th anniversary of the Once Bitten record. It was supposed to be versions in the style of how Jack and I do the live acoustic shows. Then the other guys were saying they wanted to play on it so it became a bigger thing to do. Our tour schedule was so busy it took quite a while to get it together.

KNAC.COM: Which song did you find the hardest to recreate acoustically?

LOCHNER: "Rock Me". I put it down like we do in our acoustic set and then Dicki and Dan came in and played it more like the record. That created a lot of problems with making it feel right. It was a challenge...

KNAC.COM: Which song is your favorite? Why?

LOCHNER: Off Acoustic Bytes I'd say "Save Your Love", "Never Change Heart" and the Zep cover of "Babe". Jack had sung "Save Your Love" just like he does live. He came in the studio one night to sing another group of songs and I asked him to try singing in the vibe of a song (I can't remember) he was singing when he walked in the studio that night. It turned out really cool, not super different though, really vibey which matched the music more, very haunting sounding.

KNAC.COM: I realize that recording is a lot different today. But, with Jack coming from the golden days of recording - when the band sat in a studio together to record, how was the recording for Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes done?

LOCHNER: It was recorded a little bit at a time to fit our schedules. So, no more than myself and whoever was recording at any given time.

KNAC.COM: Once live shows resume do yíall plan on performing an acoustic set in support of the new release?

LOCHNER: No plans for that.

KNAC.COM: Since weíre talking about live shows, Iíve gotta tell you that aside from the GREAT WHITE songs -which I love, another one of my favorite parts of the JRGW live show is when you perform your solo instrumental. It is mesmerizing to watch you put your heart and soul into whichever piece you play. That said, Iíve often wondered if you have any classical training or are you fully self-taught?

LOCHNER: Thank you, I am self taught.

KNAC.COM: Which classical artist or artists are you inspired by?

LOCHNER: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Paganini, Scott Joplin and outside of that box, Brad Paisley and Albert Lee.

KNAC.COM: Which piece is your favorite to perform live? Why?

LOCHNER: "Fur Elise" ( Beethoven) was always fun though "Sonata in C" (Mozart) or "Prelude in Bb" (Bach) are pretty fun too.

KNAC.COM: In addition to your work with JACK RUSSELLís GREAT WHITE, you also write, produce and perform original material as ROBBY LOCHNER. You recently released a music video titled "Remember When". I love the old-school feel-good vibe of the song and video. What was your inspiration for both the song and the music video?

LOCHNER: "Remember When" I wrote in '96 for my first solo record I released in '97. I wrote it last minute before going in the studio to record with 4 other instrumentals. Barry Sparks from MSG, YNGWIE, DOKKEN, TED NUIGENT, played bass on it, which made it special to me. Barry and I are both from Tucson. The issue at the time being I had a 4 hour block scheduled to record the 5 songs and really didn't get to develop the songs like I wanted or should have. I have been wanting to re-record this particular track for awhile. Now that I have my own studio it was just a question of when I decided it was time. Since the track is titled "Remember When" I thought it'd be cool to dig in the closet and find anything from yesteryear. We wanted to be socially distanced so we set up outside on property owned by Dario Seixas. Dario has 87 acres in Aguanga, CA so and he suggested it. Dario currently plays with ALDO NOVA though was formerly with FIREHOUSE, STEPHEN PEARCY and with us in JRGW. In the video we have a boom box that has X bass on it.... We had to put that in front of him, 'Remember When' he played bass for JRGW... lol

KNAC.COM: Do you have a writing partner, or do you write alone?

LOCHNER: I do both. For JRGW I write with Jack. For my own stuff it depends on the song. Most of them I write myself but there are tracks I've written with others.

KNAC.COM: Do you have any current plans to perform your solo music live with the ROBBY LOCHNER band members, or is your solo project limited to the studio?

LOCHNER: No plans of playing live for my solo stuff.

KNAC.COM: What are you currently working on for your solo project?

LOCHNER: I have 2 songs complete that I'm deciding if I'll release or not. I only want to release it if there's a video to go with it.

KNAC.COM: Now that JRGWís Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes has been remastered and released, does Jack and the band have any plans of writing new material for release?

LOCHNER: Jack and I have 5 songs ready plus a song Dicki wrote and 4 more I hope to have ready to record ASAP. Our next release has to be a new original record.

KNAC.COM: Do you have any last parting words for your fans?

LOCHNER: Tune in to The Hangout Live on Tuesday nights 6pm PST. It's a show I've been doing with Jack FM personality Matt Drake for going on a year now. We currently stream on Facebook but are transitioning over to the R.A.M.S. channel on Twitch TV. It's interactive with the audience being able to ask questions. We have had a year's worth of great guests from mostly musicians though also actors and directors. You can see past shows and the guest list at Welcome to The Hangout.LIVE With Drake & Robby Lochner. Also go to our Facebook page to keep current with the weeks guest. On the show itself I will update what JRGW is up to. Hope to see you all on the road soon!


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