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A Dirty Dozen with THE INFECTION – February 2019

| 19 February 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Forming just two years ago, New York City’s The Infection has quickly infiltrated the hard rock scene with their heavy modern grooves and accessible hooks and melodies. Now, after teaming up with renowned Engineer Anthony Rocky Gallo (John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, The Cult), they are releasing their debut single “Consequences” on Friday, February 15 and their full album Time To Heal Friday, March 8. Featuring veteran musicians Rick Dunn (Vocals), Tommy Guarnieri (Guitar), Santiago Helman (Bass) and Vinnie LaRocca (Drums), The Infection describes their songs as “hard rock with meaning” and according to Dunn, they always strive to connect with their fans on multiple levels. This raw emotion that is conveyed throughout the writing was brought to life in the studio thanks to Gallo’s precise recording style and unique perspective on the project.” We get the band to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Vinnie: I think when people listen to this album they are going to hear how diverse the band really is. We never set out to write in any particular style or genre, we just brought our individual influences to the room and started writing. I truly believe listeners will pick up on this right away.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Rick: I’ve been singing as far back as I can remember. My gramps used to have this really deep bass voice and I remember him singing and smiling all the time. He would encourage me to sing along with him. Also, my older brother Mark. He and his friends were big metal heads (except for my brother’s secret love for Laura Branigan and Janet Jackson). I think that really cemented hard rock into my life.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Rick: That’s a tough one because my musical taste is so broad. You know how it is… just because I create and love to sing hard rock, it’s not the only thing that I listen to. Granted, it’s definitely my first choice. It’s still hard to choose just one performer – If I had to it would probably be a tossup between Axl and Chris Cornell. Specific live show, though – I love outdoor festivals. They were definitely some of the highlights of my summers. Those rock shows in particular drove me to want to be on stage.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Tommy: I can’t say that it’s five individual people. I’ll break it down into five “Categories”. First was definitely my father. He was a musician and I saw what it was like to get prepared for gigs. He taught me the importance of having a good work ethic for practicing and being proficient at your instrument. Second would also be my Dad for his diverse musical palette. He exposed me to a lot of music from different eras – from 50’s to The Beatles, Fogerty/CCR, and Country artists like The Oak Ridge Boys, Mickey Gilley, and Vince Gill. Third, I studied classical guitar in high school and college so for guitar playing it would have to be John Williams for classical guitar, and for rock/metal John Petrucci from Dream Theater and Randy Rhoads. Randy being my absolute favorite guitar player ever. Fourth, composition-wise, I’d say the classical guitarist Augustin Barrios, film composer John Williams and The Beatles – the later stuff like Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper and The White Album. And number five, as far as the sound I bring to the band, my guitar sound is definitely more rooted in Metallica and Dream Theater.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Tommy: Devin Townsend. Because Devin. Hands down. Seriously though, I’m a HUGE Devin fan since he first did the Vai – Sex and Religion album.  I love his entire body of work plus the stuff he’s done as a producer for other bands. His composition, mixing and production is absolutely phenomenal. He’s definitely my favorite solo artist of all time.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Santiago: I find it difficult to categorize our music to a specific genre or style. Instead, I would describe our music as a conglomerate, shaped on each of our individual influences. I guess predominately we could be described as a hard/heavy rock band that incorporates elements of contemporary heavy music styles alongside melodic vocal lines.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Rick: To me, the best feeling in the world when people appreciate your art. That one person who comes up to you after a show to tell you how much they liked it, or people singing the lyrics back at you. The feeling of getting off stage after a killer set… and then there’s the product. I have finished albums that I can look back on and be proud of. There’s not many other positions out there that can make you feel so elated, proud and a part of something all at once. Also, it’s awesome to be creating special moments for other people. Hearing a song can make a person remember a time or place where that song had meaning to them.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Tommy: Well, the majority of our time has been spent in the studio writing and recording. During recording at Virtue and Vice Studios in Brooklyn, Rick was usually the one ordering the meals, mainly because he was most familiar with some of the better places for food in the area. As far as the drinks go we try to stay pretty clear while writing and during shows. When we get off stage it’s a totally different story. We’re not monks or anything, but we really want to give the best show we possibly can. When we’re goofing off in the studio, it’s not so much pulling out the acoustic for sing alongs, but rather someone or all of us cracking jokes and temporarily derailing whatever we’re working on. Rick and I are without a doubt the two immature clowns in the band. So when he and I get going, all bets are off. Sometimes I wonder if we should be allowed in the same room with each other let alone play in the same band. We get pretty juvenile sometimes.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Vinnie: Well I wouldn’t say star struck, but I almost ran over Brooke Shields while driving in lower Manhattan. Does that count? LOL.

Santiago: The last time I was star struck was while attending Dream Theater’s concert during their last tour at Radio City. I was very impressed by their flawless performance and stage presence and production.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Vinnie: LOL. I thought being a musician was the dream job. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Rick: there’s probably a few of them lol. I guess, I would have started taking this seriously sooner. It’s one of those things where I started to follow the ‘normal’ life’s path and got into the rat race. Live to work so you can buy a house, retire etc… I saw all my friends living life this way, giving up on certain dreams and aspirations. Not to say they’ve chosen the wrong path either. It just wasn’t the path for me and I wasn’t ready to give up on my dreams. I got myself back on my own path, though I wish I had realized sooner. No matter, I’m here now.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Santiago: Black Album by Metallica.

Tommy: That one is easy – Sgt. Pepper. I don’t even have to think about it. That album is probably the single most important rock/pop album to ever be recorded. George Martin and Geoff Emerick changed the way music was recorded with that album. To me, when I hear just the name alone Sgt. Pepper, I think diversity and innovation in every aspect. From the instrumentation to the use of the studio and recording techniques themselves as instruments to the diverse musical and cultural influences both on the album and stemming from the album, it’s an absolutely incredible work of art. Revolver was really a turning point for them stylistically, but Sgt. Pepper took things to a whole new level.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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