::T R A C K S::


FORMAT: Audio CD / Wallet
GYR128 - $13.99

Awesome debut studio disc by this excellent hard rock band from New York featuring 12 tracks of top-shelf, world-class, dynamic, blues-based, retro-70s, Melodic Classic Rock music that hits hard & stands tall in musical class all its own. The "brain-child" of Tom Jude (Doro Pesch/Holy Water) on guitar & Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot/Widowmaker/Holy Water) on bass, American Mafia also includes Bobby Marks (Dokken) on drums and features a way-kool, impressive cast of outstanding rock vocalists lending their superb vocal talents in the form of John West (Badlands/Artension/Royal Hunt), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus/Flood the Engine), Don Chaffin (VOX/Red Lamb), Mike DiMeo (Riot/Masterplan/The Lizards), Ed Terry (Rondinelli/Rage & Beyond) & David Knight. American Mafia have landed rock solid on this outstanding disc and make you a nice round "deal" that you can't refuse on the aptly titled "Rock N' Roll Hit Machine" disc. A killer display of memorable, radio-friendly, classic, supreme, hard rock excellence that is Highly recommended to fans of Bad Company, Foreigner & Whitesnake.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, AMERICAN MAFIA was born out such necessity. In 2009, the band Holy Water released "The Collected Sessions" (Perris) placing their previously unreleased, but much sought-after music in a legitimate ‘archive.’ The CD received rave reviews:

“…the band would have been household names. At their best Holy Water is THAT good.” --sleazeroxx.com

"Damn near every song here could've fit on the radio..." --Detritus e-zine

“The thing about Holy Water is that you would have sworn you’ve heard these songs before, but chances are you haven’t.” --hardrockhaven.net

"The Collected Sessions" was originally supposed to be a teaser while Holy Water got busy recording a new album featuring many of the songs they’d written over the years, but never properly recorded. But when original Holy Water vocalist David Knight sadly committed suicide in early 2014, guitarist Tom Jude (ex-Doro Pesch) and bassist Freddy Villano (ex-Quiet Riot / Widowmaker) were faced with a dilemma: abandon the project, due to the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of replacing Knight, or forge ahead. The duo opted to move forward and "The Collected Sessions" became Holy Water’s swan song, rather than teaser. In Knight’s absence, Jude and Villano decided to ditch the Holy Water moniker and enlist not one, but several, of contemporary rock music’s premier vocalists to help complete the record they’d already started. The names should be familiar to just about any hard rock aficionado: John West (Badlands/Artension/Royal Hunt), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus/Flood the Engine), Don Chaffin (VOX/Red Lamb), Mike DiMeo (Riot/Masterplan/The Lizards) and Ed Terry (Rondinelli/Rage & Beyond). All were invited to not only sing, but also write their own lyrics and melodies. They re-branded this new union of rock n’ roll rogues AMERICAN MAFIA and the result is "Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine", a collection of tunes that sounds like, ”An unreleased Foreigner record from the ‘70s with a heavier vibe,” according to Joe Romagnola from Grooveyard Records. "Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine" also features keyboards by Mike DiMeo, Jay Davidson (Cinderella) and Bob Twining (Feinstein), as well as Randy Pratt (Cactus/The Lizards) on blues harp and Patrick Klein (The Lizards) on rhythm guitar. Former Dokken/Scarecrow/Arabia and current Flavor Flav drummer Bobby Marks hammered out the drum tracks. If you’re looking for an outstanding hard rock record in which virtuosity is illuminated via stellar song craftsmanship, "Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine" is for you.

MP3 Sample Clips











stone machine
"rock ain't dead"

"Rock Solid"
(GYR075) - $12.99

snake head ritual

"Rare Tracks"

johnny hunkins
"Talladega pile-up"

johnny hunkins



AMERICAN MAFIA - "Death & Satisfaction"


AMERICAN MAFIA - "Friendly Fire"


AMERICAN MAFIA - "Your Good Lovin'"




Freddy Villano is back with American Mafia
By Stefan Nilsson

Bassist Freddy Villano, who in the 1990s toured with Quiet Riot and Dee Snider’s Widowmaker, is back with a new band, American Mafia. Roppongi Rocks decided to have a chat with Villano about both his past and his new band.

American Mafia consists of a bunch of seasoned rock veterans. In addition to Freddy Villano on bass, the band features guitarist Tom Jude (Doro Pesch), vocalist Don Chaffin (Red Lamb, Dan Spitz) and drummer Bobby Marks (Dokken, Joe Lynn Turner). Its debut album also features guest appearances by John West (Badlands, Royal Hunt, Lynch Mob, Cozy Powell), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus), Mike DiMeo (Riot, The Lizards, Masterplan) and Ed Terry (Rondinelli).

What’s the story behind you forming American Mafia after many years in the music business? “American Mafia was formed from the ashes of Holy Water, a band that Tom and I had in the late ’80s and early ’90s. It also included ex-Foreigner keyboardist Al Greenwood, who produced our defining demo, and ex-Saraya drummer Chuck Bonfante. Holy Water disbanded in ’91 or ’92. We were working on demos for Jason Flom at Atlantic when Nirvana‘s ‘Nevermind’ came out and that was it for our brand of music. We were dead in the water. I hadn’t thought about that music for years, but while living in Italy in 2001 I started to recognise that there was still interest in blues-based melodic rock, even if it wasn’t happening in the USA. So I started thinking about recording all of the tunes that were never properly recorded when we were working with Al and Jason. We had a lot of great material. Fast forward to 2007 and I finally managed to get Tom and drummer Bobby Marks into the studio to record, with lots of help from Randy Pratt (The Lizards, Cactus). It was his studio that was made available to us and without that we never would’ve gotten this off the ground. We initially started working with original Holy Water vocalist David Knight, but other than ‘Living for the City’ and ‘All I Need’ he never came up with any vocal tracks for any of the other tunes. Not that he had to re-write or invent anything, because these were complete tunes we were tackling, but for whatever reason – it was never made clear to me – he just kept delaying. I later found out he must have had some serious issues because he committed suicide in 2014. Eventually we gave up on waiting for Dave and decided to enlist another singer to do the record, but that proved challenging as well. It was very hard at that point to get a singer to commit to an entire record. So, we decided to use multiple singers. In the end, it worked out great. I think everyone gave 100% and despite never hearing each other’s tracks, we somehow ended up with a pretty cohesive sounding record.”

How did you find the musicians that now make up American Mafia? “Well, Tom and I obviously have a history. I’d known Bobby for many years and though we never played in a full-time band together, we’d crossed paths many times. When it came time to enlisting singers I just started making list of guys I’d like to work with. Ed Terry I’d known because he was in a band with Bobby and we actually spoke to him about singing on the record at an earlier time, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out. John West lives near me in central New York, so I went to see him play a local gig one night and hit him up. I met Don through our mutual friend, drummer John Macaluso (Ark, Yngwie Malmsteen, TNT). Mike DiMeo I know from the Long Island music scene and Jimmy Kunes was recommended by Randy Pratt. It’s all a bunch of people who respect one another and really seem to appreciate each other’s contributions. It was a long ‘wish-list’ and there are more names that declined or weren’t available or never responded. It was a real testament to perseverance.”

Where does the band name American Mafia come from? Why did you choose it? “When we realised Dave was no longer going to be in the picture we thought about changing the name from Holy Water to something else. Then when we knew we were going to enlist different singers – and keyboard players, there are three on ‘Hit Machine’: Mike DiMeo, Jay Davidson and Bob Twining – it really cemented the idea that we had to call it something other than Holy Water. The whole mafia thing is quite simple. We wanted something that embodied a gang or a team or a union of like-minded individuals. Since it wasn’t necessarily a ‘band’ at that point we wanted a name that would best represent a project, kind of like the Red Dragon Cartel record. It’s a group mentality kind of thing.”

On your debut record, “Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine” (released by Grooveyard Records in 2014), you play a sort of blues-based rock music that is quite polished and radio friendly. Is American Mafia a rockier band live? Are we likely to get a rockier and heavier American Mafia on the next studio album? “Definitely. We are currently working on the follow-up to ‘Hit Machine’ with Don Chaffin on vocals and it’s already a heavier more bombastic vibe. I’m adamant about keeping keyboards off the new one! Or at least to the bare minimum. I don’t want to give too much away, but I think you will hear a real evolution in the band’s sound and direction. We’ve been tapping into some really inspired material.”

Musically, American Mafia lives in a bluesy, melodic hard rock landscape. On the track “Friendly Fire” they live somewhere between bus stops marked Europe and Whitesnake but with a more American touch to it. On other tracks they are more blues rock than hard rock and on a few tracks the band rides into Southern rock territory to set up camp next to Lynyrd Skynyrd. At times there are echoes of Bad Company and other 1970s British rock bands.

How would you describe American Mafia’s music? “Hard rock. But there are elements of blues rock, melodic rock, heavy metal, etc. Just like most of the bands we admire. It’s important to remember that we are children of the ’70s so our influences are Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, etc. And I must admit, we’re not really trying to escape that. We’re actually embracing it. Even as far as recording goes, we’re playing through amps and cabinets, we’re getting real drum sounds. We are using Pro Tools and other technological advances that make things easier and more cost-effective – 2″ tape would be great but it’s expensive – but we really try to limit the use of plug-ins and samples.”Villano4

Do you feel that, as American Mafia, you have to write and perform music that fits within certain parameters of how your fans expect you to sound or do feel you can freely just create good music regardless of expectations? “The good thing about being independent is that we can pretty much do what we want. We don’t have to answer to anybody. And quite frankly, our fan base isn’t really even established yet, so we’re going to push the envelope as much as possible. If you start trying to please anyone other than yourself I think it comes off as being phony.”

As a young musician trying to make it in the music business, Villano got the chance when he first toured with Twisted Sister vocalist Dee Snider and his band Widowmaker and, shortly thereafter, when he joined Quiet Riot.

Can you tell us more about your early experiences of playing with some major names? “They were two of most incredible experiences any young musician could hope for. With Widowmaker I got to play with Joe Franco (Twisted Sister) and Al Pitrelli (Megadeth, Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Alice Cooper). Two of the best musicians in the business, so I learned a lot simply by playing with those two. And then you add Dee on top, who is the consummate professional and simply one of the most explosive front men ever in the history of rock. It was great to be embraced by those guys and then to be able to soak all of that experience up onstage every night. Quiet Riot was a different animal onstage. Whereas Widowmaker played a set ‘show’ night after night, Quiet Riot liked to stretch songs out and jam a bit if the mood or opportunity presented itself. So, again, for a young guy like I was at the time it was great to be able to jam onstage in front of audiences every night. It’s that kind of experience and opportunity that teaches you about being a musician. I remember a gig in Ohio one night, towards the end of a set, simply in awe of the fact that I was standing onstage with Frankie Banali, Carlos Cavazo and Kevin DuBrow. It was a dream come true.”

Villano did a couple of tours with Quiet Riot in the mid-1990s. “I first teamed up with them on the ‘Down to the Bone’ tour. And I think, if I recall correctly, I also did part of a ‘Greatest Hits’ tour after that, before they got Chuck Wright back in the band. Then, obviously, Rudy rejoined in ’97,” explains Villano his stint as bass player in Quiet Riot.

So, how did Villano end up playing the bass in Quiet Riot, the legendary American hard rock band that made it into the big league when their 1983 album “Metal Health” became the first heavy metal album to reach the top spot on the Billboard list? Quiet Riot has featured many famous musicians, including Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne), Frankie Banali (WASP), Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Dio), Tracii Guns (LA Guns), Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath) and the one-and-only Kevin DuBrow. “I was on tour with Widowmaker and we were doing the same circuit as Quiet Riot, so I kept seeing their posters at every venue we were at. In Amarillo, Texas we were getting out of our mini-van to do sound check and Al Pitrelli accidentally slammed the sliding door on Joe Franco’s hand. That pretty much derailed the tour. We considered getting a sub and forging ahead, but there weren’t that many gigs left and it was either head to the west coast – and rehearse with a new drummer for the rest of the shows – or head home. The boss decided for the latter. Then, after about a week of being home and wondering what I was going to do for work, I was at my parents’ house and the phone rang and my mother said it was for me. I was like, ‘Who is calling me at my parents’ on a Sunday morning?’ I get on the phone and it was Kevin DuBrow. I was in disbelief at first. I thought it was a friend playing a prank, but sure enough it was him. He got the number from Bobby Rondinelli – who I’d known for years from the Long Island music scene. They were on tour already and wanted to replace their bass player, so they called Bobby, who played in Quiet Riot with Kevin and Carlos at one point, and he recommended me. Kevin sent me some tapes of their live show, I did a few days of woodshedding, flew to Lexington, Kentucky, did one rehearsal then we drove to Grand Rapids, Michigan and I did my first gig with them. It was an unbelievable experience. The second concert I ever attended as a kid was Black Sabbath on the ‘Born Again’ tour with Quiet Riot in support at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Talk about a dream come true!”

What’s the main difference between playing in your own band and playing as a “hired gun” in someone else’s band that is already established and famous? “As a hired gun you are there to serve someone else’s vision. So, you have to be a good listener and a good team player and you certainly have to put your ego in check. Doing my own thing I obviously have more say, but I still think being a good listener applies. You want to be able to hear what others offer musically. I would say having one’s own band is harder. It’s definitely given me a greater appreciation of those I’ve worked for in the past. It’s not easy to keep a group of people together moving in the same direction. Everyone has ideas about what they want something to be, so it’s finding a way to channel that energy into a productive goal, rather than allowing it to manifest itself negatively, which can happen if you aren’t listening. So, be a good listener, check your ego and do your job – whether it’s play bass, write songs or sing – and most of the other stuff should work itself out.

With American Mafia, Freddy Villano is not standing in anybody’s shadow or trying to fill anyone’s shoes. Last year’s debut album is rather promising. Let’s see where a second album and some touring can take this band.




· reviews ·

The New York, USA based band AMERICAN MAFIA has quite a fascinating history, because they started out as HOLY WATER and were about to release their debut album until their lead singer DAVID KNIGHT commited suicide. Eventually the other bandmembers continued under a different name, AMERICAN MAFIA, and Rock n'roll hit machine is the result. Besides guitarist Tom Jude, bassist Freddy Villano, drummer Bobby Marks and keyboardplayer Mike DiMeo here and there, we can also hear several guest vocalists. Due to the use of those various lead singers (6 in total!), the album also sounds quite diverse musically speaking, although it is mostly in the melodic bluesy/groovy hardrock direction. JOHN WEST is one of the lead singers, and he is of course known for his involvement in many other bands and projects (ARTENSION, ROYAL HUNT...), but we can also hear RIOT singer MIKE DIMEO (who also plays keys as already mentioned earlier in this review) and David's vocals can be heard during 2 songs. After the first couple of hard hitting heavy groovy and bluesy traditional rockers of Obsession and Every Time that are a bit reminding of BADLANDS, the band switches to a more melodic almost 1980s FOREIGNERish AOR direction during the excellent midtempo melodic rocker Your Good Lovin', which even reminds a bit of FM and SHADOW KING. The album continues with this mixture of classic rock/melodic rock and bluesy groovy hardrock, with as other highlights the superb melodic classic groovy hard rocker Friendly Fire (LED ZEPPELIN meets WHITESNAKE), If I Knew (excellent midtempo classic rock/melodic rocker with a sorta GLENN HUGHES/JOE LYNN TURNER touch), the STEVIE WONDER cover Living For The City and the uptempo Melodic Rocker The Sky Is Falling (a la TYKETTO). Although the album was released back in 2014, it is never too late to give it another try! In the end, the record also reminds me a lot of the late 80s/early 90s major label mainstream hard rock period when bands like BANGALORE CHOIR, BADLANDS, MR. BIG, BLACK CROWES, BABYLON A.D., TESLA, GREAT WHITE and many more were signed to major labels in the USA. (Points: 8.6 out of 10)

Gabor Kleinblosem / Strutter'zine (March 2021)

Slam the door, crank up the stereo and turn the key to your '69 Camaro cause we got just the soundtrack for your rock n roll road trip. Straight up, no frills, gun metal rockin' blues in the most classic vein. Full of screaming guitars, grooving basslines and a good, 'ol fashioned leading man who can sing with the best of them. Rock n Roll Hit Machine is the debut album from "supergroup" of sorts, American Mafia and is simply 12 tracks of world-class retro-70s Classic Rock, in the Bad Company, Whitesnake class. The "brain-child" of Tom Jude (Doro Pesch/Holy Water) on guitar & Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot/Widowmaker/Holy Water) on bass, American Mafia also includes Bobby Marks (Dokken) on drums and features a way-kool, impressive cast of outstanding rock vocalists lending their superb vocal talents in the form of John West (Badlands/Artension/Royal Hunt), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus/Flood the Engine), Don Chaffin (VOX/Red Lamb), Mike DiMeo (Riot/Masterplan/The Lizards), Ed Terry (Rondinelli/Rage & Beyond) & David Knight. Every song sounds like one that woulda blasted out of your Pioneer stereo and Jensen Tri-axle speakers on the best night of your life in 1979.

The Ripple Effect (Ripple Music) (October 2016)

American Mafia is a modern day hair band and what a band they are – this rocks! Impeccable production and world class performances highlight this tremendous album. The bands that these fine musicians have played with in the past is a virtual who’s who of 80’s rock royalty (Cinderella, Quiet Riot and Dokken, just to name a few). There are so many musicians involved in this band which is more a community than structured unit. I imagine they place calls from their little black book saying “We’re playing Friday, you free?” and they see who shows up. It doesn’t matter who does, it will kick ass. Listening to the vocal performances by Mike DiMeo, Ed Terry, Jimmy Kunes, John West and David Knight makes you realize how much talent there is in this industry. One vocalist after the next simply brilliant! These are the rock Gods you hear about. The whole band and additional musicians are at such a high level you really are in for a treat listening to this fantastic album. “Obsession”, “Friendly Fire” and “Man On The Flying Trapeze” are album highlights. I give this album 5 stars and this band kudos for excellence! Highly recommended!

365 Radio Network (August 2016)

With a new album on the way this year here’s a great album we somehow never got around to reviewing at the time…

Wow! Groove-laden, classic blues-infused hard rock with some killer guitars and killer vocals, it’s just what you want to be listening to as you ride into the weekend. If you love your rock distinctly classic, meaningful and played like they mean it then ‘American Mafia’ is a band you cannot miss.

Listening to ‘Obsession’ the first track, which lays down a fat groove and serves as the best introduction to the band I get a little Foreigner in the vocals, and a nice funky, bluesy groove made to sing along to. But this isn’t just a band with a few good tunes and a decent record, this is music rooted in the 70’s that is being made TODAY, not only that it is JUST AS GOOD as some of those bands we all know and love from that era – it’s all about the songs you see, and these guys have them in spades.

Just to give you the backstory… AMERICAN MAFIA is the brainchild of guitarist Tom Jude and bassist Freddy Villano, and their debut CD, Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine, is forged from the same sonic template as their ’70s forefathers, specifically, Foreigner, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin and early Whitesnake, to name but a few. According to Steve Reid at seaoftranguility.org, American Mafia “craft an assured slice of various ’70s rock that drips with authenticity.”

Jude and Villano formed American Mafia after the demise of their previous band, Holy Water, a result of lead singer David Knight’s untimely death early in 2014. Together with drummer Bobby Marks, Jude and Villano decided to honor Knight’s legacy by enlisting a world class line-up of singers to help complete the record they’d started together. The names should be familiar to just about any hard rock aficionado: Don Chaffin, (VOX/Red Lamb), John West (Royal Hunt/Artension), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus), Mike DiMeo (Riot/Masterplan) and Ed Terry (Rondinelli).

Now back to the album… ‘Every Time’ has the sort of take on 70’s Classic Rock that Bands like Thunder managed to capture at the end of the following decade, a sort of Bad Company vibe to a rousing rocker. ‘Your Good Lovin’ ’on the other hand has more swagger, a little more groove but a similar Bad Co vibe, so far, so much sheer class.

And like all the best albums, the deeper you get the deeper you fall whether it’s for ‘Death and Satisfaction’ which starts out with some nice harp before bursting into a nice early-Aerosmith style barroom blues’ or maybe the smoldering and heartfelt ‘Friendly Fire’.

There’s plenty of texture and variety too without straying from the essential Classic Blues-based rock feel. ‘If I Knew’ even seems to open with a little digeridoo (!) before taking up a Cry of Love/Black Crowes strut, whist ‘Man on the Flying Trapeze’ has a more vintage Whitesnake sound and ‘Living For the City’ offers a nice bluesy take on the Stevie Wonder classic.

And of course the rest is just as good from the light and easy ‘The Sky is Falling’, the atmospheric and passionate ‘Let Me Go’ and the acoustic building ballad ‘All I Need’ to the final word: the swampy guitar outro ‘Resurrection’, which with a second album on the way this year should be more than enough to have to on the edge of your seats! This is damned good music, good for the ear and good for the soul.

Mark Rockpit / The Rockpit - Australia (May 2016)

Rare to find is a classically forged rock and roll album that gives us both clear vocals and distinguishable sounds in a powerful package. American Mafia’s “Rock – N – Roll Hit Machine” does just that. Released in August of 2014 on Grooveyard Records, artists Freddy Vilano,, Tom Jude, Don Chaffin, and Bobby Marks, along with guest artists John West, Jimmy Kunes, and Ed Terry, the album is full of the classic, bluesy rock sounds and melodic tempering we came to know and love in the 70’s from such greats as Foreigner, Bad Company, early Whitesnake and a definite homage to Led Zepplin and others.

The opening track, Obsession, offers up a great drum spread straight out of the shoot and rolls straight into a melodic, upbeat, mid-tempo’d set of verses and chorus that is reminiscent of Warrant’s classic rock ballad, Cherry Pie, with a twist of edge and perhaps a bit more class. Track four of the CD, Death and Satisfaction, opens with a harmonica stretch, reminiscent of early Blackfoot and Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and then spreads out into a strong and well harmonized tune that is sure to have you humming along in a few bars. Perhaps most surprising is the use of the Australian Didgeridoo on the opening of track six, “If I Knew” though the track still offers up a familiar, almost AD/DC “For Those About to Rock” quality that provides the listener with an almost euphoric listening experience giving us the best of the past with the best of the present and future. The lyrical quality throughout the entire album is both clear and concise yet gives a hard-hitting edge and feel that we’ve come to know and love in this style of music. It’s refreshing to hear sounds that are both easy on the ears yet cause us to head-bang and play our air guitars along with the artists. In a surprising turn, the group takes us back to the best of Funk Rock with their remake of the Stevie Wonder classic, “Living For The City”, with a modernized ode to some of the best of the 1970’s, with a hard driving bass line, this is one track you cannot help but sing along with. Track 10 opens with an almost Survivor-ish feel as the keys and synth bring on a full orchestral feel, followed by a fantastic drum and rhythm guitar. The vocal quality on this track expresses the sheer power and range that is evident throughout the entire CD. The power-ballad on the CD, with a beautiful blend of acoustic guitar and sweet lyrics, All I Need gives the listener reprieve from the overall pounding feel of the cd, and takes us back to those early 80’s and 90’s power-ballads by such groups as Skid Row, with an almost “I Remember You” vibe.

Though the band’s press states that their largest influences are from the 70’s blues rock genre, any knowledgably listener will quickly pick upon several styles and influences from such heavy hitters as Twisted Sister and AC/DC, as well as some smatterings of Foghat and even a bit of Boston in the mix. All in all it offers the listener everything that was so memorable about power-rock in the 70’s but brings it forward into a whole new era of melodic rock. Intrigued readers can find out more about the band, see their videos at americanmafiaband.com or follow them on their Facebook page at fb.com/AmericanMafiaBand/

Sinerje Studio (March 2016)

Hey, kids…grab your headphones and hop into the Wayback Machine for a retro-rockin’ musical roller coaster ride, courtesy of American Mafia. This debut release sounds like it was recorded and released sometime back in the early ‘70s. The tones, the attitude, the riffs and the grooves all ooze with a vintage authenticity and bona fide (dare I say “classic”) retro-vibe that hits you hard and knocks you over like a cyclonic timewind blowing from an era long gone when music was everything that it’s [pretty much] not today.

Featuring a thoroughbred stable of FIVE incredibly soulful vocalists (Don Chafin, Ed Terry, John West, Jimmy Kunes & David Knight), you might think there might be a falloff in continuity…amazingly, that is not the case, which speaks volumes to not only the stylistic family tree branch that these vocalists share, but the strength and tightness of the band that backs them up.

Tom Jude (guitar) is one smooth operator, commanding the retrorock proceedings with swagger, proportion and total control. Both his rhythm & lead tones are PERFECT (each of his solo sections are a thing of string shakin’, smile-inducing blues-rock beauty), and veteran groovesmiths Freddy Villano (bass) and Bobby Marks (drums) sound absolutely legendary together – dead nuts on, and without a doubt one of the finest rhythm sections in rock n’ roll. Fabulous. Just listen to this record and you’ll see this is no idle boast. Every tune is truly incendiary – when was the last time you could say something like that about any one record?

I couldn’t help but getting sucked into this CD from the first riff of the opening track “Obsession” – a joyful synchopated groovefest hoppin’ & boppin’ like a methedrine-fueled jumping bean. Tracks like “Every Time”, “Friendly Fire” and “Let Me Go” are backbeat pulse-grooves unrelenting in their drive and attitude.

The band is totally on fire in “Death & Satisfaction”…my personal favorite…a beyond cool groovacious riff fest that absolutely churns & burns. In my opinion it takes the very best that Whitesnake ever did and succesfully elevates it to another level. Devastating. The heavy & bluesy hard rockin’ retool of Stevie Wonder’s “Living For The City” is a killer and an unexpected treat…they truly make it their own, and the short instrumental closer “Resurrection” is an echo-drenched, psychedelic neck-wringer that leaves you wanting more…MUCH more. So now what do you do? That’s easy: HIT PLAY AGAIN FROM THE BEGINNING.

American Mafia reminds me of an old pair of boots…with a fit that only comes with time…the longer you wear them, the better they feel. That’s the way this CD feels, and the band…just like the boots…are broken in with a fit, feel and finish that is worn in and aged to perfection. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Welcome home…to the Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine.

Jimmy Ryan - Truth Squad / Flyin' Ryan Brothers / Guitar Rock Afficionado (September 2015)

'Rock n' Roll Hit Machine' by American Mafia is aptly titled with every track on it being a hit within itself. Before blowing that statement off as a biased boast it's a good idea to take a closer look and listen to what American Mafia is all about. Founded by Jude and Villano with drums by Marks this release also features an admirable cast of vocalists that lend their flavor to an already spicy mix of hard rock anthems in the making.

It's also worth noting that although this type of sound can easily be branded as simply hard rock there are other elements at play here that make this album diverse enough to be enjoyed by rockers, metalheads, groovehounds and just about anyone that digs a good rhythm and nice beat. It's hard, heavy, groovy and way cool all around.

Listen to a song like 'Obsession' and you'll hear melodic hard rock power then crank up 'Your Good Lovin' and you'll be captivated by the subtle nuances that come to the forefront. Overall 'Rock n' Roll Hit Machine' is one hell of a debut release for skilled veterans that know how to make music fun.

They've got the band. They've got the music. They've got the message. And when you put it all together you get American Mafia. Rock n' Roll Hit Machine. Indeed. Truer words were never spoken.

High Voltage Music Rocks (September 2015)

American Mafia is a group whose members are from the Holy Water group that enjoyed a reputation in the 80s/90s without having succeeded in the time to release an album. Yet Holy Water was a group of Hard FM that could compete with the larger ones. But fate decided otherwise.

In 2009 they released "The Collected Sessions" to be their musical testament and finally be discovered worldwide. The singer David Knight proved to be a highly talented singer, near Lou Gramm or Keith Hansen. Under the leadership of guitarist Thomas Jude (Doro) and bassist Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot), the group reformed and began recording new songs. But in 2014 David Knight alas, commits suicide. The group must then make a decision, abandon the project or continue working on the album. They decide to continue but with the idea of not taking a new singer but invite different vocalists who will share the singing and songwriting.

The group also decided to change its name and was renamed "American Mafia", a fairly descriptive name for the guest list is impressive, since we find a string of excellent vocalists such as John West (Badlands, Royal Hunt), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus), Don Chaffin (Voices of extreme), Mike DiMeo (Riot, Masterplan) and Ed Terry (Rondinelli). The group is completed with Bobby Marks (Dokken) on drums, Jay Davidson (Cinderella) and Good Twining (Feinstein) sharing keyboards.

This album entitled "Rock N 'Roll Hit Machine" is a real success in the genre, the group offering hard rock tinged blues and leading away from the Hard FM of Holy Water. From the first title "Obsession", the group offers us a high quality piece a groovy style to Ritchie Kotzen , it starts strong! "Every time" the second title with Jimmy Kunes is in a hard blues style that also makes us think of Nazareth. The bass-drums rhythm has warmly purring and we feel a real cohesion: A real pleasure. "You Good Lovin'" is approaching the universe of Bad Company with John imperial West. "Death & satisfaction," song that begins with a harmonica rising crescendo and it is Don Chaffin that hits the mic, a powerful song with a chorus speed to Aerosmith! Then comes "Friendly fire" a mid-tempo song that takes you with a beautiful melody and chorus to fall. We are beginning to realize that this album is a little hard rock bomb.

Away we go! "If I Knew" continues the festival: A good piece of hard Bad Co style Blues with a great chorus and what rhythm! Jude and Thomas who always treats us to superb swinging solos. The group also gratifies us with David Knight and a good cover of Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City". Let's stop here to let you discover a few titles and do not be worried as the twelve songs are of the same ilk! The group has managed a feat because there is no difference when one feels only between songs either in the sound, in the style or in the strength of the compositions. The Rock N 'Roll Hit Machine is a superb album that will give you pleasure with every listen, that's for sure! So if you are fans of Foreigner, of Great White, of Tesla or Bad Company, or all groups in the same style, take this album on, you will not regret it!

Histozic.fr (June 2015)

Everything old is new: American Mafia has been making headlines for its take on traditional hard rock, scoring airplay for this even dozen tunes that will no doubt take listeners' memories back to the halcyon days of Bad Company and Whitesnake. The lineup clearly boasts "supergroup" status, as all of its members have already reached fame for their past exploits: Guitarist Tom Jude (Doro, Holy Water) and bassist Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot, Widowmaker) have joined forces with drummer Bobby Marks (Dokken), and, on this album, an amazing group of vocalists, including John West, Jimmy Kunes, Ed Terry, Don Chaffin, Mike DiMeo, and David Knight. Chaffin is now the regular touring vocalist for the band, according to the group's website. The disc was produced by Villano and co-produced by Jude. The album is so formulaic that it isn't formula at all: Expert playing mixed with soaring singing and melodic, original, actually rocking songs is a tradition that's never going away. Case in point: How many bands could cover Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City" and make it sound fresh yet traditional?

Good Times Magazine (June 2015)

Rather weirdly, only last week was I listening to the underappreciated 2009 Holy Water album of collected, previously unreleased material from the 90s, wondering what ever happened to them, when what should arrive through the mailbox but this album that features guitarist Tom Jude, bassist Freddy Villano, drummer Bobby Marks and singer David Knight from that band. Although the promo material doesn't mention it, Knight took his own life in 2013 and the band had to make a decision whether or not to continue. This is the result, a rollicking disc of bluesy hard rock, with less of an AOR feel than Holy Water. Knight features on just two tracks: a version of the much covered Stevie Wonder chestnut 'Living For The City' and the melodious 'All I Need', which is lighter than the rest of the hard rocking on the disc. There are six singers in total who co-write their tracks. All do a good job. The effect reminds me of those LA Blues Authority albums from the early 90s that featured a rotating guest list of top rockers from track to track. John West from Royal Hunt and Artension does a great Paul Rodgers-esque job on the excellent 'Your Good Lovin'', and along with the soul shaking 'If I Knew', sung by Ed Terry, are highlights. The single from the record, 'Friendly Fire', is a slower, grinding epic in that Whitesnake vein, well sung by Don Chaffin. 'Man On The Flying Trapeze' also has a Whitesnake feel thanks to Jimmy Kunes' lusty performance. The album's strength comes from the fact that the core band really grooves and Jude's a talented guitarist, which gives the record an identity. However, I feel that's undermined by using so many singers. As a collaborative, mob effort it's a good album, but next time out they should choose just the one singer. Nevertheless, this is smoking hard rock that will fill the void while you wait for the imminent arrival of the new Whitesnake disc.

Duncan Jamieson / Powerplay Magazine (April 2015)

I'm pretty sure that someone over there remembers the US band Holy Water. With an album under their belt ("Collected Sessions") and a new one in the working-stage, unfortunately lead singer David Knight suddenly committed suicide, basically writing the end of the band as we know it. Luckily for all of us melodic rockers, guitarist Tom Jude and bass player Freddy Villano decided to re-group and release an album under a different monicker. And here we are: American Mafia and its debut album "Rock N' Roll Hit Machine". More "bluesy" and "traditional" Hard Rock than the AOR-ish material of Holy Water, this album is a great collection of songs played with passion, heart and a great musicianship. Besides the above-mentioned Jude and Villano, the CD features Bobby Marks on drums and a long, impressive list of premiere Hard Rock singers, such as John West (Artension, Royal Hunt), Mike DiMeo (Riot, Masterplan), Ed Terry (Rondinelli), Jimmy Kunes, Don Chaffin and, of course, David Knight. Solid, groovy and catchy, these 12 songs are juicy candies for all the Bad Company, Foreigner and classic-Whitesnake fans.

Frontiers Rock Festival (May 2015)

Ready, aim, fire! American Mafia has entered the scene and blown us all away, luckily only in a musical way. The New York-based Hard Rock band have unleashed their powerful twelve track debut "Rock 'N' Roll Hit Machine" providing us with a nice dose of 1970s Blues-soaked Hard Rock which reminds me of early Foreigner mixed with Whitesnake and Bad Company.

The clan was initiated by Doro Pesch's guitarist Tom Jude and Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot, Holy Water, Widowmaker) on the bass and is completed with Dokken-drummer Bobby Marks. Since there's the phrase "a band is only as strong as their singer", the guys opted for and can boast of including six outstanding Rock vocalist specimens; John West (Badlands, Artension, Royal Hunt), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus, Savoy Brown, Flood The Engine), Don Chaffin (VOX, Red Lamb), Mike DiMeo (Riot, Masterplan, The Lizards), Ed Terry (Rondinelli, Rage & Beyond) and David Knight (Holy Water). Sadly one has to mention the tragic suicide of the latter in 2014... Rest In Peace, Mr. Knight.

"...Machine" opens with "Obsession", a pounding, Funk-influenced Hard Rock track with Terry on vocals. During the Southern Rock styled "Every Time" Kunes is tearing his vocal chords apart and reminds me of a rougher Jimmy Barnes.

"Your Good Lovin'" is a Bluesy masterpiece with West on vocals while "Death & Satisfaction" only leaves satisfaction behind. It begins with a groovy, Bluesy harmonica that Aerosmith couldn't have done better and develops into a phenomenal Blues Rock track that I personally played on repeat countless times. "Friendly Fire", If I Knew" and "Man On The Flying Trapeze" show the band's tightness and skills to a large extent. The killer cover of Stevie Wonder's "Living In The City" featuring Knight on vocals is a genius strike. "The Sky Is Falling" is a nice, smooth, classical 1980s Melodic Rock piece and the beautiful ballad "All I Need" adds some refreshing variety to the record.

Altogether "...Machine" comes along like a flashback to the 1970s when music was written with a lot of passion and soul. From all angles, this album contains one cracker after another from the song-writing to the musical and vocal performances. The six singers add their consistently brilliant and different sounds and styles to the twelve creative Rock gems that feature a range of varied influences that include Blues, Hard Rock and Melodic Rock with even a little Funk and Psychedelica here and there.

A lot of diversity and a fantastic production make this record turn out to be a passionate shot through the heart. I can't wait for summer to begin, take "Rock 'N' Roll Hit Machine" to my car and let it blast out of the open windows.

Julia Braun / Fireworks Magazine (April 2015)

Never has a title been so apt. This is pure top shelf, retro gold. On paper it could be a disaster: blues-based, melodic classic rock built around the duo of guitarist Tom Jude and bass player Freddy Villano, with an assortment of singers - six in total. You'd think a few would be hit and, more than likely, a high percentage would be a miss but far, far from it. This plays like the best classic rock album you've never heard. Bad Company, early Aerosmith, Foreigner, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Tesla - you'd listen to that compilation, right? That's the kind of groove that American Mafia have rekindled and it's to their immense credit that they have produced a memorable, rock radio friendly, classic hard rock sound that makes you realise why those aforementioned bands are held in such high esteem. Your favourite song may depend on which voice you prefer but you'll be impressed by all 12 tracks on offer - this will also make you realise that certain bands are still afloat because of nostalgia as none of them have released anything this good since their heyday. Sliding it in they ain't....

Classic rock. Still rocking like a hurricane.

Ross Welford / UBER ROCK (March 2015)

There are times in life when leave everything fall is easier than to prosecute and try to move forward. We imagine a lot of insurmountable obstacles to make the mountains foregone. Following the suicide of their singer David Knight, members of HOLY WATER refused to see a mountain in front of them and chose the option not to give up and, in memory of David to continue no matter what. Changing the group name in AMERICAN MAFIA and enlisting for the occasion a string of singers handpicked, the group returns to the front of the stage with ROCK N'ROLL HIT MACHINE .

Mix of Blues, Classic Rock and Rock so 70's where the groove is omnipresent, much to say right now, it ROCK N'ROLL HIT MACHINE is excellent in every way, moreover with a tendency to offer its resolutely dusted all the facial expressions of the genre. Sharp riffs, solo and rhythm specific ultras, vocal lines and a groove omni present such as the excellent YOUR GOOD LOVIN ' which by its "AOR" trend offers, in addition, an extra dimension to the band's music. Supported by a concrete prod, a title like DEATH AND SATISFACTION flies and makes you flit fun.

It would be an insult to the rest of the album talk of a title over another. But you need to remember this album is that it contains 12 compounds are up and work (just imagine dealing with different singers and rehabilitate previously written songs for someone else and all the emotions that entails ...).

And rest assured, the fact that there are different singers alters in any case all that remains highly consistent. For any fan of Rock, Classic Rock.

8 / 10

Sleaze This City (January 2015)

From what I gather this is based around guitarist Tom Jude (ex-Doro), bassist Freddy Villano (ex-Quiet Riot/Widowmaker) and drummer Bobby Marks, while the other spots are filled by prominent guests. When I see names like Jimmy Kunes (Cactus), John West (Artension, Badlands) and Mike DiMeo (Riot, The Lizards etc) I instantly get interested. Well, I’m happy to say the album opener "Obsession" features singer Ed Terry, who is just as interesting. The track is a cool riff-oriented hard rocker with a funky touch. It also shows the band has a cool groove and a tight sound, plus guitarist Tom really rips the leads! Great stuff! Second track "Every Time" is a more straight ahead southern rocker with Kunes stretching his vocal cords like only he can. Next up is John West, whose voice may not be as raspy, but instead he adorns this Bad Company style Brit rocker with a more Paul Rodgers:y blues feel. Up-tempo blues rocker Death & Destruction introduces another outstanding singer in Don Chaffin (Red Lamb), who sounds confusingly close to Rufus Huff’s Jarrod England, whose voice I totally love! So far, four outta four! And, it just keeps on! This is top notch bluesy melodic rock with a strong British seventies vibe. There’s also a cover of Stevie Wonder’s "Living For The City", featuring singer Dave Knight, who sadly committed suicide in 2014. This one sounds as if the mid-seventies Foreigner had put their teeth into it. A total ripper! There’s even a hit hidden in there! "The Sky Is Falling" sounds like something fans of late seventies melodic rock, such as Balance, early Survivor or the aforementioned Foreigner, would embrace. Nice melodic hooks indeed! This is really an awesome album which made this a throwback Wednesday reminding me of the great late seventies melodic rock and the long forgotten odd gems by bands like Buxx, Target, Morningstar, Hero, Fortnox, Russia, Oakley etc. You won’t see this one leaving my CD player any time soon!

Janne Stark / Stark Music Reviews (October 2014)

American Mafia rose from the ashes of AOR outfit Holy Water, which first formed in 1982 and the brainchild of guitarist Tom Jude (Doro), bassist Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot, Widowmaker) and vocalist David Knight. Together they crafted an array of melodic rock akin to Bad Company, Foreigner and Whitesnake. In the years that followed, the band compiled their best material along with a few covers, and released them as The Collected Sessions (2009). The disc was originally intended as a “teaser” while the band worked on their debut album. With the unexpected passing of Knight in early 2014, the band was faced with the conundrum of disbanding, replacing the singer or forging ahead. Changing the project name to American Mafia, Jude and Villano, together with drummer Bobby Marks (Dokken), assembled an all-star cast of gifted musicians to bring new life to the Holy Water Collected Sessions. As a Swan song to original vocalist David Knight (RIP), the collection of 12-tracks was dusted off and given a facelift. The new recordings feature an impressive array of vocalists including John West (Badland, Royal Hunt), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus), Mike DiMeo (Riot, The Lizards) and Ed Terry (Terrarosa, Rondinelli).

The production value of Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine is top-notch, an extremely difficult task considering over 12 studios were used in the recording. Three tracks were resurrected from the original Collected Sessions including the radio-friendly “If I Knew” (featuring the stellar vocals of Ed Terry), the Stevie Wonder cover “Living For The City” and the soulful ballad “All I Need” (both with David Knight’s original vocals). Of the newer tracks “Obsession” jumps out with Mr. Big-like melodies, ripping guitar, thundering drums and swelling organ. Ed Terry makes the track his own nailing down the vocal with pure class. Cactus singer Jimmy Kunes is a standout with his vocal rendition of the riff-monster “Every Time” and Ted Nugent-esque “Man on the Flying Trapeze”. Where the songwriting takes a firm footing is in the grooves of “Friendly Fire” and the harmonica-laced “Death & Satisfaction”. Johnny West’s works vocal magic on “Your Good Lovin’ and “The Sky Is Falling” while Mike DiMeo does justice to “Let Me Go” adding both vocals and keyboards. Resurrecting the power, dynamic and earthy vibe of 70s rock, American Mafia knocks it out of the ballpark with Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine!

Todd K. Smith / Editor - theelectricbeard.com (October 2014)

American Mafia is a virtual rock and roll machine, as the title of the new CD indicates. Bringing to mind classic hard rock along the lines of Zeppelin or Bad Company at their best, we hear the influence of Plant and Rodgers in terms of vocals--- even if the CD is peppered with a variety of gifted guest vocalists. The guitar is great throughout, as is the material, though my favorite track is the cover of Stevie Wonder's 1973 'Living for the City,' an unlikely choice for a hard rock band. Still, the band renders the song with style and class, showing virtuoso musicianship on this track and on the others, too. Tom Jude's guitar playing is memorable and lyrical and a force to be reckoned with. This is not one to miss.

Steve Rosen - Author / Journalist (October 2014)

Tragic circumstance can often bring out the best in people, so when Holy Water - a band who released their The Collected Sessions debut to great acclaim - frontman David Knight tragically committed suicide earlier this year, the rest of the band had to decide whether to honour his life by soldiering on with the material they had been working on, or move to pastures new. Thankfully for them and us, the former option was taken, albeit via a name change to American Mafia, and Rock n' Roll Hit Machine is their first offering.

And what a first offering it is, guest vocalists who in the main or craft their own lyrics leading to a band feel, even though the voices change from song to song. However American Mafia themselves are no newbies, Doro Pesch guitarist Tom Jude, Quiet Riot/Widowmaker bassist Freddy Villano and Dokken/Arabia drummer Bobby Marks using all their experience to craft an assured slice of varied 70s Rock that drips with authenticity. Behind the mic Ed Terry (Rage & Beyond), Jimmy Kunes (Cactus), John West (Royal Hunt/Artension) Don Chaffin (VOX) and Mike DiMeo (Riot/Masterplan) lend their not inconsiderable talents, taking a set of already classy tracks and adding that little something special that raises Rock n' Roll Hit Machine to scintillating heights. Terry is up first, his husky authority perfect for this groovin' scene setter, before Kunes brings a Coverdale cool to a Bluesy stomp-a-romp. Not to be outdone West takes "Your Good Lovin'" down the Bad Company path, his Rodgers-esque delivery and the gang backing vocals adding to the hip-thrusting good times. This gives way to Chaffin taking up the charge on "Death & Satisfaction", where a Hendrix vibe meets Whitesnake via a slice of Magnum pomp and "Friendly Fire" which slows things down as Chaffin reaches for the vocal stratosphere. As if that wasn't enough, Ed Terry adds a little grit on the dirty shuffle of "If I Knew", before "Let Me Go" allows Mike DiMeo to deliver a characteristically varied and convincing performance.

A rocked up version of the Stevie Wonder classic "Living For The City" gives us all a chance to revel once more in the vocal prowess of David Knight, his clear, powerful style perfect for a song that stays true to the original, as it somehow reminds of everyone from ZZ Top to Lenny Kravtiz, while the American Mafia penned "All I Need" really allows Knight's voice to shine on a semi-acoustic track that rivals anything else on this excellent album.

Fittingly, instrumental "Resurrection" closes things out, 55 seconds of percussion, bass sliding and guitar howling, illustrating that while Rock n' Roll Hit Machine contains and array of ultra talented vocalists in the best of surrounds, without the songs to back it all up, it would count for little. American Mafia have the songs and then some, for from start to finish this is a sure fire Rock n' Roll Hit Machine!

Steven Reid / Sea Of Tranquility (October 2014)

Making the best of a tragic situation is oftentimes impossible; why even bother reliving the moments of utter darkness when you can just walk away and hopefully put it behind you? That was the question guitarist Tom Jude and bassist Freddy Villano had to answer when they were working on their band Holy Water’s new studio album and lead singer and friend David Knight committed suicide. Think about the ramifications … did they really want to have another voice on the songs they wrote with Knight, and with Knight’s voice in mind?

Instead of letting that darkness win, the gents enlisted a who’s who of current Rock vocalists, changed the name of the band to American Mafia, and created a stellar slice of Classic Rock that feels both familiar and refreshingly new.

Right out of the gates is “Obsession,” with vocalist Ed Terry (Rondinelli/Rage & Beyond) at the helm. It’s a slammin’, groovy Rock composition, harkening back to heavier end of the ‘70s. Villano’s bass talent is obvious and powerfully intricate, and makes you want to move. It’s a cool intro to American Mafia.

Those of you who know John West from his bands like Artension and Royal Hunt are going to be surprised at his “Your Good Lovin’” vocals. It’s so … Lou Gramm meets Paul Rodgers. This is one of the highlights of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hit Machine. Who knew West had such a bluesy, Classic Rock ability? As Hardrock Haven has noted before in their Holy Water review (to paraphrase), that although this is the first time you are hearing the song it sounds like you’ve been singing along to it for 20 years, still applies here.

Don Chaffin (Vox/Red Lamb) sings on a couple tracks here, and he’s inspiring on perhaps the best overall written composition, “Friendly Fire.” This song isn’t just “good;” the groove, a crossbreed of Zeppelin and Deep Purple, the manic crescendo to the chorus, those soaring vocals on the bridge—this is the “holy shit” moment on the release. These guys are on to something, and it’s awesome …

“If I Knew” had to be one of those haunting songs for the guys, because David Knight co-wrote it, but his vocals did not end up on the recorded version. Ed Terry handles the vocals, and he sounds like a bluesy version of Eric Martin. The bottom end of this song just makes you want to bounce, and drink, maybe both at the same time. It’s a celebration.

David Knight doesn’t show up vocally until track eight, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” If you haven’t heard him sing before, he has a crystal clear, effortless delivery, an envious range and what you really need to pull this off … a hell of a lot of soul. While many times covers are a throw away on an album, this is clearly not the case here.

Mike DiMeo, who plays keys on many of the tracks, does double-duty on “Let Me Go,” both keys and lead vocals. He pulls a John West as well—if you know DiMeo from just Riot and Masterplan, you’ll be surprised. Of course, if you dig his lesser known project The Lizards, it makes sense. This is one of the safer tracks on Rock ‘n’ Roll Hit Machine; it seems ready to unleash itself at various times, but then pulls itself back. The guitar solo, followed by the keyboard solo, play off each other in a masterful way.

“All I Need,” with Knight on vocals again, was originally recorded and released on Holy Water’s The Collected Sessions in 2009. This is the one song on the album approaching the term “ballad,” but it’s more so a mid-tempo acoustic-led slow rocker. It’s the one track that makes you wonder too much and too hard, “what could have been … what should have been.” But just embrace it for what it is—a great Rock song featuring a great Rock singer.

The album ends on the poignant “Resurrection,” a brief, somewhat ominous bass-heavy instrumental whose title says it all.

American Mafia’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hit Machine is better than it should be. How do you take so many different singers, so many songwriting teams, and a couple songs written for someone else’s voice and make it one cohesive, naturally flowing release from start to finish? That seems daunting at best, a fool’s errand at worse. Good thing Villano and Jude didn’t listen to the voices of doubt; they accomplished it, and you should really hear it …

Hardrock Haven rating: 8.4/10

Derric Miller / HARDROCKHAVEN.NET (November 2014)

Freddy Villano of American Mafia whacks the bass
Interview with Freddy Villano in Bass Guitar Magazine (March 2015)

I’ve always been more into players who play bass, like James Jamerson, Boz Burrell, Andy Fraser, John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler and Bernard Edwards than the virtuosos. That probably stems from being more into great songs than virtuosic playing. I am as influenced by the singer-songwriter Charlie Sexton as I am by Geezer Butler. I mostly play four-string bass, but do play and own a five-string and an eight-string. It’s out of necessity really, especially when playing power metal and stoner/doom. Bands in those genres, at least the ones I’ve worked with, like a lot of B, C and C# tuning, so the five-string really accommodates that sound. I had a real epiphany when I realised I could just tune the five-string to a low C or C# when a song was in one of those keys rather than trying to play it first or second position! I will slap if it’s something I’ve written, but it’s not necessarily something I gravitate towards if I’m jamming or improvising. It’s more of a songwriting tool to me than pyrotechnics. My favourite bass ever to date is my silver sparkle custom shop Fender P-Bass Deluxe, built by Alex Perez. The greatest bass player that ever lived is Juan Alderete. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my friend: he’s a pioneer. American Mafia’s Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine is probably my proudest moment. I not only played bass and co-wrote the tunes, but also produced the record.
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