Firstborne (Adler, LoMenzo) Debut Thrashy Journey Cover ‘Separate Ways’
Firstborne — the band comprised of drummer Chris Adler (ex-Lamb of God, ex-Megadeth), bassist James LoMenzo (ex-White Lion, ex-Megadeth), guitarist Myrone and singer Girish Pradhan — have partnered with Loudwire to bring you the exclusive premiere of their thrashy cover of Journey's pounding fan-favorite, "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)."
On their original songs, Firstborne embrace a mix of classic heavy metal and rock with shades of thrash to give the music a deft balance between aggressive and anthemic.
With "Separate Ways" Firstborne retain their core values, indulging their anthemic side just a bit more, as is only natural when tackling this stomp 'n' pomp classic. The same plodding, nervous edge that plays out over the verse is perfectly intact and it's the chorus that gets a boost courtesy of Adler's kick drum flurries that beef this up with modern metal overtones.
"It's hard to not appreciate Journey," said Adler.
"As a musician I’ve always greatly appreciated their individual talents that combined into something so contagious," the drummer continued. "I’ve always wanted to cover a Journey song and always thought of ‘Separate Ways’ as their 'heaviest.' The problem was always the same. No one can sing it. When I met and performed with Girish across India I knew I’d met one of very few people in the world that could take this on and make it his own. That’s the goal of the group. We can do anything — let’s have fun and share."
The track comes on the heels of the recently released original single, "Sacred Lights" as Firstborne continue to churn out fresh songs following the five-track self-titled EP, which came out earlier this year in June.
Listen to Firstborne's cover of Journey's "Separate Ways" below and read our interview with LoMenzo and Myrone further down the page.
Firstborne, "Separate Ways" (Journey Cover)
FIRSTBORNE — INTERVIEW
Do you remember the first time you heard “Separate Ways” or, at least, have a recollection of this song from your youth?
James Lomenzo: I was a fan of Journey’s from their very first album released in 1975. When Escape came out in ’81, I was totally sucked in — so many great songs!
Everyone was really interested in their next record, which was Frontiers. "Separate Ways" was so cool! It had a decidedly heavier edge and Steve Perry’s grittier vocal style seemed to give the song and the band a brand new coat of paint.
I remember thinking, “This sounds angry. After the huge success of Escape what have they go to be so angry about?" [laughs]
Myrone: I vaguely remember hearing this as a kid in the car. There's something about the way that urgent synth line gets juxtaposed with the absolutely insane, crushing guitar riff that just activates all of the good brain chemicals.
What else were you listening to at the time and how did this song compare?
JL: There was a lot of new metal stuff around that time. Interestingly, "Separate Ways" seemed in the ballpark as far as aggression.
The original music video is widely regarded as the embodiment of cringeworthy. There’s a certain campiness to the '80s that seems to be embraced more and more today under the guise of ‘take your music seriously, but not yourselves.’ What do you miss most about that time period (other than album sales)?
JL: I think if we weren’t separated by the pandemic, I could probably persuade Firstborne to do a similar, albeit more ironic, version of that wonderfully awful video.
M: Well, I wasn't alive, so I wouldn't really know, but I will tell you, the one maxim that has guided my entire experience in the music industry is that it's supposed to be fun. There are so many better ways of making money in this lifetime, so if I'm going to make a living doing music, it HAS to be fun.
Doing this full-time is stressful. There's so many emotions involved and the correlation between hours put in and money received isn't always positive. When I spend 90 billion hours crafting the perfect guitar solo for a track that ultimately doesn't make the record, you better bet your bottom dollar I had a good time doing it or I wouldn't have done it at all.
Another note on the music video regarding the woman who is a central figure… have any of you, at any point, ever owned a white leather jacket? It’s pretty much the coolest rock ’n’ roll accessory.
JL: My brother Peter picked one up back then. I alas, only had my standard issue black Schott motorcycle jacket.
M: I've only worked up to the Canadian tuxedo phase of my wardrobe. I'm hoping that with a little more time, effort, and maybe some blood and tears, I too can one day achieve the white leather jacket look.
Neal Schon’s abilities seem to fly under the radar with the younger generations. What was so impactful about his style?
JL: Again, I was on board with Journey from their first album. They were actually more of a progressive band, so I was already hip to Schon’s amazing ability, let alone his playing in Santana previously. He has it all — fire, fury and taste!
M: One of my favorite things about Neal Schon is that he was one of Prince's favorite guitar players. It makes sense. Neal can rip it up with the best of them, but he can also write the Hell out of a song, which I think is more impressive than any of the technical stuff. Also... his guitar collection? Insane. Legendary ripper.
As a bassist, what excites you the most about playing a steady arena rocker versus something more technically-minded?
JL: I like it all — technical, simple. Bass in giant arenas works best if it’s simple and to the point, but If people are sharing live music, any kind, then that’s where it’s at. I’ll say that having toured with AC/DC early on, I came to really appreciate arena rock in it’s best light —fill that giant room with something big, broad and powerful!
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