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WEB EXTRA: McGrath Project prowls Cat Club on Sunset Strip tonight

Gig is sneak preview of new double CD, 'Love is a Four Letter Word'

Posted: October 15, 2009 4:35 p.m.
Updated: October 15, 2009 4:35 p.m.
 
Rock band The McGrath Project, a favorite in the Santa Clarita Valley, offers local fans a sneak preview of its second CD, "Love is a Four Letter Word," with a midnight show tonight at the Cat Club on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

The album is set for physical release in January, but the band will preview it from front to back between midnight and Cat Club closing time.

"I like big productions and you won't ever hear a record sound as big as this one," said bandleader Gary McGrath, a veteran singer/guitarist/songwriter and two-time Grammy-winning producer. "[The album] is the largest production since Sgt. Pepper's."

"Love is a Four Letter Word" is big in other ways, too -- 27 tracks on two CDs.

"It's the only double album scheduled for national release in 2010," McGrath said. "Major labels don't have the desire or the money to make that kind of physical commitment.

"But I didn't do a double album for that reason," he added. "I'm doing it to get the voices out of my head."

McGrath founded The McGrath Project as a corporate cover outfit specializing in classic rock and Top 40 music, but he and his bandmates soon discovered they had their own musical story to tell. They wrote and recorded the group's eponymous debut album in 2008.

"The McGrath Project" included the hits "Where You Belong" and "The Chant," which hit #1 on the iRadioLA chart for 14 weeks and five weeks, respectively (the Internet radio outlet counts 60,000 listeners per hour), and was #1 on Las Vegas FM station Underworld Mix Music.

The radio play was a bonus: "We make records based on what we want to hear, not what we think is going to get play on the radio," McGrath said.

For the second album, McGrath enlisted bassist Tim Bogert (Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee as a member of Vanilla Fudge), guitarist/vocalist Ann-Marita Garsed (award-winning country singer), keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Dean Minnerly (also an ace Foley artist at Universal and noted L.A. session player) and drummer/percussionist Chet McCracken (renowned session/road artist) as the core band for the second go-around.

Former full-time McGrath Project members keyboardist Teddy Zig Zag (Guns N' Roses) and drummer Brian Head (Foreigner) are just a couple of the other players contributing to "Love is a Four Letter Word," which McGrath coproduced at Gari Sound in Thousand Oaks with Brian Freeman (who has worked with The Ventures, Ike & Tina Turner and The Beach Boys).

Fans of The McGrath Project's previous work and live shows will enjoy the band's take on classic American rock while adding a few layers of evolution on for size.

"We are a vocal group on ‘Love is a Four Letter Word' and have a vast array of sounds," McGrath said. "You go from the countries of Tibet to Ireland to the British Invasion to American rock and folk. (The album) is a feast for the ears, whereas the last was just the band live."

"("Love is a Four Letter Word") is a great deal more complex and diverse (than the first album)," said Minnerly, who joined McGrath in the project in late 2008. "The (new) album features an aggressive use of instrumentation blended with orchestral undertones, but also combines drive with simplicity and humor."

Right now, "C-Ya" and two other new tracks are available online for preview at Reverbnation.com (search for McGrath Project).

The album's advance single ships to terrestrial and Internet radio outlets next week. "It will be either ‘Your Secret is Out' or ‘C-Ya' - depends on votes from our fans on our MySpace page," where those and a few other tracks are also previewed, McGrath said.

After the first of 2010, all 27 "Love is a Four Letter Word" tracks will be available for download via iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.com, and on hard-copy CD from Borders, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy.

"If the stores don't have it in stock, they'll order it for you," McGrath said.

Signal Intern Derek Sedam contributed to this story.

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