Rich Howells

Classic heavy metal band The Rods announce new lineup and album with Scranton and Carbondale musicians

Classic heavy metal band The Rods announce new lineup and album with Scranton and Carbondale musicians
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Last year, legendary heavy metal band The Rods released their first full-length album of original material in eight years, “Brotherhood of Metal,” and drummer Carl Canedy debuted a new band for his solo project, Canedy.

This year, The Rods are changing things up even more, announcing a new lineup and album that sees the departure of longtime bassist Garry Bordonaro and founding vocalist/guitarist David “Rock” Feinstein moving into a different role in the classic metal group. This move also adds another Northeastern Pennsylvania connection to the band known for their old school 1980s hard rock sound.

“A busy 2020 lies ahead for The Rods. The band has been writing songs for their new album, ‘Shockwave.’ If that weren’t enough news, David and Carl have added two new members to the band. First, on vocals is the amazing Michael San Ciro (Totally Lost Cause/Canedy) as their new lead singer. Blowing up the rhythm section with his ‘low end from hell’ is Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot/Dee Snyder’s Widowmaker) on bass guitar,” the band said in a statement on March 27.

“Yes, we will miss our friend Garry. We thank him for his ‘years of service’ and friendship,” they added on Facebook. “Please know that it was Garry’s choice not to go on. We did not – and would never – throw him out. But we must go on.”

Asking fans to welcome San Ciro and Villano into “The Rods family,” the band noted that “Shockwave” will tentatively be released in 2021.

“This new version of The Rods happened quite by chance. David and I have both worked with Freddy Villano, both live and in the studio. Freddy and I became a killer rhythm section within two songs of our first gig together. It was surprising how well our styles meshed. We’ve all been friends for several years now, so when it came to choosing a new bass player, there was no other choice – Freddy was the man!” Canedy said in a press release.

“Michael and I have performed live several times, and we recorded the new [upcoming] Canedy album together. I knew that Michael and I worked well together. Since David and I had been discussing adding a lead singer, I brought Michael to a rehearsal to sing a few songs. It was basically to see if we were even interested in adding a singer and, of course, we were a fit for him. David and Michael sat together in one of David’s studio rooms for over an hour while I prepared my kit for rehearsal. I knew when they both walked out of the room smiling that we had a new lead singer.”

“Michael and I spent some time talking together about our approaches to music, where wanted to go with our songwriting and live performances, and our philosophies on life. It became apparent that there would be a strong synergy with this new lineup,” Feinstein added.

“I will be still be contributing to vocals; however, now I can focus totally on playing my guitar – something I love to do… as loudly as I can! I’m excited about this new chapter of The Rods. Carl and I are already writing songs for our new album ‘Shockwave,’ and with the addition of Michael, we can expand our melodies arrangements to fit his amazing range and style!”

The Rods are remaining optimistic through the coronavirus pandemic, booking dates beginning July 3 and planning to announce more “once the world is no longer under siege.”

“It really feels great to be working on a brand new album with the added energy of Michael and Freddy. ‘Shockwave’ is the perfect working title for our new album,” the band continued.

“Nothing happens by accident, and fortune favors the prepared. For my whole career, I have tried to position myself to be ready should I get ‘the call,’ but I never thought I was going to get this call – the call from some of the veterans who helped shaped the genre I love. I am here to answer that call,” San Ciro said, a man also known as Mike Santarsiero in Canedy and Michael Devlin Blare, the vocalist of Scranton-based ’90s hard rock band Totally Lost Cause, originally called TLC.

Villano is also a big fan of The Rods and was eager to join and make the trio a quartet.

“Wow! When something comes full circle, it completes a cycle, returns to its beginnings. I saw The Rods open for Iron Maiden on the Number of the Beast Tour at the North Stage Theater in Glen Cove on Long Island. It was my first concert! I didn’t know who The Rods were before that, but their performance was electrifying,” he recalled.

“The invitation to hold down the bass chair in The Rods is an honor, as I know I’m following in the footsteps of some incredible musicians. I look forward to simultaneously honoring the past and forging the future.”

Formed in Cortland, New York in 1980, The Rods were signed to Arista Records and released classic albums like “The Rods,” “Wild Dogs,” “In the Raw,” and “Let Them Eat Metal” while touring with the likes of Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, and Motorhead. The band parted ways in 1986 and didn’t reunite until 2008.

Feinstein, Bordonaro, and Canedy released their comeback record, “Vengeance,” in 2011, which sounded like they never left, and their latest record, “Brotherhood of Metal,” aimed to do the same with artwork by Belgian artist Eric Philippe that hearkens back to “Wild Dogs” with a fiery metallic update. The 11 songs recorded at Barncastle Studio and the Nire Studio and released through German label SPV/Steamhammer include the 2015 single “Smoke on the Horizon,” which features Veronica Freeman of heavy metal band Benedictum on guest vocals.

Feinstein is the cousin of legendary singer/songwriter Ronnie James Dio and was the guitarist for their band Elf before founding The Rods years later.

While The Rods remained based in upstate New York, Canedy moved to Carbondale and has resided there for many years, working as a real estate agent while his daughter, Erin Canedy, followed in his footsteps as a singer and music teacher. The Rods have only played select shows in recent years, including a 2016 concert at Thirst T’s in Olyphant as part of the Electric City Music Conference, but Canedy is still an active drummer in the area for groups like the Jeffrey James Band, and his solo project headlined the Blues on the Bridge festival in Binghamton, New York last year.

Canedy released his first solo album, “Headbanger,” in 2014 and plans to follow it up with his new band. Recognized as a driving force of The Rods and a producer of classic albums by Anthrax (“Armed and Dangerous” and “Spreading the Disease”), Overkill (“Feel the Fire”), Exciter (“Violence & Force”), and Possessed (“Beyond the Gates”), Canedy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Steamtown Music Awards ceremony at The V-Spot in Scranton.

“Carl’s name has come up every year that we’ve presented the Lifetime Achievement Award, and he’s always been beyond deserving. Not only did The Rods achieve outstanding success in the ’80s – they still have a cult following today,” ECMC co-organizer Joe Caviston said when it was announced.

“Not to mention his producing career. Your favorite metal and thrash bands have undoubtedly been influenced by him, whether you know it or not. I feel like every time I log into Facebook, I see a post about Carl jetting off for Europe to play in front of tens of thousands of people at an open air festival.”

“What can one say about Carl Canedy’s lifetime achievements? Besides being one of the finest drummers in the USA, he had the golden ears that propel our record company Megaforce to the stars with his super talented skills as a record producer,” Megaforce Records owner Jon Zazula (Jonny Z) added.

“I also must mention Carl is a real nice guy.”