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Riot Guitarist Flies Solo
Interviewed by Keith MacDonald
Most metal fans are well aware of the band Riot and all the accomplishments that they have had in their long career. Guitarist Mike Flyntz has decided to branch out on his own and has released a solo album with a little help from his friends now available through his website. Faith and Fire has been long in the works as Mike has been busy with the new release of Riot’s studio album as well as other projects. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike who gave me some insight into this new release.
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How did the Faith & Fire project come about?
The Faith and Fire conception. I started this project for two reasons. As a 17 year and counting member of RIOT it has been a honor to write, record and play live with Mark Reale (the founding guitarist). Each time we do a new record I usually contribute 2 or 3 songs and help with some of Mark’s compositions. After each album I’m always left over with material that the rest of the band didn’t like or maybe they felt didn’t fit the style of RIOT. I always wanted to record this other music and that’s what gave me the idea to put together another band.
The second reason is Tony Moore. Since he left RIOT in 1992, I have always wanted to work with him again. Over the years I spoke to him occasionally and in 2002 finally got the courage to approach him about doing this project. I knew it would be a long shot being that I had no financial backing. He was very interested and we started working together every Friday of each week.
Who is in the band?
The Band – Mike Flyntz guitar RIOT – Tony Moore vocal RIOT – Danny Miranda bass Queen, Blue Oyster Cult And John Miceli drums Meatloaf
How long have you wanted to do a solo project?
I have wanted to branch for about 10 years. Although I love RIOT music there are other styles that I play, and that I always wanted to record.
How would you describe the material?
The new Faith and Fire material is a mix of a lot of my different inspirations. Some of my favorite musicians growing up were; Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Gary Moore, Steve Morse, Randy Rhoads, Ace Frehley, Tony Iommi, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and of course the BEATLES. Although I know I am leaving a lot of them out, I learned to play guitar from wearing their records out.
With that said, add in Tony Moore and Danny Miranda. Tony has a wonderful sense of melody. He came up with vocal lines that I would never dream of. Add to that his huge vocal range and creative lyrics. Danny Miranda is in his own musical world, which I call Miranda music. The way he plays and writes music is beautiful. He is instantly recognizable. John Miceli is one of my favorite drummers. He is one of the most solid rock drummers out there today.
How long did it take to record this album?
The project was done over a three+ year period. It started at my house in my basement every Fri for a six-month period. We worked on my cubase studio on my apple G3 with me programming my Alesis drum machine as we wrote. Tony, Danny, and myself managed to write and record 13 songs in that time. We then approached John and he agreed to do it for no money, just for fun. Now we had a band.
We now started to rehearse so that we could record it for real. After approaching Paulie at Millbrook Sound Studio we made a deal to record it on days when he wasn’t booked at a very generous price. This period took a while. Between all of us the scheduling was difficult. The basic tracks were done in 8 days over a six month period. That sounds ridiculous but that’s what it took between our schedules and trying to finance it without any outside help. Then came vocals, solos and overdubs, which took another six-month period. Then came mixing and mastering and then printing the CD’s ourselves, which took another year. So hear we are.
Could you give me a track by track listing of each song and telling me what each song is about and how the song came about?
1 Ready; This is a song that started with a cool rhythm guitar thing that I used to warm up with. It is drop tuned and has some layered guitars. Danny brought in the changes under my “Brian may wanna be” guitar solo. Tony of course is responsible fot the lyrics and melody.
2. Villanelle; This is Danny’s baby. This is the “Miranda music” that I spoke of earlier. Tony did a great job with the lyrics and melody and I just did some guitar stuff and arranging.
3. Everything; this is a simple chord bashing thing I came up with. I thing I hummed the melody to Tony and he added all the harmonies in. I think it’s a good positive feel good song. I love Danny’s bass lines.
4. Radio Superstar; Fun, Campy, Let your hair down and just run with it.
5. Breathe ; Miranda Music at it’s best. When Danny showed me this I almost lost my bodily functions. I had to just play as much guitar as they would let me. Tony wrote one of my favorite choruses’s for this one.
6. Faith and Fire; This is a poppy type of song that inspired the name of the band. If we had a bigger budget, I mean a budget I would have liked this to come out a little heavier sounding.
7. Fallen; This is a fast one that is a lot of fun to play. I remember we recorded this on the first take.
8. Ashes; This is one piece of music that I had lying around for many years. When I played it for Tony he immediately wrote the lyrics about the ashes that were left on his apartment window following the twin towers coming down on 9/11. He only lives two blocks away and much of his lyrics on the record are based on that horrible day.
9. Avenue Z; Rhythm rock. Just us jamming some chords.
10. Accelerator; This is one of my favorites. It has a lot of rhythmic parts and some crazy vocal stuff. We didn’t have an ending so we just jammed and paulie left the tape running. It was totally improvised and I think you will be able to tell upon hearing it. Forgive the sloppy guitar playing at the end.
11. Angel; Miranda Music again. Tony wrote these beautiful words and melody and I added a bridge. John’s playing is so solid.
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What are the tour plans?
No touring planned yet but all of us would love to if we could figure out how to pay for it.
How can fans pick up the new CD?
The CD will be available on our website and on CD BABY, I Tunes, and other web based sites. Check our website.
How did you hook up with Danny Miranda and did his Queen touring schedule conflict with your recording schedule?
Danny and I have been friends for many years. We have played together in NY for over ten years in various projects. Most of his parts were finished before he landed the Queen gig.
Will this new record conflict with your Riot plans?
This release won’t conflict with the RIOT schedule because we don’t perform full time.
I see you released a new Riot album?
A new Riot record was just released in JULY in
How much has the hard rock scene changed over the years?
I could never figure out the rock scene’s different changes. I like heavy guitars, solos, and melodic vocals. Everything changes. You can’t try to follow the current hip thing because you’ll always be late. I think you have to be true to who you are and just do what you do best.
How much has the music scene changed?
With the Internet it might be easier then it used to for a new band to get recognition. We are known all over the world from our website and we haven’t released anything yet.
Are there plans for a follow-up album or is just a one-off?
We have already started writing for another record. I promise this will come out quicker then the first.
What’s the future for you and FOF?
Who know what the future holds. This has been a long ride for us. To put four guys together and record a record with no financial backing has been a small miracle.
I want to thank Paulie from Millbrook Sound Studios for his payment plan. I would also like to thank the fans for their patience over the last 3+ years. I hope you enjoy it.