THE DUKE - Stuck No More
by Martin Popoff

Rich Ward has been many things in life... guitarist and main writer for Stuck Mojo, Fozzy, confirmed libertarian, non-drinker, non-drugger... married. He's still most of these, and now, adding to his repertoire, he's a crafter of smooth pop metal magic. I'll get a lot of abuse for that characterization, as we all know Ward is going to get crucified for My Kung Fu Is Good, his first record as The Duke. But listen closely... this record is assembled with honesty, meticulous detail and overflowing oil barrels slopped black and slick with talent.

Lest you think this is anything like the Geoff Tate situation, be assured that Ward is grounded. I mean, take that album title.

"Well, ironically, because the subject matter of the album is so serious, and so kind of deep and personal, I didn't want to come across as this self-important singer/songwriter," says Ward about the name. "I was really afraid and very mindful of not wanting to come off as Eddie Vedder, or one of these guys who fancies himself as some kind of intellectual. I don't want to have people think that, 'Oh, Rich thinks that... look at this record; it's filled full of this self-important stuff; the guy thinks he knows everything.' My personality traits have always been just really friendly and outgoing, and I wanted to continue to be that guy onstage. I wanted to continue to be, you know, open, and like I said, not perceived as, 'Oh God, look at this; not only is he writing really mellow music, but he's all of a sudden become this self-important intellectual - good grief.' So I thought doing an album title that had a little bit of humour, and had a tongue-in-cheek vibe to it, kind of allowed me the opportunity to still maintain who I am."

THE DUKE - Stuck No More Page 2