TIM DONAHUE Reveals Behind-The-Scenes Details Of MADMEN & SINNERS Title Track Featuring DREAM THEATER Vocalist JAMES LABRIE; Remastered Version Posted
July 13, 2020, 23 days ago
Fretless / harp guitarist Tim Donahue - who released the self-titled Madmen & Sinners album with Dream Theater's James LaBrie in 2004 - has posted a remastered version of the epic title track. It is prefaced with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the song. Check it out below.
Donahue spoke exclusively with BraveWords about his activity over the last couple months, which has seen him revisiting music in his catalogue and remastering it to post on Facebook.
Donahue: "Since live performances are no longer possible, I've been keeping a pace with remastering older material, and material that has never been released. So much material... I wonder how I ever had the time to make so much music. So with the COVID crisis, I have the time to go back to hundreds of works and enjoy them while making simple vids to go along with each post on FB."
Four songs from the recording sessions for the Madmen & Sinners album (2004) featuring Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie were never released, but Donahue decided to stream them online in 2016. He contacted BraveWords with an exclusive update:
"I've decided to post the tracks I've hung onto for a while of me, James and Mike (Mangini). James sang exactly as I had written the pieces, and he sang his heart out. It's just not right to let them sit with no one hearing them, so here they are in their unfinished glory."
The songs in order are:
"A Heartbeat Away"
"All That Remains"
Tim Donahue: electric harp guitar. bass, vocals, vocal manipulations
James LaBrie: vocals
Mike Mangini: drums
Written & produced by Tim Donahue
BraveWords scribe Carl Begai spoke with Donahue about Madmen & Sinners and the "lost" second album.
In 2000, Niagara native Tim Donahue made a small international splash with Into The Light, a solo record showcasing his skills as a fretless guitarist featuring current Foreigner vocalist Kelly Hansen. A year later he began working on a significantly heavier batch of songs that were unashamedly metal-influenced and came with a wish list of potential singers. During a meeting in Toronto over burgers and beer, I had the honour of hearing what would eventually become the Madmen & Sinners album. Asked who I felt would be the best voice for the material, I suggested Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie, unaware his name was at the top of Donahue’s list. Contact was made, plans were hatched, and in 2004 the duo released the Madmen & Sinners debut, an album unique to their respective careers. It was new territory for both Donahue and LaBrie, and ground they (sadly) haven’t returned to since.
“I don’t play the six-string fretless at all anymore unless I’m asked, like for the tracks on Nozomi Itani’s album (Station To Station from 2012). That was the first time I picked up the fretless in many years. Other than that I play the fretless harp guitar. I hate to say it, but the harp guitar has so much going on that when I pick up the six-string I yawn (laughs). I don’t mean that as anything against traditional guitars but the harp guitar kicks my ass and takes me to places I’ve never been.”
Although it’s been over 10 years since the release of Madmen & Sinners, the record still holds a special place in Donahue’s heart.
“I love the heaviness of the tunes. There are a lot of heavy bands out there and I’m certainly not the heaviest guitarist, but the songs and the actual writing, I think that’s why the music hits you in the heart even though some of the songs are really heavy.”
“You should hear the stuff I wrote after that,” he continues. “I could have released the second album through EMI but the harp guitar kind of called me and took me away. There is a second Madmen album written and I like it better than the first one. I love the first album; I don’t like the way the recording sounds but I love the music. The second album is deeper but… maybe in another life.”
LaBrie’s participation on a second Madmen & Sinners album was never written in stone, but there is unreleased material with his vocals on them. Four tracks to be exact, albeit incomplete.
“I have these extra tracks with James singing on them,” Donahue confirms. “He really wanted to do them and I said that if we had enough time after we finished the first album, we would. We were in the studio and he really pushed to do those other four tracks.”
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