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Interview:
Detroit's Tiles is more than just a hobby band
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Chris Herin likes to call Tiles "a semi part-time hobby band." But the Detroit progressive rock outfit has, in fact, achieved much more than some of its full-time counterparts.

Since its self-titled debut album came out 20 years ago, the quartet has achieved worldwide notoriety, sold more than 100,000 copies of its five studio albums, toured with Dream Theater and had Rush`s Alex Lifeson guest on 2008's "Fly Paper." All in all, not a bad hobby.

"Yes, I don't want to diminish the fact we've been very fortunate to do this," says guitarist Herin, 52, who like his bandmates has a full-time day job -- in the facilities management and real estate department of the Internal Revenue Service (so, no, he doesn't do audits). "We get to do this not as our careers or our main source of income, but we certainly have achieved a lot. It's been a great experience, so it's not just a group of guys who have worked up a few sets of covers or anything like that."

Tiles is, in fact, continuing to work up new music and is, according to Herin, "probably 70 percent done" with its next album, which the group is recording with regular collaborator and onetime Rush producer Terry Brown and guests Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. And Herin says that even though Tiles has learned to streamline its music over the years, the group still has grand designs when it hits the studio.

"It's a fairly ambitious concept album," Herin notes. "But we don't want it to be overly self-indulgent; it's more of a lyrical concept and a story...in the vein of (Jethro Tull's) 'Thick as a Brick' or (Pink Floyd's) 'The Wall' or (Fates Warning's) 'A Pleasant Shade of Gray.'

"We figure as we've been around 20 years, the clock is ticking, so let's really embrace our interests and our roots and do a full-blown concept album."

Tiles

6 p .m. Friday, June 27

Made In Detroit Stage during the Stars & Stripes Festival at the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway at Schoenherr, Sterling Heights

Admission is free

Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.starsandstripesfest.com

Web Site: www.starsandstripesfestival.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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