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Derek Sherinian Says New Solo Album Is The Album Of The Year For Keyboardist & Guitarists

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Photos By: Greg Voroblov

Canada's The Metal Voice recently spoke to Sons of Apollo Keyboardist  Derek Sherinian who will be releasing a new solo album entitled The Phoenix on September 18 2020 via Inside Out Music.

Topics in the interview include details on new solo album, recording with Michael Schenker and his influences.

Watch here

Why did it take you nine years to do another solo album 

 " I took a little time off and then in 2016 I formed Sons of Apollo with Mike Portnoy so most of my riffs and musical creativity was going towards that. I just felt a real urge last year to start doing a solo record. So I went and got a new (record) deal and called up (drummer) Simon Phillips and we got to work about 18 months ago, we started writing The Phoenix and here we are. It's coming out in a couple of weeks and we are very happy with the results and so far we are getting amazing worldwide response. 

Tell us about the music on the new solo album

"The Phoenix is a snapshot of my life for the last 18 months and I go through different moods, styles and that usually comes out in the writing and there is a lot of variance in the songwriting. What is really cool is that it is a cohesive recording in that Simon Phillips and I are the common denominator but we pick the right bass player and guitar players according to the compositions and I think we nailed it all throughout this record. "

Tell us a little bit about the guests on the album

"Not only is The Phoenix the keyboard record of the year,i t's also the guitar record of the year and has the best guitar talent of the world  on this record. For blues I got Joe Bonamassa  no one plays blues better than Joe right now. I have Zakk Wylde  on guitar for the metal, I have Steve Vai,  I have Bumblefoot, the sickest shredder out there, he is playing stuff no one can even touch playing double neck fret less guitar and he is getting sounds no can even come close to. I have Kiko Loureiro who is fantastic. And then I have all the great bass players Billy Sheehan, Tony Franklin and of course Simon Phillips on drums it doesn't get any better than that. If you are into great instrumental music, great production you have to get The Phoenix."

Tell us about you playing on one song on the upcoming Michael Schenker album Immortal

"It's a brand new song I'm not too sure who is the singer on it but Brian Tichy is on drums and it sounded great, it sounds like a classic Michael Schenker song . But what I am really happy about is Michael wanted me to play solos and he gave me two different solo spots and I did my thing and he was so happy with how it turned out that his manager, lawyer whoever it was wrote me back saying how he wants to do more stuff in the future with me. Then they ask how much do they owe me and I said I don't want to get paid to play with the great Michael Schenker,  it's my honour and I said, if he wants to return the favour and play on my next solo record that would be awesome. So they immediately wrote back saying Michael would love to do it, just send us the tracks. So me being me I immediately wrote like the killer ultimate Michael Schenker track which is like a new Into The Arena 40 years later and I had Simon Phillips play drums on it and Tony Franklin on bass. So I sent it off to Germany so now I am waiting for Michael to lay his tracks and this will be for my next solo record, this will be number nine that I am writing right now."

What did you learn from touring with Kiss on the Revenge Tour

"It was a  great experience watching how Gene and Paul ran their business and the crew, just the whole mechanism of a huge rock band going on tour there is a lot of moving parts and there is a lot to learn. So I kept my eyes open and knew that one day I would have my own band like Sons of Apollo and all the things that I learned from touring with Alice Cooper, Kiss and Billy Idol  I'm learning on their dime so I can apply to my deal later on."

How much was Randy Rhoads an influence on you

"Randy was a very huge influence when I was 15 or 16 when the Blizzard of Ozz record came out I immediately gravitated to Randy Rhoads. At the time I was only listening to Edward Van Halen and then all of a sudden Randy came up and it was like here is someone new that is really cool. I got into his playing really deep. I related to him because I could hear the classical influence. At the time I was studying Bach on piano and I saw the relationship and the benefits of learning classical  music cause Randy was doing it and he applied it to rock. When he died it was very devastating to me at the time I remember I was a junior in High school and I remember wearing a black arm band  around my arm to honour Randy, it was very sad because he was a hero to me and it was just all of a sudden he was gone. There is a lot of Randy DNA in my keyboard style in the solos at times it really comes out."

Derek Sherinian – "The Phoenix" (42:38)

1. The Phoenix (05:24)

2. Empyrean Sky (03:56)

3. Clouds of Ganymede (06:02)

4. Dragonfly (03:46)

5. Temple of Helios (06:01)

6. Them Changes (05:28)

7. Octopus Pedigree (05:04)

8. Pesadelo (06:55)


Derek Sherinian – Keyboards

Simon Phillips – Drums


Zakk Wylde – Guitar

Billy Sheehan – Bass

Armen Ra – Theremin

Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal – Guitar

Jimmy Johnson – Bass

Steve Vai – Guitar

Tony Franklin – Bass

Ernest Tibbs – Bass

Joe Bonamassa – Vocals, Guitar

Kiko Loureiro – Guitar

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