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Flying Colors - “Mask Machine” (Second Nature, 2014)

Flying Colors - “Kayla” (Flying Colors, 2012)

"The Storm" performance clip from the upcoming Flying Colors release Live in Europe.

So much talent on one stage…

Flying Colors performs “Infinite Fire” at Alcatraz in Milan, Italy on 9/13/2012

What’s Going On Here Tonight?!

Flying Colors pre-show chat with Noisecreep

Supergroup Flying Colors sat down with AOL’s Noisecreep for an exclusive interview backstage prior to their first ever show together on Tuesday, September 4 at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance, CA. They discussed the setlist, the fans’ reactions to the album, the writing and recording process, and how it compares to their other work. Read Noisecreep’s short concert review after checking out the video.

And if you haven’t picked up the Flying Colors debut yet, what are you waiting for?!

Mikey Likes It

Flying Colors: Inside “Shoulda Coulda Woulda”

Go behind the scenes for the making of “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” with Flying Colors. Watch as Steve Morse presents the main riff to the rest of the band and see how the song develops as they work through the song and as Neal, Casey, and Mike work on vocal harmonies. Other goodies include instructional clips by Steve and Dave, as well as video of the actual take of Mike’s drum solo at the end of the song.


Happy 45th Birthday, Mike Portnoy!
Photo © Joey Pippin

The storm—we will dance as it breaks
The storm gives you more than it takes
And all of our pain is washed away
Stare chaos in the face
We need only to embrace
Don’t cry or be afraid
Some things only can be made
In the storm
Flying Colors - “The Storm” (Flying Colors, 2012)

Call It Miracle Or Fate

Put together an ensemble of virtuoso musicians that possesses a resume as long as your arm—and the pedigrees to support it—and give them the impossible task of writing and recording an album in only 9 days, and you could have a jumbled mess on your hands. Instead, new “supergroup” Flying Colors produced a unique, cohesive musical statement that is poppy, contemporary, and accessible while retaining an undeniably progressive nature that must have been one of the stated goals of the project. That’s all well and good, but the true test for me is always the songs, and there’s plenty here to love. I’m only on my third listen, but already I’m prepared to pronounce this set of 11 genre-defying tracks my favorite album of 2012. From the prog-boogie of album opener “Blue Ocean” to the Beatles-infused ELO-meets-Queen “Love Is What I’m Waiting For” to Dave LaRue’s funky bucket-o-beans bass groove on “Forever In A Daze” to the pure, sweet pop-iness of “The Storm” and “Better Than Walking Away” to epic prog-rock closer “Infinite Fire,” Flying Colors has a little bit of everything anyone could ask for.

As any Clang & Clatter follower well knows, I am already intimately familiar with the work of Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy and their respective bands and side-projects, so it should come as no shock that I would at the very least appreciate their contributions to Flying Colors. And I have at least heard of Dixie Dregs, the jazz-fusion southern rock outfit that features Steve Morse and LaRue (as well drummer Rod Morgenstein whose work in The Jelly Jam I have also written about). So going into this album, singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist and frontman Casey McPherson was the one unknown element for me. Any reservations I may have had were immediately dispelled on my first listen. McPherson’s voice is a great fit for the music with a texture and character that I really like, and he often slips into a falsetto that reminds me quite a bit of a less whiny, more sincere version of Coldplay’s Chris Martin (and if you’re unsure, I think that’s a good thing). Here’s what Steve Morse had to say about his bandmate:

Casey was a glorious find, because he could make anything sound fantastic, and was also multitalented like the others.

As always, Portnoy’s drumming is spectacular—and he turns in a darn good vocal performance on “Fool in My Heart”—and I love just about anything Neal Morse touches. However, the biggest surprise Flying Colors had in store for me was Steve Morse. I was completely unprepared for how much I would love his guitar playing. He was named Guitar Player's Best All Around Guitarist for 5 consecutive years before being removed from eligibility, so you would think that a guitar and music fanatic like me would already be a fan, but for some reason Morse has always been just beyond the scope of my radar. I am barely familiar with is work in the late-80's incarnation of Kansas, and I was aware that he has held down the guitar spot in Deep Purple for nearly two decades (as long or longer than his predecessor Ritchie Blackmore, by the way). Steve Morse's playing on this album is stellar, and he tackles nearly every style imaginable on this one disc. But it's his soaring, expressive soloing that really won me over, reminding me at times of Ty Tabor. That's big praise coming from me. It seems I now have a new musician with a huge back catalog to check out.

As with any supergroup, there is the possibility for things to go awry, but Flying Colors proves the adage “greater than the sum of its parts,” and it is definitely a must-listen for any fan of the members’ other work. The bio on the Flying Colors site has this to say about the band’s supergroup status:

The world didn’t need another supergroup.

Maybe not, but I’m sure glad they decided to put Flying Colors together anyway.

This Was Like A Total Blind Date

Flying Colors electronic press kit video

Here’s a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the Flying Colors project I posted about yesterday. Seeing the the cast of characters involved talking about their experiences has really piqued my interest. The music bed for the video doesn’t hurt either—it reveals just enough to make me want to hear more.


Flying Colors

After months of speculation, tweeting, and hints about a collaboration between former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and prog-rock gun-for-hire guitarist Steve Morse, Portnoy has finally unveiled the details of the project. Named Flying Colors, it will include Portnoy and Morse, along with keyboardist and long-time Portnoy collaborator Neal Morse, bassist Dave LaRue, and vocalist/guitarist Casey McPherson. Said Portnoy of the project:

This album has bits and pieces of what you’d expect from each of us. The sum of all its parts led to brand new, unchartered territory for everyone involved.

The self-titled Flying Colors debut will drop on March 27 on the Music Theories Recordings label.