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Russ & SymX get a write up in an NJ newspaper

Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by Jax, Nov 23, 2002.

  1. Jax

    Jax Forum Goddess

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    Posted on the SymX Mailing List by Jeff Gutenberg, from the Bergen Record:



    Headline: JOUSTING FOR NEW POSITION


    Sub-Headline: Singer gives up his knight job


    by BRIAN ABERBACK (Staff Writer)


    Russell Allen grew up in Southern California, the perfect place for
    pursuing his dream of playing in a heavy metal band. A native of
    Whittier, a Los Angeles suburb, the singer was just a stone's throw
    from the music industry capital, the destination of choice for
    countless young musicians across the country looking to score a record
    deal.

    Yet Allen, fresh out of high school in 1990, didn't steer toward the
    City of Angels. Instead, he headed east to a most unlikely locale:
    Lyndhurst.

    "I didn't come out here to be in a metal band, " explained Allen,
    vocalist for New Jersey progressive metallers Symphony X, who play a
    sold-out show at the World in Manhattan on Saturday. "I came out here
    to work at Medieval Times."

    Allen, who excelled in singing and acting as a student, began working
    at the Buena Park, California, Medieval Times while in high school.
    The company presents a Middle Ages-themed dinner show featuring knights
    who compete in a jousting tournament. When Medieval Times decided to
    open a Lyndhurst location, Allen was one of the knights enlisted to
    help get things off the ground.

    "I was supposed to be here for six months," said Allen, 31, a
    Lyndhurst resident. "I met a girl and I met a bunch of really great
    people. The girl I met I'm still with. It's turned out to be 12
    years."

    Allen didn't give up his metal dreams after moving to Bergen County.
    When not performing at Medieval Times, he would trade his lance for a
    microphone, singing with local blues-grunge outfit Sin River.

    His powerful voice, influenced by metal heavyweights like Ronnie James
    Dio and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, soon caught the attention of
    Symphony X, which asked him to join in 1994.

    Allen's soaring vocals seemed a perfect fit for the Central
    Jersey-based band, which is known for its elaborate compositions and
    the blazing fretwork of guitar wizard Michael Romeo. But Allen felt
    his vocals would be lost beneath the whirlwind of notes that careen
    through the band's songs, and he turned down the offer.

    "I was turned off," Allen said, speaking by phone from Manhattan. "It
    was something I wasn't into. There was no room for the singing."

    Six months later, Symphony X came calling again. This time, Allen was
    more optimistic.

    "I heard a couple of tracks that had a decent vocal line," he said. "I
    figured, if I can do my thing on top of it, maybe it'll be cool. And
    it seemed like I could learn a lot. They were very well-educated in
    music theory, and I knew I could branch out in ways I couldn't in
    straight blues-rock bands."

    Allen made his Symphony X debut on the group's second album, "The
    Damnation Game," and has been with the band since. Symphony X released
    its sixth album, "The Odyssey," on Inside Out Music earlier this month.

    "The Odyssey" further cements the band's reputation as one of metal's
    most talented, and overlooked, acts. Romeo's frenetic guitars and
    Michael Pinnella's equally masterful keyboard work frame an aggressive
    sound that sits somewhere between Yngwie Malmsteen and Dream Theater.

    Allen's vocals are a big reason why Symphony X, which also includes
    bassist Mike LePond and drummer Jason Rullo, stand out in the
    prog-metal scene. Allen brings a bluesy soulfulness to Symphony X
    that's largely absent in a genre known more for technical prowess than
    straight-from-the-gut emotion.

    Allen attributes his blues leanings to the influence of singers like
    Bad Company's Paul Rodgers and former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert
    Plant.

    "I'm not afraid to try anything," Allen said. "If the music is there
    and I think it calls for a different type of singing, I'll give it a
    try." While Symphony X has played many single shows on the East Coast,
    its current road trip supporting Blind Guardian is Symphony X's first
    extensive U.S. tour.

    Progressive metal, a genre in which songs sometimes feature more time
    signatures than melodies, is an acquired taste, and far from
    commercially accessible. While the band has a small but devoted fan
    base in the States, Symphony X has had considerable success overseas,
    especially in France, Japan and South America.

    "Even though the band's been around for a while, it's literally brand
    new in America," Allen said. "It's fun to be new again. It's given the
    whole band a boost."

    Allen can still be found occasionally at Medieval Times. When he's
    not busy with Symphony X - an increasingly rare occurrence - he helps
    out behind the scenes with sound and lighting. His jousting days,
    however, are behind him.

    "The band's just too important," Allen said. "It's just not worth it
    for me to risk getting hurt and not being able to play."


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----


    Staff writer Brian Aberback's e-mail address is aberback@northjersey.com
     
  2. Dado-x

    Dado-x Senior Citizen

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    Allright!
     
  3. Metaldrumz

    Metaldrumz Member

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    Russell is just such a fucking amazing singer! He has got to be the best live singer, I have ever seen. The stage presence, and the power, and emotion behind his voice is nuts. Hes also a great guy to boot. I still feel very priviledged to be able to shoot the breeze for a little bit at a small pub in Worcester , MA. They totally solidified why they are one of my top 5 all time favorite bands!
     
  4. ProgMetalFan

    ProgMetalFan In the attic

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    That was a great article. It is inspiring to see that Symphony X is receiving some coverage in newspapers.
     
  5. Lady Of The Snow

    Lady Of The Snow Incompatible

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    Great article. Very well written.
     
  6. Ultimate_Symphony

    Ultimate_Symphony Rusted Angel

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    Cool article thanks :D
     
  7. symonyx

    symonyx New Metal Member

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  8. RETIREDTrapped

    RETIREDTrapped New Metal Member

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    "Allen brings a bluesy soulfulness to Symphony X "

    :err:


    ....or..... not.
     

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