Contact: Steve Levesque, Chrissy Sutphin
LUCK Media & Marketing, Inc. (818) 232-4175
MISSING THE MAGIC OF THE CLASSIC POP/ROCK VIBE YOU GREW UP WITH?
LAS VEGAS EXTENDS A STANDING INVITATION TO OPEN
THE FORGOTTEN DOOR
Filling a Long Vacant Niche in Pop Music, Performing
Songs with Stories, Substance and Multi-Layer Harmonies,
The Popular Six-Piece Band Launches ‘Unlocked,’ Its Upcoming Debut
Album of ‘New Classic Rock’
This fall, hundreds of thousands of music fanatics will flock again to Las Vegas to see legends and those impersonating legends satisfy their thirst for the way pop music used to be. From “Jersey Boys” and “Rock of Ages” to Elton John, Rod Stewart, even Donny and Marie, everyone wants to experience what we’ve all been missing on pop radio for far too long: songs with stories, lyrics of substance, strong lead vocals and soul-stirring, multi-layer harmonies.
But why settle for nostalgia when a Vegas-based band that’s in love with the classic pop/rock of the ‘70s and ‘80s is right up the road, performing songs so fresh and new yet so familiar in style that a whole new phrase (“New Classic Rock”) had to be coined to capture the way they work their magic on the fans?
Johndale Stanley, co-founder, keyboardist and one of the lead vocalists of the six-piece Forgotten Door (www.officialforgottendoor.com), explains the origins of their unique name: “We want to communicate that there is still good music out there that has heart and soul like the great pop/rock we grew up with. The meaning of our name, “Forgotten Door,” is that our band is a passage back, or a doorway back, so to speak, to the things people loved about music, and got excited about. Our fans tell us they love songs like ‘Hotel California,’ ‘Long Train Runnin’ and ‘Rhiannon,’ but they’ve heard them a million times. They want new music created in that vein, but sonically different enough that they can feel a renewed sense of excitement, and passion about. They’re emotionally thirsty to hear something fresh.”
Unlike most groups that long to tour the U.S. and world, Forgotten Door is excited about staying in town, performing for residents, tourists, conventioneers, etc. Celebrating the upcoming release of their highly-anticipated, appropriately titled debut album Unlocked, the eclectic band’s lineup includes co-founder, vocalist and guitarist Lonnie Danley, lead vocalist Melody Ritz, lead and slide guitarist, and vocalist Michael Seal, bassist Karl Gottmann and drummer Kevin Brennan.
In effort to gear up for performances in support of Unlocked, as well as other events to come this fall, the band just finished a successful 12-week residency at Wolf Theater inside the Clarion Hotel and Casino, which gave them the opportunity to “cut our teeth in a real world environment,” as Stanley puts it.
During their stint at the Wolf Theater, the band was honored with an Official Proclamation for “Forgotten Door Day” from Mayor Goodman’s office on Friday, August 16, 2013.
“We needed to work with elements that make a concert successful,” continues Stanley. “The 12 weeks really allowed us to work out ideas with an audience, which we had only envisioned, but never really tried. Our goal was to create textures visually that match our musical style, so the audience would really get the feel of what this band is about. So the short stay was very helpful in our quest to bring something unique to the concert experience. The feedback and energy from the audience was remarkable. The reactive element was there and we had people coming back time after time, bringing in visiting friends and family. Other fans told us that they ended up there based on someone that just saw the show a couple of nights prior. So with all of that, and an acknowledgment from the mayor of a special day officially proclaimed in our honor, we are ready to move on.”
Forgotten Door, whose members are all veteran musicians and entertainers, have created a powerful audio-visual experience complete with dramatic lighting, and background video, designed to bring out the textures and nuance of each song. Many fans and critics have compared the male-female and creative dynamics of the band to that of what Fleetwood Mac became after Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined in the mid-‘70s. The nine songs on Unlocked showcase the group’s depth, anchored by the versatile songwriting and production skills of Stanley and Danley, the band’s creative core. Michael is also a contributing songwriter and Melody is a lead vocalist on several tracks, including the first single to be released, the mid-tempo pop rocker “Masquerade.” When Johndale is singing lead, Lonnie, Melody and Michael do harmony vocals. When Melody is out front, Johndale, Lonnie and Michael take the harmonies.
Stanley sees his overriding task as “taking all the songs the members bring to the table and forging them into a collective Forgotten Door sound. In essence, what we are doing is drawing from our great array of classic influences and creating music that has our own unique signature on it. We’re working hard on bringing something genuine and that moves people to the contemporary musical landscape.”
Earlier versions of songs on Unlocked have already made a happy commotion on Vradio.com, a popular internet radio station with some four million listeners, owned and operated by Big Poppa G. “Masquerade” spent 27 weeks on his chart and “Puerto Penasco” went 24, hitting #1—meaning that it snagged 40,000 requests by internet and phone. In all, four Forgotten Door songs charted on the station as part of a test marketing effort—an achievement all the more remarkable since the website’s main consumers are R&B and rap fans.
Considering how their last names rhyme, perhaps it was musical destiny when a bride and groom called Stanley and Danley, respectively, to sing for a wedding back in 1994. Their perfect blend of lead and vocal harmonies led to a long lasting musical partnership, which skyrocketed when melody Ritz joined the group. The three enjoyed performing as a popular local cover band for a handful of years, but in time they decided the only way to move forward was to write and perform original material.
“When Lonnie first told me he wanted to write originals, I was skeptical, but then I heard his song ‘Far Far Away’ and I realized this was no joke, that we could actually do this,” says Stanley. “We started retooling in 2007-8 and within a year of that song being written, I had also penned my first tune, a personal and emotional song called ‘Gypsy Woman.’ As our vibe developed and people started responding to it, we realized people really wanted to hear something fresh, that sounds familiar even when they’re hearing it for the first time. That’s what the Forgotten Door aesthetic is all about.”
Over the years, when they were a cover band, they performed gigs and corporate events at numerous venues in Las Vegas, including the Hard Rock, Stratosphere, Las Vegas Hilton, Club Madrid (at Sunset Station) to name a few. A few years ago, classic rock station 96.3 KKLZ held a battle of the bands at South Point hotel as part of the annual Junefest. Forgotten Door won the showroom event, which gave them the opportunity to open for Terri Nunn and Berlin, Steppenwolf and Sly and the Family Stone. Justin Chase from the radio station later hooked them up to perform in the Neon Garage at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Truck Series event in 2010.
Like every great emerging band, Forgotten Door has a colorful back story that involves haggles with outside producers and what Stanley calls “raging storms during the making of this album.” The band has endured many trying times that have solidified their creative and personal relationship and given rise to a fierce member to member loyalty and a rich authenticity that translates to a powerhouse recording debut and a dynamic stage show.
“We’re most looking forward to showing the world that there’s a band out there that’s filling the gap and playing new music in that classic vein,” Stanley adds. “I’ve heard it said that music is emotion hung on a note, and our goal is always to move people in such a way that they are motivated to buy our album as a souvenir of our live musical experience, which has also given them joyful memories they can take with them.”