A Historical Perspective

The Storm Project was born in the early 90’s and it took quite a while to get things going with it.  In 1995, Raven enlisted the help of famed Dio and Black Sabbath engineer, Angelo Arcuri, to begin work on the Storm Project album. 

After much searching for musicians to get involved, Raven ran into legendary Sabbath and Dio drummer, Vinny Appice at the NAMM Show of 1996, and asked him if he would play drums for the record.  Vinny obliged, and a few months later, he joined Raven in the studio with Angelo and began laying tracks.

Further issues with finding musicians ended with an invitation from Raven’s friend, Olof Sanner, to come to Sweden to record the rest of the record.  Olof played bass, and recruited his friend, Monica Hermanson, to play keyboards.  They laid rhythm guitar, bass, and keyboard tracks down at a studio that Olof worked at with Anders Wagberg, the producer of Swedish pop-group, Sonic Dream.  Anders heard Raven playing in the studio and asked him to play on a few of their songs, which he was happy to do.  That album, “Dustproof,” was released later the next year.

During one pass through London, Raven stopped at Hoxton Studios and worked with Benji Lefevre, former right-hand man to Jimmy Page himself during the Led Zeppelin days.  Benji created what are now called the “London Mixes,” which featured Randy Williams on vocals.  One of these, “Blood for Love,” can be heard on the Storm Project Reverb Nation page.  The rest are being considered for release on Reverb Nation.

While in Sweden, Raven found Ulf Wahberg of XTC Productions in Stockholm, who came aboard as Raven’s manager.  Raven went through a few possibilities with singers before finding Reggie Richards back home in Las Vegas, and the record was finally finished in the end of 2001.  However, the rushed production in the face of the 2002 MIDEM Convention that January caused the record to suffer.  Time and money running short, and ear fatigue setting in, flaws and mistakes were missed.  In spite of the flaws, it received great reviews and interest from several labels at the MIDEM Convention.  Most of them, however, wanted to hear a more “polished” production before considering signing the project.

Raven went back to the drawing board with the mostly-finished record, sans Richards, who literally disappeared, and nobody has seen him since.  He began looking for another singer, and wasn’t having a lot of luck for a while.  The economic impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks made things even more difficult with work becoming scarce, and studio time becoming more expensive.

Two songs were later re-recorded with Lee Edwards singing lead… “Broken Mirror,” and “Reach for the Sky.”  Lee is brilliant on these songs, and these particular recordings are popular among Storm Project fans.  Lee intended to record more songs, but moved away from Las Vegas.  The door, however, has not closed.  They are in contact, and will hopefully finish more tracks in the near future.

In 2003, after becoming a Guitar Center “Guitarmaggedon” regional winner, Scott Dickensheets of the Las Vegas Weekly magazine flattered Raven with his impressions of a couple of his performances, including one at Guitar Center, in a two-page writeup.  That article can be seen on Scott’s Facebook page.

The rest of that decade saw Raven performing as a weekly guest of Tommy Rocker, who owned, ran, and played in his own club not too far from the Las Vegas strip.  Unable to find bands to play with on a regular basis, (other than several failed projects and occasional side-man work), playing with Tommy satisfied that drug-like craving to be on stage, as it was packed every weekend.

Raven spent most of the last decade as a guitarist playing with various bands, performing trade-show demonstrations, and working on the studio project as time and money permitted.  In mid 2009, after a very long and frustrating search to find a steady band to play with, Raven began playing with Fallen Grace, which is fronted by another Las Vegas legend, Tarah Grace.  Finally, in September, 2011, Raven found renewed motivation and an ally in bassist, Danny Buss, in forming a new lineup of The Storm Project.

The band debuted in very short notice and nearly no rehearsal on Fremont Street opening three nights for Ozzy Osbourne tribute band, Unauthorized Ozzy, in which Raven played some gigs with Danny a few years ago.  Singer Randy Peterson and drummer Roger Tippit joined Raven and Danny on stage for the short set, which featured five of the songs from the CD, along with the classic “Lights Out” from UFO.

The first night fared slightly better than the average drunken jam session, but it was a start.  The second night was much better, and would turn out to be the best of the three… alas, not the one that was filmed.

The keyboardist performing for Unauthorized Ozzy was Eddie Fluellen.  A consumate pro who learned Raven’s material literally “on the spot,” and performed the set each of the remaining two nights. In spite of it being probably the most haphazard gig he had done in decades, Eddie offered his services for future Storm Project performances, and Raven began seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for this band.

There was one piece of the puzzle left, and there was only one person Raven wanted to be that piece.  He called his old friend, Kevin Tutaj, and gave him the rundown on the project.  Kevin, Danny, Eddie, and Raven performed a few weeks later at the Gibson Artist Showcase, and although there were many of the first-gig “gremlins” that occur, they didn’t dissappoint.  As expected, the pairing of Danny and Kevin created a rhythm section that Raven calls “…of epic proportions,” and Eddie’s work on the keys filled out that “epic metal” sound they were going for.  It was a very promising birth for the new band.

The Raven Storm Project, or “RSP,” is Raven’s continuation of his previous efforts, combined with newer ideas, and now… finally… live performances with three of the best musicians he has ever played with!

Raven continues to do occasional solo performances when the band is not available, and is working with Kevin on new material.  More Raven Storm Project recordings performances coming soon!

Shannon Longstreet/Voracious Media