Exclusive: Stereo Satellite’s Mike Orlando on Life After Adrenaline Mob Crash: I Think Music Saved Me
The new year brings plenty of promise and one of the more promising new bands expected to emerge this year is Stereo Satellite, a group featuring Adrenaline Mob guitarist Mike Orlando and drummer Jordan Cannata, Disturbed's John Moyer on bass and former Rock Star Supernova singer Lukas Rossi on vocals. For Orlando, Stereo Satellite has been a welcome addition to his life after a horrific accident killed bassist David Z. and manager Janet Raines while on tour last year and left the surviving band members with significant injuries. During the course of our interview with Orlando, he spoke about the crash, the status of Adrenaline Mob and how the music of Stereo Satellite lifted him through some of the darkest moments of his life.
As we spoke about the band's upcoming live debut at ShipRocked later this month, the guitarist admitted, "Being back in this after what has happened and what I've been through in Adrenaline Mob, this is all a challenge to me still at this point. I'm trying to get through it and save face. It's tough, it's tough for me. The whole thing is still tough for me, but I'm diving into it because it's what I do. This is my life and my passion and my heart tells me to go, so I'll never stop."
Speaking for the first time about his physical and mental state following last year's crash, Orlando tells us, "I'm still in deep recovery. I have physical therapy all the time, lots of different things. I have a lot of back and neck problems and broken bones that have healed, but there are some things that unfortunately will never heal that I just have to deal with for the rest of my life. And that's physical. The mental aspect of it is just ... I can't even put it in words. It's just a daily battle to keep those demons in my head at bay. Just dealing with everything is tough to put in words, but it's just unfortunately something I'll have to deal with for the rest of my life."
The guitarist says the first few months were tough; he was unable to move much due to a variety of broken bones, neck, back and head injuries. But eventually music helped him turn the corner. Orlando worked on music for what would become Stereo Satellite in recent years and was able to call upon Moyer and Cannata to join him in the project before being turned onto Rossi as a possible singer.
"I couldn't think of music right away. But when you're sitting there for a month and just losing my mind in my house, because I'm a very active person as far as music -- I'm always writing or playing, so I think it saved me," says Orlando. "I've gotta be honest. It saved my mental as well as my physical and made me want to get up and walk to the studio be it down the hall from my bed. That was a challenge at one point. To sit there in the studio and press play and listen to music."
Orlando also credits the addition of Rossi to the lineup, giving a voice to the music he had worked on in recent years. "I've gotta be honest. When Lukas got involved in this, he just saved me in a way," says Orlando. "I just heard that voice and the connection to the music that I've been working on for years and it was like, 'Wow, maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel and this darkest period of my life.' It couldn't get any worse than that. I felt sheer black darkness. So yeah, it really did feel like the songs started to shine again. I get emotional just talking about it right now."
Asked about Adrenaline Mob's current status, the guitarist said, "Right now for me, it's just 1000 percent Stereo Satellite. There's so much pain, just too much. You've gotta remember man, Adrenaline Mob, this wasn't the first incident. We've had so much heartache and pain from the accident on the Avenged Sevenfold tour to AJ Pero passing on the bus, and he was my best friend of 20 years to this. You never thought it could get worse and it did, like 100 times worse. So on this last year of losing Dave and Janet and the whole accident, it's hard for me to even look back. I just can't right now and I don't know if I ever could."
While details for the new Stereo Satellite album are still coming together, Orlando did tell us that he directly addresses last year's crash in a new song. "I have a hard time listening to [it] because I wrote it about the accident. I couldn't write the words so I had to tell Lukas in a series of conversations and he would write down what I would say and he would put it in the song. It's a song called 'Where Do I Begin,' which just sums up ... what do you say? The title tells you what the song is about, and I have a hard time listening to it," says Orlando.
Stay tuned for our full interview with Mike Orlando about Stereo Satellite's upcoming album and ShipRocked appearance coming soon.