Q5 was formed in 1983 by members of two popular Seattle bands. Vocalist Jonathan K and guitarist (famous guitar tremolo inventor) Floyd Rose from THE C.O.R.E. and Rick Pierce (guitar), Evan Sheeley (bass) and Gary Thompson (drums) from TKO.
A few days ago Rock Overdose has a contact with Q5 drummer Jeffrey A McCormack and despite his busy schedule with the band , he was kind enough to answer to our question about their new album “New World Order” and everything around Q5.
Here we go…
Rock Overdose: Hello Jeffrey. How are you doing?
Jeffrey McCormack : I am doing extraordinarily well, Thank you! An incredibly exciting time with our new cd coming out soon!!
Rock Overdose: When did you start and what did you make to play music?
Jeffrey McCormack: I began studying music at age 9. My uncle was a professor at the prestigious Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and my studies began by taking piano lessons with him. I loved playing piano, but HATED taking piano lessons.... My uncle figured that out, and gave me the opportunity to try out drums through one of his other piano students, who just happened to be a drum teacher.... I was thrilled!!!
He also knew that I was obsessed with KISS, so he bought us tickets to my very first concert when they played in Seattle in 1979 on the Dynasty tour! That was when I decided what I wanted to do with my life...
I began taking any music class at school that I could, and formed a series of "garage bands" that played regularly in the Seattle area to hone my craft.
In 1984, I joined a local metal band called JUVENILE. We rehearsed at this little place called "The Fun Hole" in the Fremont district of Seattle, and shared the space with other bands.(Juvenile would later rehearse in a house, and shared that space with my good friend WARREL DANE and his band Serpent's Knight)... The band that played before us was a very popular Seattle band called TKO. Their lineup at that time was Brad Sinsel (vox), former CULPRIT members Kjarten Kristofferson (guitar) and Scott Earl (bass) and the drummer who would completely change my musical life, the amazing Ken Mary!
Watching Ken Mary play front really just a few feet away was an education worth millions of dollars... He's a brilliant musician: passion, dynamics, unbelievable technique and extraordinary showmanship! I wanted to be THAT kind of a drummer.... I thank him to this day for giving me proper direction in my musical goals!
Between Juvenile and now, I've had the great pleasure of playing with many, many bands and some remarkable musicians including John DeVol of Culprit in the band "DeVol", as well as a brief stint with Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley in what would later become "Alice In Chains". I was fortunate enough to be invited to play with HEIR APPARENT in 2006, and such a massive honor to play with FIFTH ANGEL at their only public performance at 2010s KEEP IT TRUE FESTIVAL.... That was a surreal experience, sitting in the chair that was once occupied by Ken Mary! Equally surreal now, since I'm sitting in the chair once occupied by the great Gary Thompson!
As far as what I've made, I made money as a musician in my adult life, playing live shows and doing a good deal of studio work, including over 80+ albums released worldwide, and soundtracks for Showtime, etc.
Rock Overdose: 80s-early 90s was a great period to play good music, especially heavy metal. Do you agree?
Jeffrey McCormack: Absolutely! During the 80s, I was the assistant manager of a rehearsal warehouse in Seattle called the MUSIC BANK. Within just those walls, there were 60 bands rehearsing... and that was just one of MANY facilities housing bands here at the time! It was a magical time in Seattle for sure. And we had so many great bands emerging from Seattle such as Queensryche and Metal Church, Fifth Angel, etc, so there was plenty to be inspired by!
The 90s were a bit more difficult.
I played in NIGHTSHADE with Rick and Jonathan from Q5 in 1991, and we released our first cd, "DEAD OF NIGHT" then. Kerrang magazine gave the cd a "5K" rating (their highest rating at the time) and a full page review.... on the next page was a review of a brand new band from Seattle called "Pearl Jam" and their brand new cd "10".... they gave them 3 Ks.....Obviously, we all know what happened after that... The Seattle clubs filled with "grunge" bands, and metal took a definite back seat.
Metal never dies though.... Look what’s happening now! Queensryche is the strongest I’ve seen them in years, Metal Church and Sanctuary are killing it out there, and now Q5!!!
Rock Overdose: 1985 Q5 released “When The Mirror Cracks” album, but after this release, the band dissolve. Do you know any details about it?
Jeffrey McCormack: I don't know every detail about this. I've heard many stories, but I certainly was not there, and not part of what happened. I know that it was a challenging time for the band, but out of it came an album that many fans love a lot. We are currently playing a few songs from that album in our live set, but we made the songs more guitar driven and dropped the keyboards.
Floyd Rose, of course, has been very busy with his highly successful guitar tremolo inventions, guitars and accessories, and Gary Thompson is still playing in the Seattle area with a folk/rock band called The Hallyards and has a very successful career as well. Both were invited to participate in the reunion, but both declined, giving us their blessings to move forward!
Rock Overdose: How are things going for Q5 in 2016?
Jeffrey McCormack: This has been an unbelievable year for us! The shows we've played have been amazing, and the reviews of them have been stellar! We signed with FRONTIERS MUSIC SRL, which has been an amazing relationship... We wrote and recorded our brand new CD "NEW WORLD ORDER" which will be released July 8, and many more shows to come including Headbangers Open Air in July and of course the KEEP IT TRUE anniversary performance in April 2017... It just keeps getting better and better!
Rock Overdose: Can you introduce us the members of Q5?
Jeffrey McCormack: Certainly! I'll start with the three that all the Q5 fans are all familiar with... Jonathan Scott K is the original Q5 (and NIGHTSHADE) vocalist, Rick Pierce the original Q5 ( and also TKO / NIGHTSHADE ) guitarist, and Evan Sheeley the original Q5 (and also TKO, and recent NIGHTSHADE) bassist!
Then there's me on drums and backing vocals, and our newest addition, guitar virtuoso Dennis Turner!
Rock Overdose: Can you tell us some words about Q5 story? How did you all meet? Was Nightshade project a reason to meet Q5 members?
Jeffrey McCormack: When the original Q5 disbanded, Rick and Jonathan started the NIGHTSHADE project. I was a Q5 fan from the moment I heard LONELY LADY on the radio, so when I met Rick Pierce face to face (accidentally), the first words out of my mouth had to be "Hi... I'm your new drummer"...
He probably thought I was nuts, but he offered me an audition, and from that we went on to write and record NIGHTSHADE's first cd, "DEAD OF NIGHT". Just after the cd was released, I had to leave the band due to some difficult family issues....
Nightshade continued, replacing me with Frankie Rongo on drums, and would eventually bring in Evan Sheeley on bass...
In 2009, NIGHTSHADE was invited to play at the Headbangers Open Air Festival in Germany. Since there were three original members of Q5 in the band, the promoter asked if they would be willing to do a second set as "Q5". They agreed, and the response was huge.
Rock Overdose: In 2014 Q5 performed at Sweden Rock Festival as you said before. Was this the beginning of Q5 new era?
Jeffrey McCormack: After the Headbangers Open Air performance was received so well, they had no idea that there would be more. It was really a favor to a promoter who was, a the time, their label owner as well.
Out of the blue, they received the invitation from Sweden Rock Fest to perform as Q5 for their 2014 festival. The band brought in (current Metal Church guitarist) Rick Van Zant to play Floyd Rose's parts, and did the performance as what they thought would be a "one-off" show. The response from the fans was HUGE, and as the band returned to the states, it was clear that "Q5" needed to return officially.
Rock Overdose:As you said before, after Sweden Rock Fest, Q5 returned to Seattle and you and Dennis Turner complete the line up. What’s the story behind it ?
Jeffrey McCormack: Well, as the band returned home, Rick Van Zant had to return to his duties with METAL CHURCH, and Frankie returned to his very successful physical training career. Frankie sent me a message asking on behalf of the band if I would be willing to take the roll of permanent drummer of Q5, and without blinking an eye, I accepted.
We began rehearsing right away for upcoming shows in Greece and Cyprus, and brought in former Fifth Angel guitarist Kendall Bechtel to replace Rick Van Zant. When we returned from those performances, Kendall stepped down due to musical differences, and the search began for a permanent replacement.
We held auditions at our rehearsal facility in Seattle, and through a great friend of ours in L.A (oddly enough, my former singer in the band JUVENILE). We were referred to a Seattle guitarist who had worked with (former Metal Church vocalist) Ronnie Munroe on his solo material. That guy was Dennis Turner.
We knew from the moment that he plugged his guitar in and hit his first chord with us that he was the guy. He is a brilliant guitarist that complements Rick Pierce's brilliance in sound and technique, and a really great person as well...... the perfect fit!
Rock Overdose: Which are your main influences as a band?
Jeffrey McCormack: There are a ton of influences. We are all huge Led Zeppelin fans, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Scorpions, Michael Schenker, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, AC/DC.... the list goes on and on. The list is MASSIVE when you go to personal influences!
Rock Overdose: After a long silence Q5 will release their new full length album “New World Order” at July 8th 2016. Can you tell us some words about it?
Jeffrey McCormack: Q5 fans, old and new will be very happy with this cd. It’s a very powerful piece of work that we worked ridiculous amounts of hours creating. Meticulous listening and re-listening to previous Q5 material, and close attention to sounds and themes that we truly liked and knew the fans would like...
The album has something for everybody! It has the big rock anthems like " We Came Here To Rock", "Halfway to Hell" and "The Right Way", it has faster, heavier pieces like "One Night in Hellas" and "Fear Is the Killer", and the more grande story pieces like "Prisoner of Mind" and "Land of the Setting Sun", and the title track,"NEW WORLD ORDER" is definitely one to turn up VERY LOUD!
We are extremely proud of his work, and cannot wait for rock/metal fans all over the world to have it in their hands!!!
Rock Overdose: I hope to see you again in Greece someday.
Jeffrey McCormack: We have, and will always have a place in our hearts for Greece. The shows in Athens and in Cyprus in 2014 were fantastic experiences we will never forget, evidenced in the second song on our new cd "ONE NIGHT IN HELLAS".... It is most certainly at the top of our list for places we WILL play again!
Rock Overdose: If you want just send a message to all Q5 Greek fans.
Jeffrey McCormack: Q5 has listened to the fans. We always do. We have returned because of you. We are here because of you. There is a new cd coming out called "NEW WORLD ORDER" because of YOU! We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of you for every supportive word and gesture you've given us through the years and continue to give! Raise your glasses and celebrate with us, as this victory is not just the band's.... it's YOURS!!!!!
We cannot wait to get out there and meet all of you (and some of you AGAIN!) on the road and share in this great new beginning together! THANK YOU SO MUCH, FROM ALL OF US!!!!
Rock Overdose: Jeffrey thank you for doing this interview.
Jeffery McCormack: Thank YOU for this great opportunity! We will see you soon when we bring "NEW WORLD ORDER" to GREECE!!!