Rodney Holder of Australia's Music Business Facts recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the importance of having the business side in order when running a band like OPETH:
Mikael: "Yeah. I mean, obviously, music comes first, and I've never been too interested in the business side of things. I don't want it to have the upper hand on me, because I feel like friends of mine who got too much into the business side of things, they seem to lose a little bit of creativity, which I'm afraid of that happening to me. But it does… I mean, especially nowadays, it's a completely different scene from what it was just ten or fifteen years ago. I mean, when we started out, there were people still selling records, there was more streams of income… there were more set streams — like, secure streams — of income then, even if we didn't really make much the first ten… we didn't make a living the first ten years or so. But definitely now, I think you have to be on top of things. We are in this position where we can employ people, so we have a management, we have an agency, etc., so we don't really have to take care of a lot of the business side ourselves — luckily. Because if we would have, we would have been fucked, basically."
On whether OPETH could achieve the same success if the band was just starting out under the current market conditions:
Mikael: "I don't think so. I'm not business minded, really. Like, for me, these days, I don't know how you promote bands these days. I mean, you have things like pledge [campaigns] happening, where you kind of involve the fans and those kinds of things, but I'm old school — I like the idea of signing to a record label and doing it the old-fashioned way: selling records and touring. That's the bread and butter for us."
On whether OPETH still sells physical product:
Mikael: "Yeah, we still sell physical CDs, and we also… we've always done vinyl copies, and that's escalated with a few hundred percent the last couple of years, but it's nowhere near like it was the '70s and '80s, and, to a certain extent, '90s. But we still sell CDs. We also sell… You know, now you generate some income from services like Spotify and, obviously, iTunes and that kind of stuff. I mean, we don't sell a lot of CDs, but enough to end up in the charts, because nobody really sells lots of CDs, so in the perspective of things, we do still do quite well. I mean, we end up in the Billboard charts, we get a good position there, but when you see it, like, okay, you ended up at [position] 19 on the Billboard chart, [you think], 'Oh, that must be, like, a hundred thousand, a million copies,' but no — it's fifteen thousand, or something like that."
On whether music downloads are a good source of income for OPETH:
Mikael: "Well, for many years, I don't think it was an income stream at all, really. It kind of took off with streaming services, I think. Like, before, it was kind of unregulated — we didn't get anything from the likes of Spotify. But now, when I get a rundown of income streams for publishing royalties and stuff like that, there's a little not that says 'Spotify paid out this and that amount to you.' So it's a little bit — not a lot. I mean, you couldn't make a living from streaming or downloads. I mean, downloading… Buying a record on iTunes is a similar price to buying a physical CD, at least for us in Sweden. But I don't really know. I still want it to go back to what it was before, because that's who I am — I like the physical product."
On not having to work a day job while continuing to keep OPETH alive:
Mikael: "It's so hard being an artist and a creative person. You put out a product and people easily throw the whole 'sellout' thing at you, because you depend on some type of income for doing this. It's, like, 'Oh, you're lucky to be in this position. You shouldn't complain. Get a proper job, just like the rest of us.' Which, I guess, is fair enough, but I think people underestimate how much they need music, and once it's gone… I mean, it's really difficult for new bands starting out today to get their names out there. I think the filter that was provided by a record label back in the day was ultimately good… I mean, it sounds crass, but I think, to a certain extent, somebody had the good taste of signing LED ZEPPELIN and DEEP PURPLE and KISS, and whatever have you. So I think it was, like I said, a good filter. And today, you don't really… Bands today, they put something out… They start their own YouTube channel and put out their record on YouTube, but they're fighting, they're rubbing elbows with millions of bands, and, quite frankly, many of them [are] shit. Not everybody is cut out to write great music. I'm not saying I'm the greatest at all, but, I mean, we have something, obviously, that people like. And for a starting band who also have something, starting out today, it would be very difficult to make themselves heard, because they would be caught in that stream of just shitloads of bands."
On whether he ever thinks about the possibility of OPETH one day not being able to make a living from recording and touring anymore:
Mikael: "Yeah, that's a very valid question, because I'm not yet in that position. I can say, like, we do whatever we want and fuck you — we put out the records that we wanna hear — but if the sales would go down completely and if we wouldn't have an income, maybe I would actually sell out — who knows?! But I'm hoping that's never gonna happen. I think that people will see right through me anyway, if I try to cater to the needs and the wishes of the fans, which we don't really do now — we just do music that we wanna hear, and we're fortunate enough to have people around who are also interested in our music. But if we would end up in that position, I think I would have to reconsider my life and maybe change it around completely. I would not want something that I love so much, as I love music, I wouldn't want that to become a way for me to put food on the table without having the passion and love in the music that I put out. That would be disastrous for me. So I would probably move away from music if that happened. I'd still write music, of course, but I wouldn't want OPETH to end up in that position where we just put out music to pay the bills."
On how the members of OPETH share music publishing royalties:
Mikael: "Publishing, I take the publishing, because I write the songs. But there's a dripdown from the publishing money, so [the other members of OPETH] get a certain percentage for being in the band, you know. So even if I take the publishing, they do get a certain percentage from that. And the rest, all of other income, we share."
On whether OPETH is a partnership or a corporation, and whether they are governed under Swedish law:
Mikael: "Yes, we have a limited company in England, we have a partnership in England, and we also have a merchandise company in England. We have an Inc. in the U.S., but that's purely for tax reasons there on tour, and then we have our own companies in Sweden, which we take out a wage from the partnership, basically — a monthly wage. But that's not really… I had to change, because I got a massive tax bill, so I had to change, and I'm starting the equivalent of a limited company in Sweden now as well. We call it 'AB,' so I'm just in the process of starting that now. And I'm hoping it's gonna be better for me, purely on a tax level."
On handling money withing the band:
Mikael: "When money comes in, that's when problems comes in, really. So I think it's better to keep it… for us, at least, to keep it… like, have an outside person take care of the business side of things. We never had money fights in this band. We had only had money fights whenever someone has been kicked out of the band, or left the band, and they want to get the money, if you know what I mean, that they feel that they have earned. But as it is now, we never, or rarely, have money fights."
On whether the members of OPETH have a partnership agreement or if it's all verbal:
Mikael: "We own different shares in the partnership, and that's based on how long you've been in the band, basically. So I have the biggest cut in that. So I have more credit in the partnership than the other guys. But I think that's fair enough. We've done more work; we worked for longer. So when we go out playing… Like tonight, for instance, we're playing songs from ten records, and I've been on all of them, but there's some guys in the band that have only been on, say, two records, or three records, or something like that. So I think that's fair enough. You have to work your way up, basically. People might [say] that's greed, but I don't think it's got anything to do with that. You have to work your way up. In this band, once you join, you can't expect to have, like, 'Okay, I'm gonna buy myself a penthouse suite and an Aston Martin [car].' You have to work."
On whether record labels still have a role in 2015:
Mikael: "Well, I think so. But that's going downhill too. I mean, we're signed to Roadrunner Records, which now is not really Roadrunner Records anymore; it's Warner Brothers. Roadrunner was an independent label who were run by Warner back in the day, but then the owner sold his shares, so it became Warner Brothers. And when that happened, a lot of people got fired and laid off work. They used to be a Roadrunner office in every country, Australia included, and that's all gone now. So there is no main office, really… There's no main office. I mean, there's usually one guy taking care of the Roadrunner releases; it's still an imprint, you know. But, generally, it's a major label now. I mean, record labels are suffering. The idea of a fat guy in a pinstriped suit and a cigar just swimming in cash, that's gone. That's gone. And I always thought that people who are not in the music business, it's always been unfair, because a record label is similar to evil to a lot of music consumers. But that's not the case; it's just regular people working there — regular people with a monthly wage. And maybe they're working with something that they love, which is almost seen as an ugly thing; you're supposed to suffer at work. But those people are, like I said, just normal people. But I don't know… We signed for… The contract remains the same… We signed to Roadrunner in 2003, or 2004, whatever it was, it's still the same contract. So we signed for one record, and then the record label has options to release another five, or whatever it might be. So once you put out a record… In our case, we put out a record, and then we wait for them to pick up the option. It's not our choice — it's the record label's choice whether they wanna release a new record. So if you're successful, they're likely to pick up the option. If you're not selling records, they're likely to throw you to the sharks. But in these days… I'm not sure. I mean, you can do it yourself, I think. You can put your own record out these days, have your own record label, which, again, probably generates more income, but also generates a lot more work, to get the distributions and everything out there. I don't really know how it would work for OPETH. We're an established band now. We have one more record with Roadrunner. I'm sure that there's gonna be offers coming in from other record labels, so maybe they'll wanna renew the contract or something like that; I don't know. They had a chance to drop us several times, but, for some reason, they have always picked up the option. So I think we might even live through the whole contract with them. And after that, we'll see what happens. Maybe we'll start our own label, or maybe we'll sign to a different label."
CANNIBAL CORPSE's George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher has laid down guest vocals on the song "Evil By Nature" from Hungarian extreme metallers EKTOMORF, to be included on the latter band's forthcoming album, due later in the year via AFM Records. The CD was once again produced by Tue Madsen at Denmark's Antfarm Studio (DARK TRANQUILLITY, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, SICK OF IT ALL).
Commented EKTOMORF guitarist/vocalist Zoltán Farkas: "We are friends with the CANNIBAL CORPSE guys since a long time. Last year in November, I spoke to George about doing a song together. The recent Budapest show of CANNIBAL CORPSE then was the perfect opportunity to meet and record his parts. So I took small home recording studio gear with me and recorded vocals with George in the dressing room before their show. It was fun and turned out killer! Be sure, it will smash your face 100%! Prepare!"
In an interview with Metalholic.com, EKTOMORF guitarist/vocalist Zoltán Farkas stated about the band's constant comparisons to SOULFLY: "Everybody has their own influence. SOULFLY had their own influence, METALLICA has their own influence, SLAYER has their own influence. Every band has some influence and mine was SOULFLY [and] METALLICA, but then, of course, we got our own taste and that's the true form, and we have really good fans all over the world, and because if we were just a simple copy, all this would never happen. If were a cover band, like some say, it would never happen. It's easy to say that, it's so easy to say words and thoughts. I just call it ignorance and envy, but I learnt to handle it through the years, and for me, the most important is those people who love my music, who appreciate my music, because they are the most important, and for those who don't, it's not important, because anyway, they don't appreciate the music, so they don't count in my life, not even one minute. So, you know, we have our own faith and if someone says we sound like SOULFLY, then check out the latest stuff from SOULFLY and then check out 'Retribution', and if someone says it sounds the same, then they have some problem with their ears."
He continued: "For me, [SOULFLY mainman and ex-SEPULTURA frontman] Max [Cavalera] is a respectable legend, but for very long time I didn't listen to SOULFLY, for a really, really long time, because, to me, what it does now is something which I don't like; I don't like it, man. It's more like death metal, and I like some death metal, but the SOULFLY I used to like does not exist anymore, neither SEPULTURA. [SEPULTURA] were something which I fell in love with and the anger, but for what they do now, I still have my respect for the band and for the legend and the name, but I gotta say that is nothing to compare with what they were."
EKTOMORF's latest album, "Retribution", was released in January 2014 via AFM Records.
GREAT WHITE drummer Audie Desbrow will marry Dr. Darlene Conforti in a private ceremony on Tuesday, July 28. The longtime couple will continue to call Los Angeles home.
"We wanted to share our wonderful news with the fans," Desbrow said. "It's been an amazing summer touring and this is just the pinnacle. The fans have already embraced Darlene and it will be amazing to have her at shows officially as my wife. I couldn't dream of a better life right now."
GREAT WHITE is founder and lead guitarist Mark Kendall, Michael Lardie (keyboards, guitar), Audie Desbrow (drums), Scott Snyder (bass) and lead singer Terry Ilous.
GREAT WHITE 's latest album, "Elation", sold around 1,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release. Issued on May 22, 2012 via Frontiers Records, the 12-song CD marked GREAT WHITE's first effort with Ilous following the band's split with founding singer Jack Russell.
This version of GREAT WHITE is not to be confused with GREAT WHITE FEATURING JACK RUSSELL (formerly JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE), which features Russell alongside Robby Lochner (FIGHT) on guitar, Chris Tristram on bass, Tony Montana on guitar and Dicki Fliszar on drums.
GREAT WHITE released a live album, "30 Years - Live From The Sunset Strip", on February 22, 2013 in Europe and February 26, 2013 in North America via Frontiers Records.
Everett "Vic" Firth, founder of leading drumstick manufacturing company Vic Firth Company, has died. He was 85.
A statement on the Vic Firth Facebook page reads: "To our dear friends around the world: We are heartbroken to share the news with you that Vic has passed away.
"Vic was an inspiration to all of us. He was a visionary, a mentor, a leader and a friend. He always said he surrounded himself with the best people, but the truth is he brought out the best in all of us. His boundless passion for music and musicians drove every decision he made.
"Vic's spirit and legacy will continue to live at the core of the Vic Firth Company. He will be missed beyond words."
Firth founded his company in 1963 after performing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and deciding that sticks were being overlooked.
"It was not only the quality of drumsticks, it was the lack of variety of drumsticks that were being offered," he said in an interview.
"A drumstick has a configuration that gives it a response on the cymbals and on the drums.
"Its shape has an effect on the quality of the sound and even slight variations in the manufacturing process can greatly influence the result."
Among those who have endorsed Firth's products over the years are HELLYEAH's Vinnie Paul Abbott, RAMMSTEIN's Christoph Schneider, ANIMALS AS LEADERS' Matt Garstka, QUEEN's Roger Taylor and VANILLA FUDGE's Carmine Appice.
LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe has slammed Kevin Lyman over comments the co-founder of the annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival made regarding the state of the heavy metal scene and the future of the traveling event.
In an article published on July 8 by Detroit Free Press, Lyman was quoted a saying about the difficulties of booking headline-worthy acts for the festival: "The bands at the top all demand a certain level of fee to be on tour. Unlike punk rock, metal never knows how to take a step back to move the whole scene forward. That's how punk rock was. That's how we nurtured punk rock. BAD RELIGION would take a little less than they could on their own to bring the whole scene forward, so we could make sure we had a good [touring] package around them. Metal doesn't seem to have that concern, never has, never has since I was working in the clubs in the '80s. It's always about a 'me, me, me' thing."
Lyman added that part of the problem is the fact that metal's audiences have dwindled as the established headlining acts got older. "What happened was metal chased girls away because what happened was metal aged," he said. "Metal got gray, bald and fat. And metal was about danger. When you went to a metal show, it was dudes onstage; there was some danger in it."
In a posting on his Instagram account, Blythe addressed Lyman's comments, writing: "Y'all know I don't talk about my band much here — it's not my thing. This account is for my photography and other creative endeavors — but I must take a moment to speak about something that irked me recently, as I felt it was a bit insulting to our fans and the metal scene that supports my band (especially the females).
"'What happened was metal chased girls away because what happened was metal aged. Metal got gray, bald and fat.' "This generalization was recently made by Mayhem Fest co-founder Kevin Lyman about our metal scene. I call bullshit.
"I wanted to wait until we were on tour to address this, soooooooo.... looking at the huge crowds we have played to on this four-band bill [also featuring SLIPKNOT, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE] so far (all singing along to our metal songs and with plenty of girls in attendance), I gotta laugh. I ain't the youngest dude in the world, but from my vantage point, the metal scene appears to be doing just fine."
He continued: "I, a dude from the punk scene of the '80s (ahem... punk rock existed long before Warped tour, [by the way]. I know, because I was there) who somehow became the singer of a metal band, just became a nationally best-selling author, I've met plenty of younger fans who have bought my book, and many were female. LAMB OF GOD, a metal band, has a new album out — at this very second, we are in a very tight race with Jill Scott (an awesome R&B singer I am a fan of who has a huge audience) for the very top slot of the Billboard charts, and if enough folks buy the album before Thursday, we will have our first #1 record. Jill Scott has a much larger fan base than us, but metal fans actually buy records. Even if we get a #2 or #3 (again, by the way — not our first Top 10 debut), it will still be huge. There's tons of younger metal bands too. The metal scene is alive and healthy, and it will continue to grow and the younger bands will become headliners, if the fans support it. So far, that doesn't seem to be a problem."
Blythe added: "So, sorry, metal isn't watered-down pop bullshit for the teenybopper masses, but it is healthy. So thanks for coming out, buying our records, and singing along, y'all! Thanks for forming new bands and keeping it alive! We appreciate and love you! We ain't pretty, but we are definitely here, and I'm not bald or fat."
LAMB OF GOD's new album, "VII: Sturm Und Drang", was released on July 24 via Epic in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Entertainment in all territories outside of North America. The CD was once again produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur with engineering by Wilbur, Nick Rowe and Kyle McAulay, and was recorded at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, California and Suburban Soul Studios in Torrance, California.
Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing was interviewed on a recent edition of the "Rockin' Metal Revival" Internet radio show. You can now listen to the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his decision to leave JUDAS PRIEST in 2011:
"I thought I couldn't remember the last time I saw the seasons change in England… you know, spring, summer, autumn and winter. [That was] one thing. But when I actually added everyting up, there was so many reasons, really, why I decided to not continue. Another reason is time does get shorter as you get older. I feel a lot of the listeners out there won't be the age that I am, but I can promise you when you get to a certain age, you start to think that things are zipping by, so it's time to take a bit of a step back and think about spending a little bit of time with the family and stuff like that. Not exactly living a normal life, but just getting in tune with reality again. Because, as I say, it's almost like an amazing fantasy world to live in the world that I had been living in. But it was time not to continue to be selfish and just put a bit of time into other people that have supported you over the years."
On whether he is still in contact with any of his former bandmates in JUDAS PRIEST:
"There is some contact, which, mainly, obviously, [is] e-mail these days. Obviously, the guys have been extremely busy since my departure, doing a lot of things. I think they've done two world tours and a very lengthy album , and I know how much time that takes. So it's all good, it's all good. So the PRIEST is still alive and still rocking."
On whether he thinks JUDAS PRIEST will ever get inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:
"Well, I certainly hope so. But everything comes to us in the end, I guess and hope. As hard workers and as prolific a band as we've been, producing material and tours for so long, it was… not as though we really, really care about winning Grammys, but lots of other bands do. We're thinking, 'Why do we get pushed to the back of the queue?' So I guess the Hall Of Fame, there's still a lot of fantastic bands that have still not been let into the Hall Of Fame, but I guess that everyone's turn will come."
On how he looks back on the Tim "Ripper" Owens era of JUDAS PRIEST:
"It was a fantastic period. We loved it. It was challenge, you know. And I would definitely say, 'Jugulator', in particular, I know, it's one of those things… That album gets cited by so many of the young musicians as being the album that actually got them… I mean, the young lads from [the U.K. metal band] HOSTILE, for example, that was the first time they ever saw PRIEST, and they're just crazy about that album. I think it's the bible of riffs. But, yeah, it was a lot of fun. There's a lot of stuff on there that is tongue in cheek. I've played it recently, along with other PRIEST albums, and I think that… It's the one thing that PRIEST had that other bands didn't have was that we were never afraid to introduce versatility with our metal, whether it was 'Nostradamus', 'Point Of Entry', whether it was 'Turbo', whether it was 'Jugulator'… whatever it was. We always said that we were proud to be able, and wanted to be able, to push the boundaries of rock and metal as far and wide as possible to gain a bigger acceptance from listeners, to get on board and to see what our genere of music had to offer. It's not as though that's the main reason we were so versatile, I think, in our recordings, but it was just for ourselves as well, I think — just out of curiosity, to see exactly what we could bring to the table. Unlike a lot of bands that very much stick in the groove that they feel their comfort zone is, PRIEST, we changed guitar sounds, we changed a lot of things in the way that we presented out material. And proudly, for better or for worse. You have to take the rough with the smooth, with some critique along the way. But when I look back on our career, I'm quite proud of the fact that [there is] a wide variety of what we actually introduced everyone to."
On what message he has for the JUDAS PRIEST fans out there:
"My life on the road has been my life, and I still consider it to be my life, with all the miles I've traveled and all the gigs I've done and all the people I've met. To all the fans out there, a big thank you for getting on board. But because I'm not there, it's not the end of the world. As I said before, I couldn't envisage a world without the PRIEST, and PRIEST is still out there putting on great performances. So, by all means, get a chance to see them if you can. And without disclosing all of the reasons for my departure, it is what it is. I kind of miss the early days when it was fun, exciting and every band was considered to be virtual gods, and every band was good in those days. But things have moved on, times have moved on, and for myself, [it was time to] consider other priorities that I felt I'd neglected for so long. And it's one of those things — I guess, you get to a certain age and maturity kicks in, and reality, and responsibilities. And I think that that's it. But certainly my life and career with PRIEST, I always thought that, irrespective of what anybody thinks about 'Nostradamus', if people don't get it, they don't get it, but I love it, and I think it's a great work of JUDAS PRIEST, and I think time will tell and see that piece of work have its day, again. I think that, for me, I wanted… I didn't think that PRIEST, you know, for me… I think that that would have been the right way to end our recording career, for me, and I think that live gigs from there on would have probably been my chosen route, whether it was a world tour that never ended… a farewell tour, I mean, that probably never ended. And I think that that was it. Because, as you get older, time becomes relevant, and to shut myself away in a recording studio for three years, I didn't think it was right for me, and so, that was my decision, really. And that's pretty much the crux of it."
Downing, who is a founding member of the British heavy metal legends and was part of the group since 1969, announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011.
K.K. in 2011 shot down as "inaccurate" reports that he left JUDAS PRIEST because he chose to concentrate on running the 18- and nine-hole golf courses on his property.
Tera Wray Static, the widow of STATIC-X frontman and founder Wayne Static, has paid tribute to her late husband with a sleeve tattoo that was apparently done at Strata Tattoo Lab in Yucca Valley, California. A couple of photos can be seen below.
Wayne Static died after mixing Xanax and other powerful prescription drugs with alcohol, according to the coroner's report. The 48-year-old Static, whose real name was Wayne Richard Wells, was found dead in his Landers, California home on November 1, 2014.
The report, which was released in March, stated, "[Static's] wife stated that just prior to going to bed, he crushed one-half of a 30 mg oxycodone pill and consumed it. The oxycodone had been prescribed to his wife. He also drank an unknown amount of alcohol. His wife awoke at around 1530 hours. She found the decedent dead in the bed and called 911 at 1547 hours. Paramedics arrived and confirmed death at 1600 hours, noting rigor mortis and lividity."
The report added that Tera Wray told them that Static "took oxycodone, Xanax (alprazolam) and alcohol to relieve panic attacks."
She claimed that he took Xanax on a daily basis at the prescribed dosage, according to the report, and would "occasionally have his own prescription for oxycodone, but he would usually take hers."
Wray also told the coroner that she and Static "had a history of cocaine and ecstasy abuse, but they stopped using illicit drugs in 2009."
Static's mother also told the coroner that her son was a "self-admitted alcoholic" for whom drinking had been a problem for two years. Both his mother and Wray said that Static was "not suicidal."
Statements from both Wray and a publicist back in November dismissed rumors that his passing was the result of a drug overdose.
Static founded STATIC-X in 1994 and achieved commercial success with the band's 1999 debut, "Wisconsin Death Trip", which included the rock radio hit "Push It".
The group issued five more studio albums before disbanding permanently in June 2013. Static has been pursuing a solo career at the time of his death.
Check out Tera ' s Wayne tattoo. All of this was done on 1 sitting. Done by Jay 'e JonesPosted by Wayne Static on Monday, July 27, 2015
Check out Tera ' s Wayne tattoo. All of this was done on 1 sitting. Done by Jay 'e Jones
Reactivated California thrash metal pioneers DARK ANGEL are continuing to write material for their long-awaited comeback album. The band's first CD since 1991's "Time Does Not Heal" will feature the lineup that has performed sporadic live shows since reuniting in 2013: Gene Hoglan (drums), Eric Meyer (guitar), Jim Durkin (guitar), Ron Rinehart (vocals) and Michael Gonzalez (bass).
In a brand new interview with Metal Wani, Hoglan stated about the progress of the songwriting sessions for DARK ANGEL's new album: "My main thing, I guess, is trying to free up the time to get the writing done. Jim and myself were the primary writers back in the day. Eric would throw in some ideas when he had 'em, and I'm sure he's got ideas now. We aren't quite to that level to where we're, like, 'Hey, everybody, toss us your ideas.' 'Cause Jim and I are still working on stuff. And one thing I do realize about DARK ANGEL and the writing process of DARK ANGEL is, even though we now have all this modern technology of, you know, you can Skype with somebody, and play guitar over Skype with somebody, and send files of, 'Hey, I've got a demo. I've got some drum tracks on the demo and some guitar tracks. Learn this,' even though all that technology exists, at least myself, and the way I feel with Jim, I think we still work best when we are both sitting in the same room together and just firing out ideas at each other, and that's where it's been a challenge over the last seven or eight months, 'cause I've spent most of these seven or eight months on the road. I just right now got off four months straight with DEATH and TESTAMENT, so now that we've got a little bit of time home… We got back this week, earlier this week, and I got sick immediately, so now I'm just getting over it. So I would imagine in this coming time period that we have off, Jim and I are gonna be getting together and firing some ideas off each other, and it's on again, so that's pretty cool."
Regarding the musical direction of DARK ANGEL's new material, Hoglan said: "I guess the thing that I, personally, myself, am trying to do is not necessarily recreate any of DARK ANGEL's previous sounds, but try to recreate the feelings that we had, the energy that we had. Like the energy that we had when we were writing 'Darkness Descends', try to capture that energy, just that feeling, rather than, like, 'Oh, let's just write another song that sounds like 'The Burning Of Sodom', or, 'another song that sounds like 'Black Prophecies' or something like that.' Let's not worry about repeating ourselves, but it's okay if we recapture the enthusiasm and the energy that we had when we were really young. There were no rules, there wasn't anybody looking over our shoulders, [saying], 'Hey, you'd better write songs like this.' That's the way we feel now: nobody is looking over our shoulders. We do have people saying, 'Hey, can we get the process moving?' And, yes, we're trying that, but nobody is telling us, 'You have to write like this,' or, 'You have to write like that.' All I wanna do is write like DARK ANGEL. And I'm sure DARK ANGEL 2015 might have some different elements that DARK ANGEL 1986 had, but the aggression is still gonna be there. And I personally wanna write the most ball-crushing record we can. I've been talking about that in the press, and people come up [and ask me], 'Well, what does ball-crushing mean?' [I wanna make] an album that, if you've waited for… What's it been? It'll be 25 years since the last DARK ANGEL record, essentially. If you've been waiting that long, you will be absolutely pleased with the wait; you won't be disappointed. This is not some limp return record — I won't let it be. My quality control, Jim'a quality control, Eric, Ron, Gonz' [Mike Gonzalez]… all of our quality control is we just want it to be the coolest record we can do. I'm obviously an old vet at this, and I know what's cool, so if I think it's cool, I have a feeling other people are gonna think it's cool too."
Asked if DARK ANGEL has particular release date in mind for the next album or if there is a target date for the band to enter the studio, Hoglan said: "[There are] no plans whatsoever. We are just still writing. [Jim is] just writing; that's what Jim is doing. He's, like, 'I'm writing everything right now.' And, I've gotta admit, a lot of it is super, like, 'God, this is what I'm talking about, Jim.' And other stuff is, like… He'll preface the e-mail with the attachment, saying, 'I know this isn't quite what we're probably looking for, but, hey, here's something I just wrote anyway.' And it's always cool — Jim writes great riffs — and so much of it is directly what DARK ANGEL is. Jim Durkin created DARK ANGEL, and I've always said that, hey, he was the guiding force. Even after Jim left, he was the guiding force through me, because I'm not gonna let DARK ANGEL slack in anything, just because we don't have the founding member, the creative member of the team. So now that Jim and I are back, it's awesome. We have a great relationship, a great writing relationship, so I'm really stoked. And all I wanna do is write an album that just buries fucking everybody."
DARK ANGEL released two albums with Don Doty on vocals — 1984's "We Have Arrived" and 1986's "Darkness Descends" — before he exited the group and was replaced by Ron Rinehart (after a brief stint with Jim Drabos in 1987). The band issued two more studio LPs — 1989's "Leave Scars" and 1991's "Time Does Not Heal" — before calling it quits in 1992. Rinehart, Hoglan and Meyer reassembled DARK ANGEL more than a decade ago but were forced to abandon their reunion plans after health issues reportedly put Rinehart's singing career on hold.
DARK ANGEL performance footage:
In the fourth episode of Metal XS's interview series of Jimmy Page, the LED ZEPPELIN guitar legend talks about ZEPPELIN drummer John Bonham's passing and legacy.
Said Page: "[John] and I were really good pals. We were really, really close in our musical collaboration, if you want… the camaraderie. And just the sheer fact that, you know… 'Bonzo's Montreux' [the drum solo by John Bonham, which is the seventh track on the band's final studio album, 'Coda'] says it all, really. It was just the two of us working on it over there in the studio."
He continued: "The passing of John Bonham… Let's just put it… Before we say, 'the passing of John Bonham,' the introduction of John Bonham on the first album and 'Good Times Bad Times', it changes drumming overnight. So that's in 1968. And we're talking about 1980. It's twelve years of John Bonham's musical input being appreciated by the whole world of music in every way — the fact that it changes drumming, the fact that it changes people's appreciation of drums and music.
"[John's passing] was a massive loss to everybody. Everybody had been touched by John Bonham's music."
Page also spoke about where he thinks LED ZEPPELIN's music would have gone had if the band hadn't broken up following Bonham's death. He said: "John and I had discussed what the next album was going to be after 'In Through The Out Door', and… If I say to you, if you listen to what the sort of drumming he liked to play was, where he could really get into. And, you know, 'Bonzo's Montreux', the attitude of drumming on that. And he loved the riffs, he loved the riffs that I'd come up along with the way, he loved playing them, and he loved the whole, sort of, groove and swing to it, and he was keen to have a return to there on the next album, and so was I. I mean, that's a good illustration of when he was given a chance to make a drum orchestra, you can hear the attitude of it. But it would have had everybody's personality combined in it."
In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Page was asked why the band didn't take time to heal and rebuild itself following Bonham's passing in 1980.
"LED ZEPPELIN wasn't a corporate entity," he replied. "LED ZEPPELIN was an affair of the heart. Each of the members was important to the sum total of what we were. I like to think that if it had been me that wasn't there, the others would have made the same decision. And what were we going to do? Create a role for somebody, say, 'You have to do this, this way?' That wouldn't be honest."
He continued: "There were attempts [at reunion] that didn't work — trying to push it together in a hurry. That's why the  show had to be done with such intent — rehearsing as much as we could so Jason [Bonham's son] felt he was part of the band as opposed to a novelty. He was filling big shoes, and we needed all of that."
Jason Bonham revealed in a 2012 inerview that singer Robert Plant's emotional difficulties continuing the band without Jason's dad ultimately ended any hoped-for reunion of the group's surviving members.
"It wasn't just [Robert] going, 'I don't want to do it,' there were other things going on," Jason explained. "He told me, 'It doesn't matter how great you are on the drums, Jason. I love you to bits, and you play absolutely amazing. But John was the drummer in LED ZEPPELIN, and John was part of me and Jimmy and John Paul. We shared something very, very special. I struggle sometimes just thinking about trying to create some magic again when he's not there. He was a very, very dear friend of mine, that I miss every day.'"
John Bonham died on September 25, 1980 of pulmonary edema which is fluid accumulation in the lungs. He was 32 years old.
SLIPKNOT continues its scorched-earth campaign across North America, announcing details of a fall headline tour, which will see the Grammy Award-winning group joined by hardcore legends SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and up-and-comers BEARTOOTH. The newly announced dates will kick off on October 13 in Bismarck, North Dakota and run through the end of the month, culminating with two headline festival performances from SLIPKNOT; Monster Energy's Aftershock in Sacramento, California, slated for October 24 and their very own Knotfest, which will take place October 23 through October 25 at San Bernardino, California's San Manuel Amphitheater & Campgrounds.
Furthermore, SLIPKNOT has teamed up with Shazam and Spotify to offer fans nine unique playlists, each curated by a member of the band. Fans can head to unmask.slipknot1.com to unmask a new playlist every Monday and Thursday and discover SLIPKNOT's favorite music for the next four weeks.
Newly announced SLIPKNOT tour dates:
Oct. 13 - Bismarck, ND - Civic Center
Oct. 14 - Winnipeg, MB - MTS Centre
Oct. 16 - Calgary, AB - Scotiabank Saddledome
Oct. 18 - Edmonton, AB - Rexall Centre
Oct. 20 - Spokane, WA - Spokane Arena
Oct. 21 - Boise, ID - Taco Bell Arena
Oct. 22 - Portland, OR - Memorial Coliseum
Oct. 24 - Sacramento, CA - Aftershock
Oct. 25 - San Bernardino, CA - Knotfest
SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor has confirmed that the band is considering writing and recording a double concept album to follow last year's ".5: The Gray Chapter". During the question-and-answer portion of his recent solo performance in Los Angeles, Taylor said, "We've been talking about a double concept album, which I don't know if we could… But it's an interesting idea. So they told me to start thinking of an idea for a story. So we'll see what happens."
Taylor told The Pulse Of Radio that SLIPKNOT definitely has plans to return after the current cycle for ".5: The Gray Chapter" ends. "Yeah, there'll definitely be more," he said. "I think we're gonna do the usual thing where, you know, we'll probably tour until summer next year, and then we'll take some time off. We all have things that we do in our lives that we'll take time to go and do, and when it feels right to come back, we'll come back."
SLIPKNOT percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan said recently that he would love to see the band record a double concept album in the vein of PINK FLOYD's "The Wall" and THE BEATLES' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
Taylor's other band, STONE SOUR, recorded a double concept album in 2012, "House Of Gold And Bones".
".5: The Gray Chapter" was released in October 2014 following a six-year hiatus during which founding SLIPKNOT bassist Paul Gray died and original drummer Joey Jordison was dismissed.
Corey Taylor also said during his Los Angeles show that the band is almost certain to keep working with current drummer Jay Weinberg and bassist Alessandro Venturella.
SLIPKNOT's "Summer's Last Stand" tour kicked off on Friday (July 24) in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM will release their ninth studio album, "I Worship Chaos", worldwide on October 2 via Nuclear Blast. The artwork for the CD was created by Finnish artist Tuomas Korpi and can be seen below.
The second trailer for "I Worship Chaos", in which the CHILDREN OF BODOM members talk about the concept behind the lyrics for the new album, can be seen below.
"I Worship Chaos" was once again recorded at Helsinki, Finland's Danger Johnny Studios and was produced by CHILDREN OF BODOM and Mikko Karmila, who worked with the band on their earlier albums "Halo Of Blood", "Hatebreeder", "Follow The Reaper" and "Hate Crew Deathroll". The CD was mixed and mastered at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland.
"I Worship Chaos" will be available in following formats:
* CD + DVD digibook (incl. bonus DVD and three bonustracks!)
* 2LP (black, clear, silver, yellow, picture)
* digibook + canvas (Nuclear Blast mailorder edition)
The album can be pre-ordered at this location.
Comments CHILDREN OF BODOM guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho: "As much fun (but most importantly raw, literally bloody knuckled hard work) it has been making it, I'm more than happy and even more anxious to share this chaos with the rest of the world. So people, put your shades and helmets on, it will get very dark and it might hurt, in a perfect CHILDREN OF BODOM fashion, of course!"
"I Worship Chaos" track listing:
02. My Bodom (I Am The Only One)
05. Prayer For The Afflicted
06. I Worship Chaos
07. Hold Your Tongue
08. Suicide Bomber
09. All for Nothing
Bonus tracks (digibook only):
11. Mistress Of Taboo (PLASMATICS cover)
12. Danger Zone (KENNY LOGGINS cover)
13. Black Winter Day (AMORPHIS cover)
The song "Morrigan" can be streamed below.
CHILDREN OF BODOM has recruited Antti Wirman, the younger brother of the band's keyboardist Janne Wirman, to handle second-guitar duties for their upcoming shows.
Antti, who has been a member of Janne's band WARMEN since 2001, made his live debut with CHILDREN OF BODOM on May 30 when the group played a surprise six-song set at Nosturi in Helsinki, Finland.
"We wanted to go with someone close to the band we can count on and who can nail these songs. Antti was the obvious choice," said Janne.
Antti will continue playing with CHILDREN OF BODOM through the band's appearance at the Kuopio RockCock festival on August 1. The group will then decide what to do about the second-guitarist position on a more permanent basis.
CHILDREN OF BODOM's first official concert with Antti took place on June 4 at the Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg, Sweden.
CHILDREN OF BODOM in May announced the departure of the band's guitarist of the past decade, Roope Latvala.
Video footage of SLAYER members Tom Araya and Kerry King talking about the song "Chasing Death", from the band's upcoming "Repentless" album, can b seen below.
King told Illinois Entertainer that he wrote "Chasing Death" after his longtime guitar tech, Armand Crump, overdosed and died in 2012. The track was penned partly in an effort to save fellow SLAYER co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman from alcoholism.
"There were some wake-up calls in there," King said. "You know, we were trying to get Jeff on board. And he had literally cheated death when he had that arm injury. I don't think people know it was as bad as it was, but the doctor told him when he went in to work on him, 'First, I'm going to try to save your life.' We didn't know if he was going to live. And Jeff, he just... he got out of the hospital, and he lived clean for a while. I'm, like, 'Dude, you just cheated death. You got another shot at doing this all over again. Let's fucking get you back on board, playing some shows.'"
He continued: "I knew when [Jeff] went into the hospital that last time, I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad. Nobody expected that call ... I didn't know if he was ever going to come out of that particular episode, but I didn't think it was going to be that quick.
"You can't make an addicted person get better if they don't want to. We did everything we were supposed to do, but that kind of personality, man. If they're not strong enough to outwit it, then it's gonna happen how it happened."
In January 2011, Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite in his backyard.
Hanneman eventually died in May 2013 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He is credited for writing many of SLAYER's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven".
In a 2013 interview with Guitar World magazine, former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo stated about Hanneman's battle with the bottle: "Jeff was always a drinker. He always had a Coors Light tall can in his hand. Always."
"Jeff and I always drank," King added. "They called Steven Tyler and Joe Perry the Toxic Twins. We were the Drunk Brothers." He laughed. "The difference being that I don't wake up in the morning and need a beer. Jeff didn't know how not to drink."
"I would express my concern [about his alcohol intake], and he would back off for a few months — but then he would go right back to drinking," said Kathryn Hanneman, Jeff's wife of 24 years. "A few years before his dad died in 2008, I did notice that Jeff was relying on alcohol to start off his day. But I couldn't say much at that point, because I just knew we'd wind up in a verbal confrontation about it. And I'm not going to say I didn't drink with him — I did drink with him, sometimes quite heavily. I figured if l couldn't beat him, join him. But eventually I realized that I couldn't go on like that, and that if l stopped, I might be able to help him get away from it too. But I couldn't. He just relied on it too much to get him through the day."
Hanneman's SLAYER bandmates also spoke about the arthritic condition that he had been battling for many years and that was progressively worsening to the point of interfering with his playing. "His ability to play was slowly deteriorating," SLAYER frontman Tom Araya said, "but he didn't let anybody know that. We could just tell that things were going wrong. It was becoming hard to get stuff out of him. He was very proud and didn't want to make anyone worry about anything. Jeff would show up and play, and he didn't want anyone to know or worry about what else was going on with him. He tried to be really strong and sometimes that can weigh you down."
"You would notice it in his hands and a little bit in his walk," Lombardo said. "It seemed like He was struggling with his playing — it wasn't fuid. You could hear it in the leads. His playing just wasn't as tight as it could have been."
"People have to make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives," Araya said. ''You can't start dictating how they should live because it just pushes them away. It doesn't help anything. It wasn't easy, but it's not like we were blind to what was going on. And there were points that we tried to help and encourage him to come back — tell him he could still be a part of what we do, even if it wasn't full time.
"But I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that he didn't want to let us down. He didn't want to disappoint us. I think when he was having real difficulty over that last year, he just didn't want us to know about it. He kept saying that he needed more time. And the isolation didn't help much either. I think that no matter how things would have worked out, the end result would have been the same."
"It eats you up because you think, Why can't I fix this guy?" King said. "And it's not that he didn't want to be fixed . I mean, he didn't want to die. But he also couldn't help himself before it was too late."
Gary Holt of San Francisco Bay Area thrash icons EXODUS has been the touring guitarist for SLAYER for the past four and a half years.
"Repentless" will be released on September 11 via Nuclear Blast.
British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST have announced a dozen or so North American dates that are scheduled to begin October 16 in Paso Pobles, California and wrap on November 12 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Support on most of the shows will come from Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON.
Asked how JUDAS PRIEST decides which songs to includes in its setlist after a four-decade recording career, the band's lead singer, Rob Halford, told Creative Loafing in a 2014 interview: "Well, here's the deal: We are thrilled to be out promoting our new record, 'Redeemer Of Souls' — it's the 'Redeemer Of Souls' tour. So there's an opportunity for us to play those songs live to the fans that have already got the record, and are digging the music. Also to introduce the songs to some of the fans who maybe haven't made their mind up. And then you balance it out with the rest of the material, and it is a nightmare. [Laughs] I tell you, it's just… [sighs] Where do you start? You've got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of songs to choose from."
He continued: "When you see a band — you're probably aware of this — there are dynamics. It's like going to see a Broadway show or a ball game. There are dynamics: The way it starts, the way it motors through, the way it climaxes towards the end. So, you've got to have all those dynamics in your thinking when you're putting down a set list. Tempos, how the songs are going to be delivered with the visuals that you match up, the lighting, the video screens. There's a lot of thought that goes into it. But we've got this pretty solid."
Halford added: "I think any band, when they start the first week of tour and you're kind of kicking the tires on songs to see whether or not they're going to work or whether you've got to change the running order or bring in some new material, but we seem to have got in right on the first go. So by the time we [hit some of these new places], there'll be a lot of fans that have probably caught a glimpse of it on the Internet and know something about the setlist that's happening. And there will be fans eagerly waiting to get those songs live and in the flesh."
Newly announced JUDAS PRIEST tour dates:
Oct. 16 - Paso Robles, CA @ Vina Robles Ampitheater
Oct. 17 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Pearl
Oct. 20 - San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield Theater
Oct. 21 - San Jose, CA @ City National Civic
Oct. 27 - Vancouver, B.C., Canada @ Hard Rock
Oct. 28 - Vancouver, B.C., Canada @ Hard Rock
Oct. 31 - Regina, SK, Canada @ Brandt Center
Nov. 01 - Winnipeg, MB, Canada @ MTS Center
Nov. 03 - Peoria, IL @ Civc Center
Nov. 06 - Huntington, N.Y. @ Paramount Theater
Nov. 07 - Newark, N.J. @ Prudential Center
Nov. 10 - Halifax, NS, Canada @ Scotiabank Center
Nov. 12 - Halifax, NS, Canada @ Air Canada Center
Halford recently told the "Sixx Sense With Nikki Sixx" radio show that JUDAS PRIEST "can't afford to wait three years, or five years now, to make" the follow-up to "Redeemer Of Souls". He explained: "The clock is ticking, you know. And especially while the band is buzzing and the energy's there creatively. We had so much stuff happening in the studio, we had to put the blocks on because we were on a time schedule with the label. So we do have some stuff kind of left over from 'Redeemer Of Souls'. We'll be heading out for the rest of this tour 'till Christmas time, take a break, and then more than likely in the studio early of 2016 and see how quickly we can turn this around. It won't be a rush job, because we treasure everything that we do. But I think that the mindset is there to make this record efficiently and hopefully have it out there for our PRIEST family as soon as we can."
"Redeemer Of Souls" was released in July 2014. The follow-up to 2008's double-disc concept album "Nostradamus" was billed as a return to JUDAS PRIEST's heavy-metal roots.
"Redeemer Of Souls" sold around 32,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart.
GUNS N' ROSES guitarist D.J. Ashba has announced his departure from the Axl Rose-fronted outfit. He says in a statement: "Six years ago, I received a call that changed my life forever. The call was from a dear friend of mine (Katie McNeil-Diamond) who was working with GUNS N' ROSES. It was an offer to audition for Axl Rose and earn a role in arguably the biggest rock band of my time. While I thought it was a complete long shot, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Much to my shock and surprise, I got the gig. And so began the most incredible journey I could have possibly imagined. I was blessed with the opportunity to not only work with one of the most talented bands, but also to share the stage with a living legend and a truly gifted human being, Axl Rose. The amount of confidence and trust that Axl placed in me was genuinely heartwarming and truly career-defining. In the years that followed, I traveled the world many times over and played these incredible songs night after night to the most enthusiastic and loving crowds. As you can imagine, the friendships that were forged during that time were deep and long lasting. But the most beautiful surprise of all was YOU... the fans. You welcomed me into your lives with open arms and showed me love and support that I could only have dreamed of. From the very first time I stepped on stage and started playing 'Welcome To The Jungle' and felt the crowd erupt, I knew my life would never be the same. I'm not gonna lie...I was terrified!! But you were so accepting. You immediately turned my fear into pride. For that, I am truly grateful.
"So now it is with a very heavy heart and yet great pride that I announce that I've decided to close this chapter of my life and encapsulate the wonderful times that I've shared with GUNS N' ROSES into fond memories. I have reached a point in my life where I feel its time to dedicate myself to my band SIXX: A.M., my adoring wife and family, and to the many new adventures that the future holds for me.
"I have always been driven by my passion for creating music and SIXX: A.M. has always been a place where I can express myself honestly and share that passion with my two brothers and bandmates, Nikki Sixx and James Michael. As you know I have also been blessed with the love and support of my incredible wife, Naty, who has been at my side for much of this amazing journey.
"As I sit here writing this letter, I want to take a moment to thank Axl from the bottom of my heart for not only the most incredible experience of my life, but for truly believing in me. You are a true friend and a champion of mine and I am forever grateful. And even as I move on to pursue other endeavors, I will always remain one of your biggest fans. I also would like to thank each and every one of you fans for your love and support throughout the years. Without you, I am nothing. Please know that I do not take one minute of this amazing life for granted.
"I hope that you all join me as I forge ahead. Let's conquer the world together!"
Ashba joined GUNS N' ROSES in March 2009 following the departure of Robin Finck.
Speaking to UnskinnyPop.com in May 2014, Ashba talked about what he feels is "the most misunderstood thing" about him. He said: "I don't really read a whole lot about myself other than what is on my social media stuff. People seem to know more about me than I know about me. I think people confuse me joining GUNS N' ROSES… I mean, I saw a few comments that said, 'Hey, he's trying to be Slash.' Well, that's not true in any way. I think he is his own person and I have a lot of respect for what he's done for the band as far as his guitar work and stuff. I grew up loving the band and that whole thing is kind of weird to me. I am obviously my own person and would do what anyone would do in my position and just keep the music alive, do whatever you can do to stay as true to that music as you possibly can, and I think that is the respectful thing to do. In my mind, that is where I'm coming from."
Ashba said in a 2014 talk with Legendary Rock Interviews that the band had both recording and touring plans in 2015. He revealed, "We are planning on doing quite a bit of touring this coming year. The focus is getting in a studio and putting together what we all feel is the best GUNS N' ROSES record. Lack of material is not an issue. We have tons of stuff."
Ashba added: "Axl has two full albums that he has recorded. He has played me a bunch of songs off of that that are incredible! I can't wait to get in and kind of dive into those as well. I've written tons of songs and demoed up a bunch of stuff. I think it is just a matter of getting in and sifting through the piles of material."
The last GUNS N' ROSES album, "Chinese Democracy", came out in 2008 and ended a 17-year gap between collections of all-new material.
Rose is the only original member of GUNS N' ROSES still in the current lineup, which has toured intermittently since 2006 and played its second Las Vegas residency last year.
Another GUNS N' ROSES guitarist, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, recently revealed that he was focusing on his solo career after spending eight years playing in Axl's band. Thal, however, stopped short of saying that he was no longer a member of GUNS N' ROSES, which has caused some fans to criticize him for not coming clean about where he stands with the group.
Guitarist Michael "Padge" Paget of Welsh metallers BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE has revealed to U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine that he was left out of the recording sessions for the band's 2013 album "Temper Temper".
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE frontman Matt Tuck and drummer Michael "Moose" Thomas flew to Thailand to create the CD, leaving Padge and then-bassist Jason "Jay" James behind.
Padge told Metal Hammer: "It really pissed me off, to be honest. Being told over e-mail that you're not going to record an album with your band. I'm sure it would piss anyone off. I was fucking confused, hurt — and I just didn't understand it."
"Temper Temper" fell some way short of the quality many were anticipating from the band following the surprise breakthrough success of "The Poison" in 2006 and "Scream Aim Fire" in 2008. Padge told the magazine: "Do I think it was for the best in the long run? No, I don't, because our momentum kind of levelled off."
Moose had his own doubts about "Temper Temper". He said: "I wasn't in the right frame of mind to be writing and recording an album. Me and Matt were getting on, but I felt bad for Padge and Jay."
Although Tuck did not reveal the exact reason for the tension within the band, he told Metal Hammer: "When things need to be done, I'm not afraid of decisions that aren't going to be popular. There were certain things going on that people needed to sort out. At the same time, we needed to get work done." Looking back on the "Temper Temper" period, however, Tuck admitted: "Everyone, me included, lost perspective on what's important. In a way it was tainted before it had even begun."
Tuck told EMP Rock Invasion that he had no regrets about how the "Temper Temper" album turned out. "I wouldn't change that record for anything, really," he said. "That's the record we wanted to make, and that's what we should be doing; we should be doing what we want, and we shouldn't be trying to please anyone else. I think a rule that we've always stuck by since Day One was we do it our way and we do it what we wanna do or we don't do it at all. I think someone else fucking up your career is not acceptable. So if we fuck it up, at least you can sleep at night, you know what I mean? So we're extremely happy with it, and here we are today still rocking big venues around the world. So we [must be doing] something right, you know?!"
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE's fifth studio album, "Venom", will be released on August 14 via RCA. The CD marks the band's first release since the departure of longtime bassist Jason James and addition of Jamie Mathias. Jamie, who has been playing and touring in bands for the last ten years, fronted the band REVOKER, which released an album, "Revenge For The Ruthless", in 2011 on the Roadrunner label.
Produced by Carl Bown and Colin Richardson (SLIPKNOT, MACHINE HEAD, TRIVIUM) at Metropolis Studio in London, "Venom" is described in a press release as "an unrelenting, fierce step forward for BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE" and the band's "heaviest record to date."
Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare — the ultimate Halloween horror event — returns to Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, Illinois (just outside Chicago) for its second engagement from September 25 to November 1. Tickets go on sale for all Great American Nightmare dates on Friday, July 31.
October 2 and October 4 will also feature two special concerts with groundbreaking musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie.
"I am thrilled to be bringing The Great American Nightmare back to the Chicago area for its second year," says Rob Zombie. "After last year's overwhelming response we've decided to return with a completely new Nightmare. It's more vile and disgusting than ever. Have fun."
Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare 2015 will feature three attractions based on Zombie's own horror films:
* Captain Spaulding's Clown School In 3D: This irreverent school of pure terror is a hallucinogenic trip through the mind of Captain Spaulding ("House Of 1000 Corpses", "The Devil's Rejects"). Startle after startle will thoroughly frighten even the bravest patrons, who won't know if they should be laughing, screaming or crying.
* The Devil's Rejects: The murderous, backwoods Firefly family takes to the road to escape a vengeful police force that isn't afraid of being as ruthless as its target. Guests will become part of the state troopers' search and destroy mission against the Firefly family, who are wanted for over 75 homicides and disappearances.
* 31: On October 30, 1975, five carnival workers are kidnapped and held hostage until the following night (Halloween), and are put in a compound named "Murder World." They're told that they are there to take part in a game named "31," where the goal is to survive the next 12 hours. This is made difficult by the fact that they are not alone in "Murder World" — a violent gang of evil clowns are there and stalking their every move.
Captain Spaulding's Clown School In 3D and The Devil's Rejects debuted at Great American Nightmare in Scottsdale, Arizona last year. 31 is a brand new, never-before-seen haunt based on Rob's forthcoming film of the same name.
The fully immersive haunted house experience at Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare will include the all-new Bloody Boulevard with major carnival rides, freak shows, musical entertainment, roaming characters, themed food and beverages, games and vendors each night. Note: Carnival rides will not be open on concert nights.
Great American Nightmare producer Steve Kopelman says: "Given the tremendous support we received last year in Chicago, we are extremely excited to make it the first location that we are coming back to. Last year was just a taste of what's in store. This year will be Bigger, Badder and Bloodier! We can't wait to show Chicagoland our all new event."
Tickets for Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare go on sale Friday, July 31 at 9:00 a.m. CT, with prices starting at only $25. Each ticket includes access to all haunted house attractions and the Bloody Boulevard activities.
Tickets for October 2 and October 4 include the Rob Zombie concert and will be available starting at only $45. A limited number of VIP packages will also be available for purchase at www.GreatAmericanNightmare.com. All VIP packages include a commemorative t-shirt and quicker access to the haunted attractions than general admission. Some packages also include a designated viewing area for the concert and a VIP-only bar.
Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare will celebrate the Halloween season on the following dates between September 25 and November 1:
September: 25, 26
October: 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31
Hours for Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare will be 7:00 p.m. until midnight (Fridays and Saturdays) and 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. (Thursdays and Sundays). On concert nights, Great American Nightmare will be open until midnight.
Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare is a creative collaboration between master of the macabre Rob Zombie and preeminent haunted house producer Steve Kopelman. The event is produced by Rob Zombie, Steve Kopelman and Andy Gould.
Odeum Expo Center is located at 1033 North Villa Avenue in Villa Park, Illinois, just outside Chicago. It's easily accessible from downtown Chicago by major highways, and from the Tri-State area by tollways.
SEETHER has announced its final headlining tour of the year, a 19-city jaunt that keeps the hard rocking outfit on the road through October. Joining SEETHER will be special guests SAINT ASONIA, the new act featuring ex-THREE DAYS GRACE frontman Adam Gontier and STAIND guitarist Mike Mushok. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 31.
SEETHER tour dates:
Oct. 03 - Louisville, KY - Louder Than Life
Oct. 04 - Chattanooga, TN - Track 29
Oct. 06 - Omaha, NE - Sokol Auditorium
Oct. 07 - Kansas City, MO - The Midland
Oct. 09 - Milwaukee, WI - Eagles Ballroom
Oct. 10 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore
Oct. 12 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
Oct. 13 - Birmingham, AL - Iron City
Oct. 14 - Memphis, TN - New Daisy
Oct. 16 - Austin, TX - Stubb's
Oct. 17 - San Antonio, TX - Aztec Theatre
Oct. 20 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
Oct. 21 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
Oct. 23 - Riverside, CA - Riverside Municipal Auditorium
Oct. 24 - Sacramento, CA - Aftershock @ Discovery Park
Oct. 25 - Reno, NV - Knitting Factory
Oct. 27 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
Oct. 28 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
Oct. 29 - Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory
SEETHER frontman Shaun Morgan recently expressed his dismay with the stifled state of U.S. rock radio, explaining that may of the longtime classic and hard rock stations have switched to an alternative-only format.
Speaking to Sticks For Stones, Morgan said: "Here in the States, it's becoming more difficult, man. Alternative radio stations just don't want to play songs with guitarists. They play '90s alternative bands like ALICE IN CHAINS and NIRVANA, but they don't play new bands with guitar. They're, like, 'That's not alternative anymore.' That's just how it is now. If we're lucky enough to get played on radio, we'll get played right after a Lorde song, which is fine. I like Lorde, but I don't think she's a goddamn rock artist. She's not alternative; I think she's more pop."
He continued: "I think there is a weird sort of gray area about what is rock music and what is alternative music. It's sort of annoying. It seems like alternative stations think they're 'the cool kids of the radio world.' They can make and break careers, man. There's a lot of bullshit bands coming out and a lot of bands being ignored because they play guitar. We used to be one of the five or ten bands they'd play all the time; no questions asked. If we put out a single, they'd play it because we'd done so much for them. But now they've switched to 'alternative,' and we don't get played at all."
Morgan added: "We went for ten years playing every single radio station, playing all their events and birthday bashes or whatever the hell you call them, and then they turn around and say, 'We don't play you guys anymore because we're alternative. We don't play rock bands now.' It's, like, 'Get your head out of your fucking arse, dude.' It's bullshit."
SEETHER's latest album, "Isolate And Medicate", landed at No. 4 on the Billboard album chart last summer. The follow-up to 2011's "Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray" marked the group's debut on Concord Record Group after spending the first decade of their career with Wind-Up Records.
SEVENDUST's eleventh studio album, "Kill The Flaw", will be released on October 2 via 7Bros. Records with ADA/Warner Brothers distribution. The CD was produced by SEVENDUST and recorded at Architekt Music in Butler, New Jersey with engineer/mixer Mike Ferretti.
"Kill The Flaw" is available for digital pre-order at iTunes. Fans who order the album will receive an instant download of the first single, "Thank You", which can be streamed below as well as via streaming partners Spotify and Apple Music.
"We took some time off from the heavy side of SEVENDUST, and when it came time to record some new music, Clint, John, Vinnie, Morgan and I put everything we had in to what became 'Kill The Flaw'," states vocalist Lajon Witherspoon. "We love this new music and we can't wait to share it with our amazing SEVENDUST family!"
Throughout the album, SEVENDUST's musical development flourishes while never losing the signature sound that has garnered the band fans worldwide.
Tracks like "Death Dance", "Cease And Desist" and "Not Today" showcase the growth of the band as songwriters.
"Kill The Flaw" track listing:
01. Thank You
02. Death Dance
05. Cease And Desist
06. Not Today
08. Kill The Flaw
09. Silly Beast
10. Peace And Destruction
In a recent interview with Loudwire, SEVENDUST guitarist John Connolly stated about the band's new material: "It's funny, you come out of acoustic world and immediately you're, like, 'All right, let's get metal again. Let's get heavy.'"
He continued: "There's a lot of heavy on this one, but there's also a lot of melody. There's a lot of spillover from where our headspace was at on an acoustic perspective, which is great.
"I love being as heavy as we can be but Lajon, he's a melodic singer, and I think he's going to be excited about a lot of stuff. As heavy as we're trying to be, there's still a ton of melody on it."
Connolly added: "We've had such a good time during the last two records, collaborating together as a five-piece which is something we haven't done since the first album. All we had was a rehearsal room, each other, paying the rent and a few shows. Someone would come up with a riff or a demo and bring it in and we'd really hammer it out as a band. We had so much fun on 'Black Out the Sun' and 'Time Travelers & Bonfires', really, just being in each other's face instead of wondering is this going to work or is that going to work?
"Having five cooks in the kitchen at all times, most times, with most bands can be counterproductive, but for us, it just works so much better for us; we're so much more efficient. We're much happier without the guesswork. You play a riff, then Vinny [Hornsby, bass] starts playing, then Clint comes in, and questions get answered, and then you move on to the next thing.
"It's the stuff that we create together that's usually the stuff that gets us the most excited."
SEVENDUST's latest acoustic album, "Time Travelers & Bonfires", sold around 15,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 19 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was made available on April 15, 2014 via 7Bros. Records, in conjunction with ADA Label Services.
SEVENDUST will be the direct support on GODSMACK's upcoming tour. The trek kicks off on September 23 on Detroit, Michigan and wraps on October 19 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
SEVENDUST is comprised of vocalist Lajon Witherspoon, guitarists John Connolly and Clint Lowery, bassist Vince Hornsby and drummer Morgan Rose.
Ex-MEGADETH drummer Shawn Drover has denied having any bad blood with his former bandmates, insisting that he has "nothing but good things to say about the whole [MEGADETH] experience."
Drover quit MEGADETH last November "to pursue [his] own musical interests." Guitarist Chris Broderick announced his departure from MEGADETH a few hours later, saying that he was exiting the group "due to artistic and musical differences." The duo has since launched a new project called ACT OF DEFIANCE with ex-SCAR THE MARTYR singer Henry Derek Bonner, and SHADOWS FALL's Matt Bachand (bass).
Speaking about his exit from MEGADETH, Drover told Revolver magazine: "Everybody's looking for the negative story, but there isn't one. Keep in mind, I was in the band for over 10 years. I was in the band longer than anybody besides the two Daves [MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson]. We had a really massive break coming up — about a year — and I thought to myself that if I was ever gonna branch off and have my own thing, it would be a really good time to do it. So that's pretty much what I did. I have nothing but good things to say about the whole [MEGADETH] experience. I wouldn't be talking to you right now if I hadn't been in that band. That's a fact."
Asked if Broderick's decision to announce his exit from MEGADETH the same day as Drover was a coincidence, or if ACT OF DEFIANCE was already in the works at the time of the announcement, the drummer said: "It was actually the same night. That was a coincidence, yeah. But, of course, we talked about where we were at in our careers and what we wanted to do in the future. Chris and I share a lot of the same vision musically and personally, and neither of us wanted to take a year off. We realized that we were both serious about doing something, so we decided to hook up and see where this path takes us."
Shawn joined MEGADETH in 2004 as the replacement for Nick Menza, who had only just rejoined the group. Drover performed on four MEGADETH studio records: 2007's "United Abominations", 2009's "Endgame", 2011's "TH1RT3EN" and 2013's "Super Collider".
In a recent interview with Metal Hammer magazine, Mustaine stated about Drover and Broderick: "The two guys that left were, I believe, unfairly treated by management: they didn't even say goodbye to me — that's how badly they were spoken to — and for that I'm sad. We spent a lot of years together and I wish them well."
ACT OF DEFIANCE's debut album, "Birth And The Burial", will be released on August 21 via Metal Blade Records.
Victor A. Nieto has uploaded video footage of GUNZO performing the MONTROSE classics "Bad Moter Scooter" and "Rock Candy" on June 15 at Ramona Mainstage in Ramona, California. Check out the clip below.
GUNZO is the new band featuring guitarist Tracii Guns (ex-L.A. GUNS) and legendary bassist Rudy Sarzo (ex-QUIET RIOT, OZZY OSBOURNE, WHITESNAKE), alongside singer Keith St. John (X-DRIVE, BURNING RAIN, MONTROSE, QUIET RIOT) and drummer Shane Fitzgibbon.
In recent interview with the "Another FN Podcast With Izzy Presley", Guns stated about GUNZO, "We're actually gonna start writing brand new music, which is something I wasn't really that looking forward to doing that with anybody. I just finished a record with DEVIL CITY ANGELS [the band Tracii formed with drummer Rikki Rockett (POISON), bassist Eric Brittingham (CINDERELLA), and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Brandon Gibbs (CHEAP THRILL)], and it's a really good middle-of-the-road rock record. But playing with Rudy and Shane and Keith has really inspired me to write some kind of neoclassical metal. So that's what I'm doing right now. Any spare minute I have right now, I've got a guitar in my hand and I'm trying to come up with really nice pieces of music and kind of take it from there. And everybody in the group and anybody that's involved with us, there's a lot of genuine enthusiasm to see this thing grow and do something meaningful in the future here."
Guns also talked in more detail about the kind of music fans can expect to hear from GUNZO's live shows and upcoming record release. He said: "Keith was in MONTROSE, on and off, for a lot of years. So [when we play out] we're doing a couple of MONTROSE songs, we do WHITESNAKE stuff, DIO stuff, OZZY [OSBOURNE]… Eventually we'll be doing more QUIET RIOT stuff. We did 'Killer Girls', which is a QUIET RIOT song that Randy Rhoads wrote; it was on their second record with Randy Rhoads — a very old song. So we're trying to, right now, celebrate all this great stuff we've done over the years, and in doing so, our setlist is unbelievable — from 'Rainbow In The Dark' to 'Crazy Train', 'Never Enough'…. Just great stuff. So anything that we will write and put out in the future will be that vein of music, which is something that I haven't had any interest in writing in years. But this is the perfect vehicle to do that."
He continued: "When I say 'neoclassical,' I really mean it. I'm writing some really, kind of…. for lack of a better expression, kind of soundtracky classical music that I have been writing for other projects, 'cause I also try to weasel my way into movies and television and stuff like that, so I have a lot of different kind of stuff kind of on the backburner that I can draw from, and, if nothing else, it inspires me to write stuff specifically for this."
Tracii added: "The plan is to not ever really play [any new songs with GUNZO] until it's out. We're very aware that when you go to see a band like this, people wanna hear hit after hit after hit after hit; we don't really wanna have to have anybody sit through a six-minute brand new song that they've never heard before live. And sometimes live isn't the best place to do every type of music. I mean, it's great to present straight-up rock and roll live, because it's immediate, but I think what we're gonna be writing isn't gonna be exactly immediate."