Hard rock icons Adrenaline Mob have had their fair share of challenges in the past but have risen to each & every one continuing to march forward yet again & again! Formed by guitarist Mike Orlando & vocalist Russell Allen they joined forces with drummer Mike Portnoy & bassist John Moyer to launch the band’s debut.
The group’s debut album, 2012’s Omertá, landed #5 on Billboard's Rock Albums Chart, earned a #1 Metal Album on iTunes, and proudly was awarded iTunes UK Metal Album of the Year. They hit the arena stages and toured with rock giants such as Godsmack & Avenged Sevenfold, performed at all the major European Festivals & headlined multiple US, EU & UK tours. It was at that point the band parted ways with drummer Mike Portnoy due to scheduling conflicts & brought drum legend AJ Pero into the fold. Only two years after the debut was released, the group was involved in a major vehicle accident while on the road with Avenged Sevenfold and Hellyeah. Then, in 2015, while enjoying the incredible fan and media response to their second full-length Men of Honor and follow-up EP Dearly Departed, Adrenaline Mob lost drummer and long-time friend drum legend A.J. Pero to a heart attack while on tour with Drowning Pool. “After the tour, it was pretty devastating,” Orlando reflects. “We needed a bit of a break. To clear our heads. Russell went to work with Symphony X & I toured Sonic Stomp & Noturnall for a few months thoughout South America. It was a way to deal with A.J.’s passing.”
Clearly, there’s a force that’s trying to keep Adrenaline Mob down. “When A.J. passed away, everything kind of ground to a halt,” adds Allen. “We weren’t sure where we were going to go. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We had been at it for awhile and had faced so many adversities, we didn’t know how to continue at that point. Adrenaline Mob was in a dark place. So, we put some needed time between us and the band. To get away from it. When we started talking again, we had long discussions about our expectations for Adrenaline Mob. We took it step by step. From there, the process started.”
Slowly but surely, Adrenaline Mob picked up the pieces. In fact, everything started with a simple text message from Allen to Orlando. It read: “It’s time, isn’t it?” Naturally, the group didn’t want to force the follow-up to Men of Honor. It had to come naturally. And it did. Holed up at Sonic Stomp Studios—a studio owned and operated by Orlando where all the Adrenaline Mob albums are tracks & mixed—the guitarist commenced work on material that would shape Adrenaline Mob’s return. Inside a few months, the majority of album number three was written. It was at that point that Orlando met up with his partner Russell Allen as they've done on all their past albums & began their process of working on all lyrics, vocals & melodies as the two have done on all previous releases.
Orlando calls the sessions and the product of those sessions—the songs—an extension of his & Russell’s personalities. But as with the good, there’s always the bad. It was at Sonic Stomp Studios where Orlando and Pero would jam out. Being reminded of Pero daily had a sometimes sorrowful but positive impact. Orlando recalls, “Many years of great times & recordings were done there with AJ so we of course without hesitation dedicated the album to the memory of our dear friend”. “Musically, it was about honoring the past, everyone involved in it,” says Allen. “We also wanted to move forward. We wanted to create something worthy of Adrenaline Mob. The excitement started to build as we worked on the songs. After a while, we had an album, which had the old things we love and some new things we’re trying out."
The full-length album that refers to and represents Adrenaline Mob in full comeback mode, is none other than We the People. With Orlando and Allen in songwriting hyperdrive—We the People fully came into view over about a six month period. Adrenaline Mob needed to replenish the ranks. Bassist Erik Leonhardt who stepped in on the 2015 Dearly Departed Tour has now been replaced by David Zablidowsky. Orlando states, "David Z is a monster bassist & will be a fantastic addition not only to the sound of Adrenaline Mob but the live show as well. He has great chops, killer swag & commands the stage & his instrument like a true pro." The drum position was a much harder task to fill. With Portnoy and Pero’s legacies in full view, Adrenaline Mob’s next drummer had to be great. He also had to be the right fit. Acting upon a friendly recommendation, Allen & Orlando chanced on Long Island based drummer Jordan Cannata. Allen explains, "I discovered Jordan while I was performing at Wacken last summer. We had quietly put the word out to our friends in the music industry that we were looking for a drummer. A mutual friend from the Twisted Sister camp had told me about this amazing drummer from Long Island. Mike had already found some incredible players by that point. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to check this guy out. And wow! I was blown away by his playing and showmanship. We had him do some audition videos for us and we were sold. What a ball of fire Jordan is! We're so proud to have such an amazing talent that fits our sound and style so perfectly. Jordan is a beast!" It was clear to the guys that Pero’s successor had been found after viewing Cannata performing four Adrenaline Mob songs through a series of video auditions followed by an in studio performance at Sonic Stomp Studios.
With that, Adrenaline Mob Mark III was born. Now, they had the lineup to pick up where Men of Honor left off. To start, Orlando’s at the top of his riff game on We the People. Allen’s virtually unstoppable, belting it out like it’s his last record ever. New drummer Cannata’s an animal, a hybrid of Portnoy’s technicality and Pero’s swing. Add to the lineup the songs… really good songs. ‘Ignorance and Greed’, ‘King of the Ring’, ‘Raise ‘em Up’, ‘Take the
Pain’, and ‘The Killer’s Inside’ are all quintessential Orlando/Allen material. Somewhere between hard rock, heavy metal, and AOR, the songs on We the People are either foot-stomping groove masters or heavy-hitting rock epics. “We the People has a pulse to it,” continues Allen. “There’s a constant energy on it. It has a unique energy, like it’s always on the move. We wanted the songs to drive. Like when we’re in a car. We wanted the songs to move.”
Emotionally and physically, Adrenaline Mob are back in the groove on We the People. “Adrenaline Mob is, from day one, all about the groove & the songs,” Orlando grins. “The hard hitting stuff. It’s never about one thing. We’ve had incredible players in the band, but it’s the groove & flow that’s important. It’s the way the music makes you feel. There’s a hop to it. In a way, I took it back to the Omertá album.”
Recorded once again at Sonic Stomp Studios over a year-plus period, We the People sounds huge. Each riff is massive, every drum hit a chest-thumping pound, and each line Russell vocalizes exudes unbelievable power and heart. Life-changing events may’ve halted Adrenaline Mob, but the group’s third full-length is proof positive they’re stronger now than they’ve ever been. Tracks like the raging ‘Blind Leading the Blind’, the big-hitting ‘King of the Ring’, the rhythmically wicked ‘What Do You Really Want’, and the rock radio-tailored title track evince purpose and authority. In every way, We the People puts the hard in hard rock. And the metal in heavy. Orlando was responsible for composing the music, engineering, recording, co-producing, mixing, and mastering and that all says one thing: the dude’s a beast. Along with the incredible talents & amazing voice of his co-producing partner Allen who is by far one of rocks greatest voices, the two seem unstoppable on We The People.
As the title, We the People, indicates there’s a political side to Adrenaline Mob. Throughout their years as a musicians and songwriters, they hadn’t stayed silent on matters significant. Whether they were masked in metaphor or flatly conspicuous, they’ve always poured their feelings into song. It was, as Orlando puts it, a form of catharsis. So, as they were watching the presidential campaigns, feeling the negativity—the constant bickering and finger pointing—they knew Adrenaline Mob’s next venture would be impacted. In fact, the first song Orlando began writing for We the People was the politically-charged rocker ‘Blind Leading the Blind’. “The title track is very much inspired by the past election year,” confirms Allen. “It touches on our society, here in America. The album title is a reflection of our times. The songs have certain particular stories that stand on their own. Many of them are also driven by the climate we live in today & some are about having a good time, being free & loving rock n roll. All the tracks have a personality and character to them.”
That being said, Adrenaline Mob are careful not to conform to typical partisanship. “I have my political views, but they’re not here,” Orlando says. “As songwriters, myself & Russell try to not take sides. We want to write about what’s going on. There are a few tracks that tell a story of today’s climate. It’s our take on it. The title, We the People, is evidence of that. So, the songs are more like a story, but a story in this day and age is a fine line. Really, we’re not out to alienate people. Music is supposed to bring people together. That’s what Adrenaline Mob is about. And, I think, We the People is the best Adrenaline Mob we have done so far.”
Undoubtedly, the re-energized Adrenaline Mob will face adversity with We the People. But the strong always rise. Adrenaline Mob have proven they have the fortitude and music to prevail over anything. We the People, folks. It’s time to rise up with Adrenaline Mob!