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By Nicky Baldrian

Masque are a fantastic new hard rock band from Boston USA. If you like Nightranger, Damn Yankees, House Of Lords, Y & T and Bon Jovi then these guys are for you. Their demo "Welcome To The Masque" are utterly fantastic, get them into a studio and songs like the ballbusting anthemic gunslining 'Hurricane' will have fans of Y&T, House Of Lords etc jumping around with joy, this track well crafted and the chorus unearth a memorable singalong lyrics.'Don't Give Up The Fight' is an upbeat melodic ballad full of dramatic melodies which spills out into catchy riffs and builds into a catchy number, just imagine James Christian or Danny Vaughn singing this one.
'Tirck Or Treat' is more stomping arena rock, and the guitar fulled 'Tunnel Of Love' ends this set of demos and a fury of drums, guitar, and big vocals from John Martinez. I suspect that very soon a label will be coaching these guys as this demo despite a rough edge production is very good, and it with this that I caught up with guitar mad man Tim Santoro to find out more about the band and their future plans. So it's over to you Tim......

Tim : - I started the band in the early 80's, MASQUE started out with just me and a really close friend from a band I was hired to play guitar in for a few shows. I told the bass player that the band wasn't going anywhere and to come with me and start masque. He came and form there we went through many years of getting a good thing happening, but not a perfect project so we went through many musicians, until he got married and gave up music all together.I kept the band going and every musician I found around here wants a free ride, meaning, they don't want to work at it and climb the ladder, they want to get money thrown at them and get signed in a couple weeks, so they never went anywhere and I still pressed on. After playing out for months at a time with different members, the time came in the 90's when the music scene changed to alternative, I kept at it alone and watched all my friends change and cut their hair and do the alternative thing.

I found some more people but no one good enough to go the distance, so after a few more years of playing out foe months at a time with the wrong people, I was on my own for the last of the 90's. I then said "fuck it" and went in the studio by my self, and played bass, guitar, hired a drummer and told him what to play and hired a friend to sing. That is how I got my 4 song demo done and it kicked ass! I then finally found the other band members, Drew Carey on vocals, Ric Bravaco on bass, and Dennis Stirk on drums. I write all the music and lyrics and now I gave a couple of my songs to Drew to come up with lyrics and we are kicking ass all over! All we need now is an awesome management company like all the big bands get to put up the money and get us a record deal, that is what the demo is for. Over here in the states, thats how the music business is done unless you know someone, which we don't, so no free ride for us. A usual demo is 2 maybe 3 songs, I did 4 so I could get some of my music out there.

Nicky : - Obviously big melodic hard rock with dramatic melodies and gunslinging guitar riffs play a big part in shaping Masque's songs, can you tell me about the songs on the demo and who influences the bands playing and writing and where you get your ideas from?

Tim : - I really have no influences, I basically taught myself how to play guitar so i would have my own style and not sound like anybody else. I also wrote all the music and lyrics, i still write all the music to keep us in the same vain, but either write the lyrics myself or let the singer do it and sometimes we write them together, but the 28 songs we have at the moment i wrote everything and only 3 songs the singer wrote the lyrics to. They have called out music style "Carnival Rock" I get my ideas from carnivals, Funhouse's, and horror!! But as for infuences, I
like Randy Rhodes, George Lynch, Vivian Cambell, and all the 80's groups!!

Nicky : - Tell me why you chose the name Masque's Funshouse for the band? Is there a story behind this name?

Tim:- I actually chose the name MASQUE and the name of the demo and the first album will be "Welcome to Masque's Funhouse" But if I have to, I might change the name to Masques Funhouse. I chose the Name Masque because it means music with dance and movement dressed in costume so I like it!

Nicky : - The songs remind me of Nightranger, Bon Jovi, Y&T and Damn Yankees, are you infleunced by these bands as the songs literally rock throughtout the demo?

Tim : - I am not really influenced by any bands, but I love all 80's style and we are bringing back the Real Rock and Roll!!

Nicky : - How did you finance the recordings being and independent artist?

Tim : - How I financed the demo is I am an airbrush artist and do t-shirts and stuff. I did a really big job, i Painted a 60 foot trailer for a magician and used all that money to do the CD. Now we just have to get management or the right person to hear it and get us signed!!

Nicky : - Who are your heroes and heroins n rock n roll and outside rock n roll?

Tim: - My heros are: Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ratt, Bon Jovi, all those guys kick ass and so does Lita Ford!!

Nicky : - What's the difference between Masque's Funhouse and all the other rock bands out there?

Tim :- The difference between us and all the other bands out there is we have a groove and sound, and a whole theme that goes with us, you have to experience our whole show and when you do, they all leave in amazement! We just have something a lot of bands just don't have anymore, and thats feeling!

Nicky : - For me, I found these demos to be hugely satsifying, the songs seem to take off from the first time you listen to it, and the songs are instantly driving and very memorable. Do the songs represent what the band are about musically because I feel that as a debut it's very strong work and I think that if a label put you guys into a proper recording studio you'd have a killer album on your hands, is there a plan for a full album?

Tim : - Well to answer this question, We only need to get this CD demo to the right people and there will be a killer album done!! we have over 3 albums worth of material and believe me, all the songs are killer!

Nick : - I find it pretty ironic that you remained unsigned, have you had any offers?

Tim : - We have been unsigned because I have not had the right lineup till now, now all I need is to get the demo to the right management and we will be signed in no time! You said yourself in a letter a few days ago you had a label interested in us and we have one independant label out here very interested just for finding us on! they are sending a scout out to one of our next shows, but if they can't put up like the big guys we will keep looking!

Nicky:- Whats in store for the future?

Tim : - Well for the future, we will be signed and you will see many albums that kick ass and bring back the good old Rock and Roll!!!

Nicky : - Is there anything you would like to say to say to the melodic rock audiences here in the UK and Europe?

Tim:- I would like to say, Don't stop listening to good melodic rock, its what we all loved and still do, and we would like to thank you, Nicky and all the fans you turned on to us!!! You guys ROCK!!!