KEN TAMPLIN and Friends
Wake The Nations
Song Haus Music

"A superb slice of Hard Rock!"

For years Ken has been assembling a swelling sea of loyal fans (see our feature story - Issue #55). First making his name know as the lead singer for Joshua (1982), he brought passion and grace in a voice, which is not only masculine, but tender as well. Often being compared to the baritone range of Whitesnake’s David Coverdale, Tamplin has been courted by such luminaries as Foreigner, Jeff Lynn and Peter Frampton. His own list of solo recordings number a dozen strong, including several releases with AOR giants Shout.

“Wake The Nation” is Tamplin’s highly anticipated group project, which includes a number of critically acclaimed musicians in their own right. The list reads like a fantasy with Marty Friedman /Guitar (Megadeth), Doug Aldridge /Guitar (Whitesnake/Dio), Reb Beach /Guitar (Winger/Whitesnake/Dokken), Kee Marcello /Guitar (Europe), Richie Kotzen /Guitar (Mr. Big and Poison), Jeff Watson /Guitar (Night Ranger), Pete Lesperance /Guitar (Harem Scarem), Jeff Scott Soto /Vocals (Yngwie Malmsteen), Howie Simon /Guitar (Jeff Scott Soto) and Stevie Salas/Guitar (Terrance Trent D’Arby) among others. The record follows Tamplin’s search for answers in a world scared by so much damage and offers hope in faith (“Blessed is the man who truly understands/ Who isn’t wearing love as his disguise,” Hare Kristians).

On his musical journey he combines searing hard rock with mid-tempo to slower paced numbers that draw the line between man, his actions and the call of the master. Standouts include “The Story Of Love,” the brilliant “Falling Houses” and blues-drenched “God In Heaven”. Cram packed with 18 songs and well over an hours worth of music, the record glistens with top-notch production and superb playing. That said, it never suffers from overproduction but nails it firmly on the head with impact and finesse.

The disc also includes a DVD with two videos and a selection of fan paraphernalia. For those of us who have never seen Tamplin live with a backing band – it’s quite a treat. Ken was kind enough to find room in his enormously busy schedule to answer several questions we had regarding “Wake The Nation” and it’s powerful message. Read on…

THE CUTTING EDGE: Whose idea was it for a DVD?

KEN TAMPLIN: The idea was both Howie Simon’s and myself. I wanted something extra to give fans as well as an incentive not to download, but to purchase the CD.

TCE: I loved it and it shows what your like as a performer. I’ve seen you twice but both were at the Ultrasound shows and though it was awesome I never got to see you front a rock band or see you as a rock performer.

TCE: Any plans to take this record on the road?

KT: I hope so. My greatest obstacle is that in order to do this kind of music justice, I need to hire great players which requires a decent chunk of change. Sometimes with this kind of music, it’s hard to get promoters to cover that and I simply can’t do that myself. I have in the past but it gets way too expensive.

TCE: You called in all your buddies in the industry to lend a hand on the CD. Who did you enjoy working with the most?

KT: I think I would have to say Howie Simon. He is a really consistant player. He always spends time knowing the material and working up his parts and even though sometimes he’s a pain in the as%$#, he’s hilariously funny.

TCE: Any great stories as the songs were coming together?

KT: Well this wasn’t during the songwriting but, things would happen like Stevie Salas shows up in a convertible with a huge surfboard sticking square out of his car. I didn’t know if I was getting Salas or Dick Dale! He brings his surfboard inside my place and was more concerned with finding out about the local “swells” than leaving his pre CBS stratocaster in the burning sun in the trunk of his car!

Reb Beach was pretty funny too bagging on me for the length of his solo saying “oh my gosh man, I didn’t know when you asked me to do this that you wanted Green Grass And High Tides (about a 7 minute song back in the 70’s that was mostly one long guitar solo by the group The Outlaws).

TCE: Did you write most of the material prior to recording or did they develop in the studio.

KT: All the material was written before we started recording

TCE: Your voice sounds great. Do you do any “special” type of warm up or vocal exercising?

KT: Absolutely, I have taken voice lessons for many years and always work out before tours and records.

TCE: Who are the kids on the cover art? Yours?

KT: Yes, those are my kids. They had a blast being on the cover of my record and I think it fits the theme perfectly.

TCE: I’m going to run through my favorite tracks, if you would care to comment that would be great. “The Story of Love” is a great kick off track – did you sequence the record?

KT: No the record was not sequenced. I had the drummer (Glen Sobel) play to some drum loops that I that would make for an interesting groove.

TCE: “We’ve Jihad Enough” – controversial anyway you look at it.

KT: For me, the whole record makes a lot of lyrical statements. Let’s start with songs like Hare Kristians. I have been a Christian for many years and even though most all of my music has been released in the secular (general) market and not at all just to Christians, I have taken criticizm from both sides. The Christians and the non Christians. For the non Christians I fully understand because they don’t profess a faith that is supposed to be a standard for love, compassion and understanding. Yet to the Christians, they most definitely are and yet unfortunately, I see very little of this compassion. So when you read the lyrics that are directed to the Christians (which I use the term Hare Kristian as though they are some sort of Zombie pretending or acting out something they either don’t understand or don’t really believe).

Here are the lyrics: “I see the people puttin’ folks down, so they can lift thenselves up. Passing judgement on the world and all their sin. Well let me tell you, in heaven sits a judge, no king can corrupt. How about we leave all the judging up to Him. I'm tired of all those Hare Kristians”.

In the cases of “We’ve Jihad Enough” and “Wake The Nations,” I have been trying to help stop some of the most evil acts in this world. The acts of genocide from Islamic extremism against anyone who does not want to convert to the religion of Islam. I don’t believe we can hide our head in the sand any longer. I also think this is true for the media. I think the media is completely biased for their own agenda, and rarely ever reports any news that does not fit their “Plan”. This could be for everything from political elections or painting a negative picture of Israelis. We need to not believe what we are being told and ‘Wake Up” and find out the truth for ourselves.

TCE: “Come Together” cooks with a cool anthem. Must see this on a large stage! Who is playing the piano? Awesome guitar solo!

KT: The solo is Doug Aldrich from Whitesnake/Dio and the Pinao is Ed Roth from Mya (who also plays with Glenn Hughes and Chris Impelliteri)

TCE: There are so many classic moments on this disc – Man With A Plan, Wake The Nations, Falling Houses, Mystery, Livin’ Large. Any one in particular you would like to talk about?

KT: “The Man With A Plan” was somewhere between Motown and Bad Company with Jeff Watson from Night Ranger doing the guitar solo. “Falling Houses” I think is one of the strongest melodic rock songs I’ve done to date which was co written with Howie Simon and deal with the issues of broken homes. “Livin’ Large” is about the plastic entertainment industry as a whole.

TCE: Ken, thanks for sticking to your guns and staying true to your Christian beliefs. Today’s music needs that guiding force. I love the lyrics to “Sing” as well as “God In Heaven”, “Peace On Earth” and “Every Day Is Precious”. Thank you for the inspiration.

KT: I enjoy inspiring people.

TCE: Jeff Watson, Stevie Salas, Ritchie Kotzen, and Marty Friedman give the record a real metal vibe. However, Howie sounds awesome. I actually like his playing as much, possible more that some of the guests. He brings a lot of dexterity to the songs.

KT: I fully agree with you. I think that is why he now also plays guitar for Talisman, Jeff Scott Soto and Graham Bonnet.

TCE: How did you hook up with Scott Van Zen? What did he bring to the project?

KT: I have worked with Scott for many years. He is a talented guitar player (especially the blues). I met him through a referral agency about 10 years ago.

TCE: You and Jeff Scott Soto sound amazing – Do you have plans to work together in the future?

KT: Yes we do. On my next CD as well as several other (secret) “guest” vocalists.

TCE: How did you orchestrate the different musician, their schedules and studio time to pull this off?

KT: Believe it or not it was pretty easy. Everyone was pretty gracious and very timely. Only one person hung me out a little bit. Other than that, everyone was great to work with.

TCE: How did you end up on Song Haus Music?

KT: I auditioned several labels and almost signed with two different ones but had a queezy feeling about them. Dane Spencer from Song Haus music has done everything he said he would.

Right after our interview, it was announced by CD Universe that Ken Tamplin’s “Wake The Nations” held the #1 spot for the sixth straight week.

"All of the songs are compact compositions with expressive choruses where Ken dominates with his incredible vocal performance" - Firegoat

"This record is coming to resurrect or better yet, wake our long forgotten love for Hard Rock. " - Heavy Metal Mania

"Tamplin delivers a melodic rock classic with enough pomp and big harmony choruses to make an X-Radio station programmer nauseous to the extreme." - Hard Music Magazine

A special thanks to Ken Tamplin for his time. All live photos taken from Ken Visit his website by clicking: Ken Tamplin