Cruel Juno Talks of Playing with Monster Musicians and Realizing the Dream!


Hard rock project CRUEL JUNO is one of those projects that brings together different aspects and elements as well. This project has a handful of single releases thus far, with an EP expected come this next year! One of the members of the project goes into talks about reality, music, and monsters!


1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

When I moved back to my old hometown in Texas a few years ago, I couldn’t find a local band to join. So I thought I’d ask the musicians on some of my favorite albums if they’d be willing to record with me remotely from their home studios. Amazingly, they were interested, and CRUEL JUNO was born. With Italian guitarist Luca Princiotta (DORO, BLAZE) and Sicilian vocalist Gandolfo Ferro (Heimdall) signed on as special guests, I produced the first single, “Swallow My Medicine” - and then went in search of additional artists to work with, such as Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY, ANGRA, VISION DIVINE), Oliver Palotai (KAMELOT, EPICA), Gian-Andrea Costa (DREAMSHADE), and Jasio Kulakowski (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS). And there’s still more people I’d like to work with! I sometimes think of the project as “My Avantasia.”

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

I am a huge fan of Heimdall’s concept album “Aeneid” – which is based on the epic poem by Virgil. (That’s how I discovered Gandolfo Ferro, who lends his amazing voice to most of our songs.) The name CRUEL JUNO is a direct reference to the Aeneid, and is also meant to honor Gandolfo and Luca being from Italy/Sicily.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

We are an international collaboration, but most of the musicians I’ve worked with are from Italy. Although we’re more straight-up hard rock than what’s happening in the Italian metal scene, I think we’d fit in well there. A lot of the bands I listen to are from there – I love the music that’s coming out of Italy right now. Eternal Idol’s first album is absolutely incredible. Fabio Lione and Giorgia Colleluori sang so well together, and Camillo Colleluori’s drumming is just flawless! I also listen to Temperance, Vision Divine, and to hear some incredible playing: the Luca Princiotta Band. 

4. How would you describe your style?

CRUEL JUNO is straight up full-throttle hard rock. Loud at any volume! Drum-wise I don’t get too busy. I want the songs to rock, and I’m not going to step all over them by over-playing. I tend to stick to single bass, giving the songs a bit more old-school hard rock sound – think ‘80's JUDAS PRIEST, with modern production.

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

We have 3 singles out, the 4th is ready to go, and our EP, “Playing With Monsters” will be released on Jan 10, which will have all 4 of those songs, plus a bonus track. When I started out, I wanted to tie all of our songs together, not as a concept album, but using a general theme. With the first song being “Swallow My Medicine,” which had an overall Jeckyll/Hyde feel, I decided that each song would represent a classic monster: Jeckyll/Hyde, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy. The monster theme also provided a great way to have quality music videos. I’d edit old monster movies and set them to our music. They’re fun to watch, and it’s really the only affordable option with musicians are spread all over the world. – Although for the new mummy single, “Wound Too Tight,” there was really not enough footage of mummies in any old mummy movie, so I had to shoot my own video. I bought a spandex bodysuit mummy costume and filmed myself in front of a tomb backdrop. It was all going OK until the zipper broke midway through the take. Ever worn a spandex bodysuit? Let me tell you a secret: They’re just like Cinderella. You have until the twelfth stroke of the clock to get home before you’re naked, because those suits will literally just peel off your body once the zipper fails. The suit was ruined, so I had to reuse the first half of the take I’d filmed, making the mummy video I filmed genuine B-Movie material. Rock and Roll! lol

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

Yes. I am collaborating with Jasio Kulakowski (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS) on a new song as we speak. Drums are finished, and he and I will decide whether we need to bring in more musicians to finish it.  I need to record drums for another song that Luca wrote, and there are several others in the works. We already have enough material for another EP. I guess we could have waited and put it all together as a full album, but it’s taken a year to get these 4 songs done, and I thought it best to go ahead and release them as an EP.

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

It would be extremely difficult to play shows with the musicians I record with. Not only are we in different countries and continents, we are all involved in separate projects. That doesn’t diminish the interest, though. I’ve encouraged Gandolfo to perform the songs with his band in Sicily. I’d love to watch that via live feed!

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

There are more songs to record, and more great musicians to work with. It can be a bit daunting. I started this project with a mindset that people would probably only do one song. “Ok, I’ll do it. Just this once – as a favor because I’m a nice guy.” That sort of thing. I’m always surprised when they really like my song and ask how soon I’m going to send them the next one. It’s a good feeling, but a bit scary too. Suddenly I’m thinking, “Can I write another song good enough that they’ll like it?” I’m starting to run out of monsters, too!

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Our music is available online pretty much everywhere – Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Apple, etc. Videos are on Facebook and YouTube. And I’m currently pressing a VERY limited number of CDs – only 50. I’ll likely put the CDs on Reverb.com, but people can email me at crueljunoband@gmail.com to get one, too. I’ve got handwritten lyrics and the drumsticks used on each song for anyone who likes that sort of thing.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

This isn’t just an album – I’m realizing my dream. Ever wanted to walk up to your favorite musicians and ask, “Hey, will you jam with me?” And they respond, “Yeah!” That’s what I’m doing - I’m playing with monsters!

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