Friday, January 06, 2023


Ruby Topaz’ new album takes you into the ‘Rabbit Hole’ of his life

By John Hacker


Ruby Topaz’ new album takes you into the ‘Rabbit Hole’ of his life

By John Hacker

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — If some of the songs on the new album “Rabbit Hole,” by vocalist, guitarist-multi instrumentalist, martial artist and sound engineer Mark Bram, aka Ruby Topaz, sound like classics, it's because they are.

There are some songs that were intended for release by the band Ruby Topaz back in the 1980s, but never saw the light of day.

Bram is the lead singer and lead guitarist (and multi-instrumentalist, in the studio) for the band Ruby Topaz and as such, just like Alice Cooper, people began calling Bram Ruby Topaz.

That was my alter ego, everyone called me Ruby Topaz,” he said. “It was like Alice Cooper, he didn’t call himself that, it was the band, and eventually everyone called him Alice and that became him. That’s exactly what happened with us. People started calling me Ruby. Originally, in Junior High School, the band’s name was ‘Shir’, which was a take off on the Hebrew word for music, shir.

Then, in High School, we wanted to change the name and someone said why don’t you come up with a different name and they said “what’s your birthstone?” I said topaz. They said ‘What’s another birthstone that would go with that?’ then someone said ‘ruby’, Ruby Topaz, I went oooo, like Alice Cooper, Ruby Topaz... A more Glitter / Glam version of Alice Cooper. Now I’m back, Ruby Topaz is back, and I’m going to be releasing a 20th anniversary remaster of the 2002 Mark Bram /Ruby Topaz Again album (which was stating that I was back as Ruby Topaz), I'm working on that now.”

Rabbit Hole” is a 14-track album with a classic rock and roll sound dating to the Beatles, Queen and other classic groups from the birth of rock and roll.

Topaz said the title track, “Rabbit Hole” is a song about the journey he went through when he met his wife and finally married her.

There are current songs and other tracks are songs that were written in the 1970s and1980s for albums that were never released.

“‘Rabbit Hole’ is a journey. It has so many diversions to it,” Bram said. “‘Rabbit Hole’ is like a Beatles album or a Queen album. A Queen album, is hard rock, but they’ll do a kitschy song, they’ll do a song that sounds like it belongs in the 1920s, then they’ll do something operatic. The Beatles did the same thing.”

Bram takes his inspiration from a world of artists he heard when he was younger and some he even worked with in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

Influences run the gamut from “The Beatles,” “The Monkees,” “Hermans Hermits” to “Queen,” “Led Zeppelin,” “The Who,” “Alice Cooper,” “David Bowie,” “Frank Zappa,” “Jeff Beck,” and “The Mahavishnu Orchestra.”

I don’t do cookie cutter. I like diversity and smearing lines between genres. For some reason, I’m known for my guitar playing (and high vocals), which is nice” Bram said. “I want people to know this is a journey, it bring you all different places, there are ballads, there are bluesy, jazzy, 60s pop, 70s pop, all these different elements of everything that came before, but shown in a new light. It’s complex, but it’s accessible, it’s got pop sensibilities, but it also appeals to musicians because the musicianship is there.”

In the 1980s, Bram and Ruby Topaz, garnered critical success in Europe.

The single “Why” and the B-side track “The Sack” was played on the radio and written about in England, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Germany.

They were also written up in the English magazine KERRANG in 1985 in the Singles Reviews,  along side of Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, The Rolling Stone, Roger Dawltrey, and others.

Reviewers wrote "Amazing guitar,” "genuine excitement," and "love to see one of their gigs.” We were played on Alice's Restaurant,  a pirate radio station in England and a major radio station in Lyon, France, among others.

Bram is also something of a gearhead with a studio filled with classic recording equipment and more than 110 guitars he’s purchased over the years.

The equipment helps him create his sound, which is based on the sound of the artists of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

We named the album ‘Rabbit Hole’ because I wouldn’t let go of this stuff,” Bram said. “It was like, no, it’s not right, I've got a new piece of gear, let me remix it. I held on to this stuff, I was stuck down in my studio in this Rabbit Hole and that’s the concept for the cover. Steve D’Andrea, my drummer in Ruby Topaz, who has played drums with me, on and off since Junior High School, and plays drums on Rabbit Hole and Stephen Fassbender, who plays the bass lines that I recorded on the album, in the live Ruby Topaz band, are looking down in the rabbit hole and I’m down in the studio mixing.”

Bram said the remaster of the 2002 Mark Bram /Ruby Topaz Again album, which also includes Steve D’Andrea on drums, is planned for release in early 2023 and has songs from the late 90s and early 2000s, as well as songs from his earlier music career remix and remastered for the 21st century.

You can find more about Bram and his alter ego, Ruby Topaz, his history and the music he’s releasing currently at the following websites and streaming platforms:

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