Interview by Robert Cavuoto
Andrew Freeman, vocalist for Last in Line and Raiding the Rock Vault has released a tremendous CD entitled Devil’s Hand with guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist Mike Slamer this past December via Frontiers Music SRL.
Devil’s Hand rips with raw emotion, powerful guitar riffs, and incredible melodies from the first song to the last. Andrew delivers some soulful singing while Mike plays with vigor giving the CD its searing power. There are eleven melodic hard rock tunes that will appeal to any music fan. I caught up with Andrew to talk about Devil’s Hand and what fans can expect from the next Last in Line CD!
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me how the CD with Mike Slamer came about?
Andrew Freeman: It was a great collaboration between Mike and me. He wrote all the music then they sent me the tracks to write the lyrics and melodies. With a little bit of arranging we completed the CD. I’m really pleased with the way it turned out.
Robert Cavuoto: How long were you working on it with Mike?
Andrew Freeman: I completed the vocals in about three months but then didn’t hear anything from Mike for over a year. They sent it to me and said it was done. I put as much as I could into it and then it was all with Mike to work on and complete.
Robert Cavuoto: Two of my favorite tracks are “Drive Away” as it showcases the power or your voice and “Devil’s Hand” because it’s a fierce rocking song. What can you tell me about each?
Andrew Freeman: “Devil’s Hand” is my favorite too! It has a “Whole Lotta Rosie” vibe before Mike added the Van Halen type guitar on top. I wanted to make it an anthemic rock song. For “Drive Away” when I heard the music, I felt it had a driving vibe. I live out in Las Vegas and always driving through the desert, so I wanted to bring that idea to life about getting into the car and putting the pedal to the floor. I never wrote a song about cars or driving so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do something different.
Robert Cavuoto: I know you play guitar, did you play on any of the tracks?
Andrew Freeman: No, I played bass on one of the tracks that was released in Japan. We needed an extra song, so I cut one with two guys I know. I always want to play an instrument but when you have a guitarist like Mike we were set.
Robert Cavuoto: I saw Last in Line twice in 2017, and you did an amazing job channeling Ronnie. It’s very apparent to the fans that the band has incredible on-stage comradery and chemistry. What does that feel like when you are on stage with these guys?
Andrew Freeman: It’s a fun band to play with; we don’t have a ton of stage production other than creating a set list. We’re not at the point where we can bring a lot of production out with us. I feel we are a band that is all about the playing aspect and not really about the image. The guys are very visual when they play and draw a lot of attention which I think comes across well. We are pretty invested in this project, so it was great to be able to do these classic tunes that everybody knows which is part of everyone’s DNA. Then we like to bring in some new songs which in my opinion measures up to the classics. If something doesn’t stand up to the Dio material, then we just don’t do it. We haven’t really had that problem though. I can see why people are connecting to us as we are having a blast, when we go on stage we don’t care if we are being accepted. We are not that needy. We just do what we do and if people gravitate towards us than that is fantastic. There are some that don’t, but the majority does.
Robert Cavuoto: The new Last in Line CD will be out on February 22nd, tell me about the progression of the band’s sound from the first CD to the new one and even going back further to the sound of the classic Dio albums?
Andrew Freeman: It’s hard to escape our sound with Vivian on guitar and Vinny on drums. They are “that sound,” and when they play together, that’s what comes out. It’s the sound of the first three albums. Also on the first five or six albums, you have Vinny playing drums with his odd time signature and unique drumming approach. We definitely do a lot of the mid-tempo rockers as well as some fast “Stand up and Shout” type of songs. We don’t go into writing a CD saying we need this or that type of song. We are not looking to recreate any songs. It’s a very organic thing when we get into a room and start jamming. Phil brings a lot to the band as well as a well-rounded musician and audio engineer. It’s an evolved sound, but it’s our sound. There will still be a couple of surprises on the new CD.
Robert Cavuoto: I heard the song “Landslide,” and it falls in line nicely with the band’s sound.
Andrew Freeman: That was one of the first songs that we worked on for the album. It was the first and the quickest song we wrote. It has a more commercial vibe. It just comes across in the music and was a product of getting in a room and jamming.
Robert Cavuoto: How did you find the time to record the new CD with Vivian on tour with Def Leppard a good part of the year?
Andrew Freeman: Between touring schedules and everyone’s busy schedule we tried to find a slot. The guys live in LA, and I’m out in Vegas. We picked a slot of four days and got into a room to jam. The idea was not to make full songs just to get ideas on tape. It could be arranged at a later date. This CD came together a lot quicker than the first CD. Nobody wanted to bring parts or completed songs to the mix. I know it’s an overused word, but it happens organically as a band. They would do their bit, record them, and then send me the MP3 files. I would put them on ProTools and to start writing lyrics. It was more focused this way provided the recordings from rehearsal are clear. From there I can start building vocal tracks with harmonies, so when we get together again, we start from there. It makes things a lot easier.
Robert Cavuoto: You could have called this new CD anything in the world, but you chose to call it II.
Andrew Freeman: We could have called it anything in the world…that is for sure. ANYTHING at all [laughing]! It was Vinny’s idea to call it II. I think its throwing back to Led Zeppelin II and Van Halen II. It’s a no-frills title. I really don’t think we were expecting a second CD, heck we weren’t expecting a first one [laughing]. I had no idea that Heavy Crown would have been as well received as it was. We were very lucky to get a second CD and hopefully get a third.
Robert Cavuoto: With two CDs under the band’s belt, will you still be playing Dio songs?
Andrew Freeman: We will put more of our own songs in the set; we can’t go out with Vivian and Vinny and not play the bigger hits like “Rainbow in the Dark,” and “We Rock.” I think they will always be in the set list. It would be a disservice to the fans and our history. Plus they play the songs correctly because they wrote the songs!
Robert Cavuoto: Was it a tough decision to continue on without Jimmy?
Andrew Freeman: It was one of those things where these three guys were going to get back together with a new singer to revisit the chemistry they had. When one of those elements is not there, it could change the sound. There was a tour booked which we canceled, and there were some bigger shows that we did with Phil and a keyboard player. It worked out, we started to get offers, and it evolved from there. I don’t know if we were expected the reception we got.
Robert Cavuoto: Will any New York or New Jersey shows be added to your upcoming tour?
Andrew Freeman: Being a 30-year victim of New York; as I grew up there and having family in New Jersey I’m sure something will be announced.
Order the new album here: