Song River: Fifth Freedom... seems to be a reason behind the band's name. Story?
Alan: The name started as a joke when I formed the band as a teen with my brother Dan who is now in the army. The story was in this country we have basic rights of freedom of speech, religion, freedom from want, freedom from fear and We always felt that the only time we were truly free was when we were onstage playing music or creating it. So the band itself became our "Fifth Freedom" or our ultimate freedom. It stuck and when he parted ways he told me to never give up and I never did.
SR: Fifth Freedom came together and developed about what year?
Alan: Dan and I started in 2005, however, the band didn't really get rolling until about 2007. That's when Gary (drums) came in, that's when we started getting really serious about writing, paying shows and getting radio play.
SR: What were some of the driving factors that created the band's ability to take the technique of the bands playing up another notch? (As you can hear the seriousness of what has been created on the album.)
Alan: Well thank you, that's much appreciated! I think a big part of that is how we write. We all have our respective roles and have a pretty good feel of where to pick our spots. Seth (bass) and Gary (drums) are very meticulous about crafting their parts. Ian (guitar) and I have a sort of unspoken chemistry when it comes to writing guitar parts. They sort of fall out of our pockets. I think however the biggest factor was our engineer/producer Jon Wyman had a huge role in this respect because he made sure we had everything down to the note before we even laid anything down. He gets the best out of anyone!
SR: How did the feel of heavy rock and bluesy rock come out of Portland, ME?
Alan: Honestly it didn't. (Laughs) We are one of the only rock n roll bands around up here. We just play the style of music that we love from our hearts. We aren't afraid of wearing our influences or hearts on our sleeves.
SR: "Midnight Rain" is a relatable track. The lyrics tell a story that seems believable. Can you talk about the story behind the song?
Alan: I love that this song is relatable and believable. This song is 100% a true story as is the rest of the record, but it sure does stand out. The short story would be in 2012 my life was falling apart due to a failed marriage and other things. I was really down and out. We then happened to meet the guys from Black Stone Cherry who would end up producing our first album in their hometown of Glasgow Kentucky. When we ended up going down there (actually this time of year, October 30th to be exact) a hurricane hit New England right when we were leaving. It got so bad a few times we had to pull off the road and didn't think we were gonna make it. Suffice it to say, we did. So, Driving to Kentucky in the Midnight Rain is quite a literal song about lost love and trying to move forward into certain uncertainty. The song came to be right before we hit the studio for Heartbreak and Hellfire and we almost didn't bring it to the table because I had two choruses for it. Seth then had the idea of doing the double chorus at the end which really brought it together. It's really cool something so beautiful and one of my favorite songs came out of all of it.
SR: Is a colored vinyl album of Heartbreak & Hellfire still available?
Alan: Yes, absolutely! You can order it online at www.BullMoose.com which is a twelve store record chain here in New England. They ship anywhere in the US. You can also purchase it at shows!
SR: Does the band have a particular song off your Heartbreak & Hellfire album that you all love to perform live?
Alan: That's a tough one. The whole record means quite a bit to all of us. I would say it's a toss-up between coming back for more, wise man and midnight rain.
SR: The tour circuit anywhere can be a challenge. How did the opportunity to perform with Blacktop Mojo come about?
Alan: We had played at Port City Music Hall here in Portland opening for Shamans Harvest and my girlfriend had actually shown me Blacktop Mojo a few days before and we saw they were coming. We were just going to go to the show and my good Friend Matt Bishop who got us the Shaman's Harvest Show called up the venue and that was that. Great guys, would love to play or tour with them again!
SR: What would you like to see develop with your band as you head into 2018?
Alan: I'd like to see us get on a few short tour runs and just get us in front of as many people as possible. We did get to do the Harddrive Live tour with Black Stone Cherry a couple years ago, that was the most amazing thing ever! Something like that would be awesome, or again, something with like Blacktop Mojo, Shaman's Harvest or Wayland. That'd be a cool show...
SR: Can we expect new music in the near future?
Alan: Probably, we are gonna take the late fall and early winter to take a little time off from shows to get back to writing and maybe even in the studio for a new single or EP for the spring or something. Who knows? The road is wide open!