When one door closes, another one opens. This couldn’t be more true for former 18 Visions singer/songwriter James Hart. When the Orange County, CA band broke up in 2007 after almost a decade together, that didn’t dissuade Hart and his pursuit to be a frontman once again. He’s ready to get back to it with his new band, BURN HALO, who will be releasing their charismatic self-titled debut March 10 on Rawkhead Records (through Warner Music Group’s Independent Label Group).
The album’s first single, “Dirty Little Girl,” which features a guest appearance by Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates, is already getting spins on radio stations around the country, and is in regular rotation on Sirius XM Satellite Radio’s “Octane” station. A video for the track was recently shot in at the Slide Bar in Orange County, CA with Nate Weaver (Against Me!, Taking Back Sunday) at the director’s helm, and will hit the TV and Internet airwaves within the coming weeks.
Anyone who was watching the Dallas Cowboys/Baltimore Ravens football game on the NFL Network on Saturday, December 20 might have heard another song from the album, “Our House,” during the broadcast. The track will also be heard during a recap of the college football season for “College Football Now” on the NFL Network, which will air this week and weekend, and will be streamed simultaneously on the station’s website (www.nfl.com/nflnetwork). Fans should check local listings for details.
Never losing momentum after the break-up, Hart landed a label deal with Island/Def Jam and began working almost immediately with songwriter Zac Maloy on what would eventually become BURN HALO’s debut album. Between May and October of 2007, Hart made week-long treks to Tulsa, OK to write and demo with Maloy. “I knew that I wanted a clear-cut rock ‘n’ roll band, which is something I had not had in the past,” Hart says of the music. “My vision and my brand of rock ‘n’ roll without having to compromise on any of the songs or any of the material. I wanted to make a very straightforward rock album, something that had commercial appeal, but also something that had a classic, vintage mid-‘80s throwback vibe to it.”
Hart recorded the album from October to November of 2007 with Maloy as producer, laying down the tracks with an army of skilled studio musicians, including Nickelback drummer Daniel Adair, former Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney, guitarist Neil Tiemann (who now tours with “American Idol” winner David Cook), and Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates (who appears on the “Dirty Little Girl” and “Anejo”).
In the studio, Maloy was particularly helpful in getting the best possible vocal performance out of Hart. As he explains, “I really felt like he was able to grasp what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take this. From a producer standpoint I feel like he really knocked it out of the park. As a vocalist he was able to bring a lot out of me instead of having me go through the motions and just get the part right, emoting a little more than I have in the past. He was really able to pull a lot of character out of my voice.”
“I think this is a real statement album for me,” Hart continues. “Anyone who is familiar with me and my past is going to be able to get this record. They’re going to understand why I made this record and that this is the record I’ve been wanting to make.”
After the album was completed in early 2008, Island/Def Jam elected not to release it, leaving Hart with the tough job of finding a new home for his project. Nothing felt quite right, though, so BURN HALO’s manager Bret Bair formed his own label Rawkhead Rekords and partnered with Warner Music Group to release the record. Hart spent much of 2008 finalizing the line-up of his touring band–which he hopes will help write and record BURN HALO’s next albums–with Aaron Boheler on bass, Joey Sin on lead guitar, Allen Wheeler on rhythm guitar, and Ryan Folden on drums.
BURN HALO’s new ensemble has already been racking up tour dates with bands such as Avenged Sevenfoldand their next jaunt will be with Escape The Fate and Black Tide starting February 5 in Pomona, CA. A summer tour is already in the works and should be announced in the coming weeks.
Here are the current BURN HALO dates:
DATE CITY VENUE
All with Escape The Fate and Black Tide:
Thu 2/5 Pomona, CA The Glass House
Fri 2/6 Phoenix, AZ Marquee
Sat 2/7 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theatre
Sun 2/8 El Paso, TX Chic’s Billiards
Tue 2/10 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre
Wed 2/11 San Antonio, TX The White Rabbit
Thu 2/12 Houston, TX Meridian
Fri 2/13 Metairie, LA High Ground
Sun 2/15 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
Mon 2/16 Orlando, FL Firestone
Tue 2/17 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
Wed 2/18 Charlotte, NC Amo’s Southend
Thu 2/19 Towson, MD Recher Theatre
Fri 2/20 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church