Top Ten Hard Rock Albums Of 2011 – I have listened to many Hard Rock albums released during 2011. There seems to be quite a few Hard Rock albums that are of standout quality, this past year for me. With that said, my “Top Ten Hard Rock Albums Of 2011″ simply cannot represent the totality of Hard Rockin’ thrills I’ve experienced with my ears these past 12 months.
What my Top Ten list does represent are the Hard Rock albums I turned to most often to play… and play LOUD! I lean towards the “complete” album of songs, an album that goes further than just 4 or 5 great tracks. I gravitate towards the Hard Rock albums that psyched-me-out and made me feel very damn good inside. These are the Hard Rock albums that made a difference to me. A personal list it is and hopefully there are a few here you may agree with. Thank you for visiting Hard Rock Hideout in 2011 and supporting Rock ‘N Roll! Happy Holidays, Rock Steady and Happy New Year to all!
IRON CLAW – A DIFFERENT GAME
REV THEORY – JUSTICE
KING KOBRA – S/T
FAITHSEDGE – S/T
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – 2
WARRANT – ROCKAHOLIC
9 CHAMBERS – S/T
(Samson Records / eOne Music)
JOURNEY – ECLIPSE
SEBASTIAN BACH – KICKING & SCREAMING
SEETHER – HOLDING ONTO STRINGS BETTER LEFT TO FRAY
MR. BIG – WHAT IF…
Top Ten Rock Albums Of 2011 – This Top Ten Rock Album list comprises various genres, the likes of: Blues, Alternative, Rockabilly, Acoustic, New Wave, some shades of Hard Rock and of course, Rock itself. Isn’t Rock a grand blanket term for such incredible music diversity? I love Rock. Without Rock, there wouldn’t have been Heavy Metal.
If you are counting, there are actually thirteen Rock albums in this Top Ten list. Admittedly, compiling a “Top Ten” of anything is grueling for me, therefore the two “ties” below are as honest as I could ever possibly be, without pulling what hair I have left off of my head. Furthermore, I couldn’t resist adding Jeff Beck – Rock ‘n’ Roll Party/Honoring Les Paul as an “Honorable Mention”. It’s a good times, roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll listen, one that I’ve enjoyed time and again.
I chose the following Rock albums due to how memorable, fun and interesting they came across to my senses. The quality of Rock contained in these following albums, I simply revere. There are some elite musicians and bands on this list for certain. They all have proven to me just how diverse Rock ‘N Roll really is, with their respective albums. These are the Rock albums that I gravitated to and became inspired by most often during 2011. I highly recommend you check ‘em out, if you haven’t already.
Thank you for supporting Rock ‘N Roll and Hard Rock Hideout!
STONE’S TOP TEN ROCK ALBUMS OF 2011
JEFF BECK – Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul
AFTERLIFE PARADE – REBIRTH
DARYL HALL – LAUGHING DOWN CRYING
TESLA – Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions…
(Tesla Electric Company Recordings, Inc.)
CHRIS CORNELL – SONGBOOK
GREGG ALLMAN – LOW COUNTRY BLUES
SOCIAL DISTORTION – Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes
FOO FIGHTERS – WASTING LIGHT
LOS LONELY BOYS – ROCKPANGO
(Playing In Traffic Records / LonelyTone Records)
THE CARS - MOVE LIKE THIS
(Hear Music / Concord Music Group)
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – I’M WITH YOU
JOE BONAMASSA – DUST BOWL
THE TREWS – HOPE & RUIN
(Bumstead Productions Ltd.)
Hope & Ruin took me by surprise in 2011. THE TREWS captured a Rockin’ vibe that made my mood soar anytime I listened to this album. Melodic songs that glisten lyrically and musically, Hope & Ruin can easily become someone’s Rockin’ companion. THE TREWS are that Rock band you need to know about. This band defies the illogical American Rock mainstream press, proving that exquisite and blue-collar Rock music does exist in places other than Billboard or Rolling Stone magazine.
When I listen to Hope & Ruin, I’m not hearing a Rock band that is out to prove themselves. I’m instead hearing a Rock band that created a complete album of songs, which is straight from their Rock ‘N Roll hearts.
* To read my review on Hope & Ruin, (posted on August 5th, 2011), click on the large header link below:
Thank you to all the Rock bands & musicians above! Happy Holidays & Happy New Year To All!
LONG LIVE ROCK.
Top Ten Metal Albums Of 2011 – Oh the Metal albums I listened to during 2011! Metal be thy name, there were a Metal many. Metal many again. Regardless of how many Metal albums that did rip my eardrums apart and psyched me out during the process, I couldn’t possibly listen to every Metal album released this past year. It’s not humanly possible. I’ve compiled below, a list of ten Metal albums that for all Metal intents and purposes… kicked my Metal lovin’ ass during 2011.
Yes, you will see a couple of albums tied in this top ten list and it was an unavoidable and welcomed outcome. Choosing my top ten Metal albums for any given year is not easy! However, choosing my number one Metal album for 2011 was easy and Hemoptysis is without a doubt in my Metal mind, one of the best Metal bands to come forth in the past ten and possibly twenty years. You can call Hemoptysis Thrash, Death Thrash, Extreme and Metal. I call this band exceptional and their Misanthropic Slaughter album is number F’n ONE!
Hopefully you may agree with a few of these albums I’ve chosen for my top ten. A personal list of Metal taste it is. Each Metal album here for me bestows quality musicianship and songs, from beginning to end. The common thread each band below shares with one another, that can never be denied: They are all Defenders Of The Metal Faith and I salute each and every one!
Stone’s Top Ten Metal Albums Of 2011:
HUNTED – WELCOME THE DEAD
ANA KEFR - THE BURIAL TREE (II)
SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA – The Corruption Of Mercy
MORBID ANGEL – Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season of Mist)
SPEED\KILL/HATE – OUT FOR BLOOD
EASTERN FRONT – BLOOD ON SNOW
* (Was released in North America on January 25th, 2011)
ANTHRAX – WORSHIP MUSIC
MASTODON – THE HUNTER
ARCH / MATHEOS – SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE
(Metal Blade Records)
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
THE PARALLAX: HYPERSLEEP DIALOGUES
(Metal Blade Records)
AMON AMARTH – SURTUR RISING
(Metal Blade Records)
HEMOPTYSIS – Misanthropic Slaughter
(Rock It Up Records)
* To read the complete album review I wrote for Misanthropic Slaughter posted on January 22nd, 2011, click on the large header link below!
Congratulations and THANK YOU to all the METAL bands above!
LONG LIVE METAL.
BILLY SHEEHAN – Since those loud, bright and colorful Arena Rock days of the late 1980’s, I equate Billy Sheehan to bass playing excellence. From his early 80’s days with Talas, to stalking the stage alongside Steve Vai for David Lee Roth’s momentous tours, in some of the world’s most prolific venues, Billy Sheehan has wowed his fans and peers. After decades of honing his signature bass sound, Billy has earned the respect and accolades that so very often are spilled upon him in the press and behind closed doors.
The standouts are stacked high within the legendary music career of Billy Sheehan and Mr. Big is a huge exclamation point in what Billy has achieved as a musician. Mr. Big defines what great Hard Rock can sound like, when Pop song structures are played heavy, resulting in a unique accessibility that stretches from mainstream to Metal. Billy Sheehan and his band are old school, yet Mr. Big and their comeback album “What If…” (released on Frontiers Records this past winter of 2011), have ignited a new-found fire within their original lineup, which also boasts: Eric Martin (vocals), Paul Gilbert (guitar) and Pat Torpey (drums).
Make no mistake, “What If…” may very likely be the best Mr. Big album ever and Billy Sheehan couldn’t be happier. Honestly, a feel-good story like this couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy like Billy Sheehan and exemplary Hard Rock band like Mr. Big. Ten years have passed since the last Mr. Big studio album and after one thorough listen to “What If…” I never could tell. Billy Sheehan took the time from his busy touring schedule recently, to talk to Hard Rock Hideout about Mr. Big’s reunion, their comeback album, their fans and of course, David Lee Roth. Here is what Billy Sheehan had to say:
HRH: How amazing the new album sounds! Eric, Paul, Pat and yourself sound like you’re all at the top of your game on “What If…”. How close were you guys during the off years?
BILLY: Pat, Paul and I live in L.A., so we saw each other a lot and we all rehearse at the same place. Eric is in San Francisco and we always send messages to each other. We never thought the band would be together again.
HRH: What moment sparked the band into creating a new studio album?
BILLY: We were always asked by everybody when is Mr. Big gonna play again? So really it’s the fans that are responsible for Mr. Big getting back together, making a new album and touring. We had done a reunion tour back in 2009. It was a great time and run for us. We had a conference call with our manager and he posed the question, do you want to do a record? We all agreed to do a new record, only like our early records where everybody contributes. While making this record, we were all hanging out and enjoying our time with each other. We got lucky! Honestly, this is the best reviewed record I’ve ever played on! You never know what is going to happen when you make a new record.
HRH: I’ll agree with being a best reviewed record! Hard Rock Hideout considers “What If…” to be one of the best Hard Rock albums of 2011.
BILLY: Well thank you! I appreciate that! We were pleasantly surprised!
HRH: Were you ever concerned about how the new album would be received by the media and the fans?
BILLY: It was not so much concern, we just didn’t know! With all the rehearsing, recording, mixing, mastering and other work that goes into making the album… we do the best we can. We are all Hard Rock fans ourselves, so we know what we expect from our favorite bands. We try to incorporate what we do as fans, we know what we like, we know what we think sounds cool and try to put it into our music. There is a disconnect between what the artist likes and what the fans accept and expect as well. That can’t be denied.
HRH: How big of an asset is Kevin Shirley in the studio?
BILLY: Kevin was a big asset! He insisted on a certain way we would play it and sing it “live”. Kevin told us in a nice way but a stern way, he said c’mon, let’s see it! Bring it! This was pressure we didn’t expect! Our song “All Around The World, we played it like hundreds of times! We arrived at the studio super early in the morning. It wasn’t easy being under that kind of pressure. This was pressure we didn’t expect! We had to kick ass and hit it hard! Still, it is a good thing to be under pressure. There’s no room for a blunder doing it live! Kevin had us make a record like The Beatles did in the old days, a bunch of takes being played live. We do a bunch of takes and just get it right.
HRH: While “What If…” was being written, how democratic was the band?
BILLY: Very, very democratic. Very much like the original records were written. It just makes more sense to listen to what each other has to offer. We all threw ideas around. We’re selfless and use the other guys idea if yours isn’t working. We wrote one hundred and twenty-eight pieces of music, while writing this new album. There was a lot of versatility and cool changes from all the pieces that were written. We had a lot to choose from.
HRH: With all the pieces of music written for “What If…”, will there be a couple more albums from Mr. Big in the future?
BILLY: Back in the day it was tour, do a record, tour and do another record. There is no MTV now, so records take longer to sink in these days. Maybe we’ll tour for another year and next Summer we’ll do festivals. It’s hard to predict what we’ll do in the future. We’re just enjoying what is happening now.
HRH: How has the current tour of the States been?
BILLY: It’s been a blast! The tour has been easy and really cool. We started in Southern California, then went north, then went back west and down to San Diego. We have packed houses everywhere we play right now. We’re hitting it hard everywhere we go to play. It’s been great business for us, especially when bands are suffering on the road at the present time. After all these years, the Mr. Big records are still being played and people want to see us. There’s a lot of people who are happy to see us. After the shows, I hang out with the fans and sign photos, shake hands and we share our time.
HRH: After all these years, how important has Japan been to the success of Mr. Big?
BILLY: Very important. We sold more records in the U.S. and Europe than we did in Japan. Many people think that it’s easy to go there (Japan) because we are Americans. I feel people are fixated on the mythological aspect of Japan due to Spinal Tap! (laughs).
BILLY: Japan is a very different marketplace, as is Taiwan and Korea where we have many fans. I get more fan mail from Indonesia than anywhere else in the world! We hit it hard in Japan. A lot of bands toured there (Japan) and never got asked back again! We love Japan and are very grateful to the fans there for their support over the years. We hit it hard in Japan like everywhere else we go. We didn’t change our method of operation the way we approached Japan. We shook hands, signed photos and took the time to meet the fans.
HRH: Is Eric Martin an underrated vocalist of Hard Rock?
BILLY: I guess he may be underrated by some and other moments very celebrated by many. The first time I heard Eric sing, I said that is exactly what I want! That is the voice I’m looking for! Eric has that smokey tonality about him, he is from the Paul Rodgers mold.
HRH: What other instrument can you play that the typical fan wouldn’t know about?
BILLY: The sax. I do know where to put my fingers and I will play the sax, even if it sounds terrible! (laughs) So I do try the sax.
HRH: Will you ever consider reissuing any of the Talas titles?
BILLY: There was a couple that Metal Blade Records reissued in the past. I have a zillion demos and unreleased tracks, plus live bootlegs. I would love to sell them on the net or as a super cheap download. I have many early demos and tracks of Mr. Big. I have David Lee Roth “Eat ‘Em And Smile” and “Skyscraper” demos, minus the vocals. Of course there would be some legal issues to sort out with Dave on these. I have tons of live videos that no one has ever seen before too. I would love to release some of those some day. These videos are all professionally done.
HRH: Can you reveal the funniest or craziest moment you experienced while touring with David Lee Roth?
BILLY: The “Dave Tour” was a string of craziest and funniest moments! That was one big and amazing time of my life. That whole part of my life is a book in itself! Dave was and still is my hero. I will always be thankful for Dave giving me that opportunity. Steve (Vai), Gregg (Bissonette) and I like to reunite for Christmas. We once reminisced about it all. We called Dave once when we were together and couldn’t find him! (laughs).
HRH: As you tour with Mr. Big in 2011, does it feel like old times or is there a new-found fire burning?
BILLY: Definitely a new-found fire burning. I believe all of us (in the band) are people enjoying our lives now. When we were younger, there was more pressure on us to succeed. I spend more time now playing and working on my bass, than any other time in my life. It’s the same with Paul and Pat, they would tell you the same thing. We absolutely love what we’re doing right now, we feel very lucky and fortunate. We rolled the dice and it came up sevens!
JAIME ST. JAMES – From 1984 to 1988 Black ‘N Blue was signed to Geffen Records and released four studio albums of pumped-up Hair/Glam Metal. These albums were usually cranked up at many a keg gathering back in the day, the days of those memorable 80’s when I used to feel invincible. Around 1989, the legend of Black ‘N Blue disbanded, still the Hard Rockin’ albums remained as a solid reminder that this band could Rock your face off and make the girls cry for more.
Black ‘N Blue eventually resurfaced for a one-time reunion concert in 1997, resulting in the 1998 release: One Night Only: Live. By 2002, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer replaced the legendary Ace Frehley in KISS. The charismatic lead singer, with the long blonde locks, would find himself fronting the ever famous Warrant, being featured on their 2006 studio album Born Again. With the subsequent return of the late Jani Lane, Jaime St. James moved on. That is the abbreviated history of Black ‘N Blue, certainly there are many other engagements and facts to tell. As time moves on more Rock ‘N Roll history is to be made… Black ‘N Blue history that is.
Fast forward to 2011 and Jamie St. James finds his band rejuvenated and once again Rockin’ like it was 1984 all over again. Frontiers Records is now the label launching pad for the kick-to-the-teeth, Hard and Heavy Rock ‘N Roll that Black ‘N Blue is truly known for. On May 17, 2011, Black ‘N Blue returned with their fifth studio album: “Hell Yeah!”. Fans of Black ‘N Blue have been waiting since 1988 for a brand new studio album and Jaime St. James and the boys have delivered. Recently, Jaime St. James took the time to speak with Hard Rock Hideout on a variety of topics, from the new album to Tommy Thayer to chasing down a chick. Here is what Jaime had to say:
HRH: How did you hook up with Frontiers Records?
JAIME: It all happened rather accidentally. We were on Z Records, they ran out of money so we talked to management and Frontiers bought us out. They were a fine label, its been like six, seven years so they were happy to get money back. I’m happy to be on Frontiers Records. We’ve made a kick ass Rock and Roll record for Frontiers. There are inside jokes on the album. I got out-voted by the band on leaving them off the album, so, oh well.
HRH: Is releasing “Hell Yeah!” likened to getting that monkey off your back?
JAIME: I suppose so. “Hell Yeah!” was never a burden to me, it was not like heroin. I want people to hear it and it’s finished and finally done. I’m like, wow, we had fun making this album. Would I ever do it this way again? Hell no. The next album I want to get finished in three weeks.
HRH: What is the story behind “A Tribute To Hawking”?
JAIME: I get asked this same question in every interview. Oh lord, I did not want this song to be put on the record. It’s an inside joke. I sang “hail, hail” and Patrick (Young) said: “Jaime sounds robotic”. I played the track back and made up the lyrics spur of the moment. It was all just a joke. It makes us all look kinda mean, it’s a bizarre song. Look, you don’t wanna listen to it more than twice, that’s for sure. We might get sued for this song but I don’t give a shit. The beauty of being in Black ‘N Blue in 2011 is I don’t give a fuck about nothing. Frontiers did not want to put this song on the album and Frontiers did put it on this album and God bless ‘em for it. Frontiers is one of the best labels out there and I’m happy to be with them.
HRH: What sparked the song “Angry Drunk Son Of A Bitch”?
JAIME: First of all, it’s a fun song. “Woop” (Jeff Warner) wrote the music. I love the rhythm of it and it has a really cool groove to it. I had this idea about writing a song and I wanted to call it “Angry Drunk Son Of A Bitch”. I said let’s drink, get drunk and write the lyrics. It was amazing how the shit just keeps coming out when writing these lyrics. Like: “I’ve got a bomb in my ass and I’m ready to go…”. This song in general was truly a great moment in creating this “Hell Yeah!” album.
HRH: Did you ever consider using “Candy” as the new album title? That song is everything great about good times and Heavy Rock and Roll!
JAIME: Well, “Candy” is a cool tune. Lyrically what is “Candy” and what does it mean? Well, it’s shooting sex on a girls face! Look, we called it “Hell Yeah” eight years ago, way before Hell Yeah got together as a band. I wrote this song “Hell Yeah!” ten years ago! Tommy Thayer said we should write a song called “Hell Yeah!” ten years ago! Anybody who says we ripped off Hell Yeah can go fuck themselves. Now, I don’t care about what people write, saying we should be ashamed of ourselves for using the album title “Hell Yeah” and that we owe Vinnie Paul an apology. To all these people who feel this way, I forgive them for they do not know.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Tommy Thayer?
JAIME: All the time! I went to his birthday party recently, I saw Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) there. We’re really close, I’ve known Tommy since we were little kids, I’ve known Tommy since we were seventeen years old! I root for him with KISS and I am so happy for him. Just because Tommy is in KISS doesn’t mean he is going to kick me in the curb. I love Tommy and he really loves me. I’m friends with Ace Frehley too, but trust me, Ace doesn’t want to be in that band anymore. I see people saying shit about Tommy all the time, I can’t stand it.
HRH: Who? What people are saying stuff about Tommy Thayer? I’ve never wrote a bad word about Tommy.
JAIME: Blabbermouth. I read the shit on Blabbermouth. Just because Ace isn’t in the band, it’s like, hey, Tommy is in KISS because he can play.
HRH: If “Jaime’s got the beer”, what brand is it?
JAIME: Budweiser. I took all the beer, me and “Woop” were at his place and I was chasing some chick around and never came back. So I took all the beer and I went and got laid with this chick. When I came back, the guys wrote that song, they were singing it: “Jaime’s got the beer”.
HRH: Looking back, which two albums do you feel defined 80’s Hard Rock and/or Heavy Metal?
JAIME: This is not an easy question. Def Leppard “High ‘n’ Dry” and Iron Maiden “Killers”. Those are the two records that I love from back in the 80’s. “High ‘n’ Dry”, I love that album so much. If I went to live on another planet, these two albums I would bring with me and listen to. I know Bruce Dickinson can sing, I just love that “Killers” record and Paul Di’Anno. Thanks for the hard question you son of a bitch! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs). Well Jaime, you can write a song for your next album and title it “you son of a bitch”. The song can be about a press guy asking you a hard question.
JAIME: I can easily write a song called “you son of a bitch”. (laughs).
HRH: Any festivals or touring planned for the remainder of 2011?
JAIME: We’re wide open to touring. M3 Rock Festival may be one of the best in America. We’ve also played in Denver and Phoenix. Black ‘N Blue hadn’t played on the East Coast since 1985 or 1986. It’s been a long time. I’ve played on a lot of dates in the past with Whitesnake, we were both on the same label together with Geffen. David Coverdale is a true English gentleman. David, he’s such a cool guy. We’ll see what happens with the new record and it might open doors for us. We need to rebuild again. We’re not twenty years old and on fire. We’re all in our forties now and not about to torture ourselves by riding around in a tour bus and playing gigs in shit holes.
HRH: Can you reveal one hilarious or shocking moment you experienced while on tour back in the 80’s?
JAIME: There’s a few. I can’t reveal any cause I might get arrested. There’s a few though. Let’s just put it this way, the Black ‘N Blue tour bus was the eighteenth level of hell back in the day. Maybe down the road I’ll write a book about it all and I can get arrested for it. (laughs).
HRH: Would you consider, if asked, doing a reality show on your daily life? If so, what would the show be titled?
JAIME: The big chair. I’d be sitting in a giant chair and people would ask me these ridiculous questions, like, “Jaime, I want to have sex with a rhinoceros, what do I do?”. Then, I’d be telling idiots what to do and I’d slap ‘em in the face and tell them to move on. Next! I’d like to slap you in the face for asking me all these stupid fucking questions.
JAIME: Hey, there’s my next press call phoning in. Gotta go! Make me look good!
HRH: Jaime, are you there? Hello? Jaime? Uh, well, okay, I’ll do my best.
Black N’ Blue’s new album Hell Yeah is available for purchase at this link.
Queensrÿche – When I received the assignment from Rob Rockitt to cover the Queensryche show at The Crocodile Rock Cafe, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I was swirling with many emotions. Queensryche has been a core favorite of mine since I first heard their Metal classic “Queen of the Reich”, on a late night FM show called Metal Shop, way back around 1983. The last time I saw Queensryche in concert was back in 1986. 1986! They opened for Ozzy Osbourne on his “The Ultimate Sin” tour, while they were supporting their own eventual classic: “Rage For Order”. The venue back then was the Springfield Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Fast forward twenty five years later and I’m still the ever loyal Queensryche fan. Or am I? You see, I still did not pick up their new album “Dedicated To Chaos” going into this concert and believe me, I felt really out-of-place for this. I figured all along: Old School Queensryche rules anyways. Truth be told, on this Tuesday evening, on August 2nd of 2011… “live” Old School Queensryche DID rule. I will touch more on this “Old School” topic as you read along. To make up for my slacking of loyalty, I did purchase an autographed CD of “Dedicated To Chaos” at the merch table. I fulfilled my Metal duty after all.
As I sat at the front bar at the Croc Rock, with staff photographer Tom Coderre, we both realized the atmosphere around us getting a bit more crowded. A hell of a lot more crowded. As soon as 6 pm hit, the line of Queensryche fans began to stretch from the venue door, through the bar and pouring out onto Hamilton Boulevard. This was not a short line. This was a very long line of Old School Queensryche fans. Immediately, from checking the faces of the fans and the sea of Queensryche concert t’s of past tours, within this growing line, I felt the electricity in the air. Tom and I were about to witness an amazing night of live Queensryche… a night of Old School Metal.
Any Rock, Hard Rock or Metal fan knows that feeling right before a core band of theirs takes the stage. The anticipation and the dragonflies in my stomach seemed to overwhelm me. I was getting psyched-out and Queensryche had not even taken the stage yet! I gave Tom the nod to take his position at the reserved area for photographers, he looked back at me and smiled with Metal glee. I studied the guitar tech at work, the artificial fog that enveloped the venue, the security guards (or public relations as their called on their t-shirts) as they began to make hand gestures to each other that only meant it was all about to go down… then… Queensryche took the stage!
The exhilaration was on overdrive now as Queensryche fired up the opening track from “Dedicated To Chaos”: “Get Started”. Metal be thy name did this “new” Queensryche song sound unreal great to my Old School ears! As the rhythmic thunder of this song was raging through my veins, I’m thinking to myself, “Get Started” couldn’t be a better song to open this night with! So much for my Old School mentality. Yes, I did get schooled on some new Queensryche this particular night.
Onstage Geoff Tate did frequently acknowledge the voluminous crowd of fans, making us all feel like we were one big Queensryche family. The entire band looked and played not only like seasoned pros, they commanded the stage as a unified force of their legendary songs. Never once could I not realize I was witnessing a Metal band of immense influence, a band that deserves more recognition for their contributions to Rock. From Progressive Metal to a chart topping ballad the likes of “Silent Lucidity”, Queensryche has played it all… and they played it with pride, class and skill for me to witness on that memorable night.
The Old School fever meter began its climb once the first beat of “I Don’t Believe In Love” hit the amps. This was early in the set and the song that told all of us in attendance that Queensryche will Rock our faces off tonight… and they did just that. Geoff introduced “The Lady Wore Black” as where “it all began for us”. The fans went nuts. I went nuts. Queensryche ripped into this legendary song with probably the same enthusiasm as they held for it 30 years ago. As I sang out loud to “The Lady Wore Black” and pumped my fists and Metal horns to the air, I also
found the time to high-five my fellow Old School fans around me, both young and old. The excitement was all too much to not share. It’s nights like these where Metal fans unite as one.
“Walk In The Shadows” rocked the place down! If there ever was a song that sounds ten times better when played live by Queensryche, then this is the one. This Queensryche classic sounds intense on album, I’ll never deny that, only hearing and experiencing it live with a throng of frenzied fans singing along was unquestionable Metal bliss for me. This was a point during the night when I realized just how powerful Geoff Tate’s vocals are. What a song… what a band… what a Metal moment.
To say I was moved and psyched-out beyond my wildest Metal dreams is an understatement, when describing how I felt when Queensryche played their encore. “Jet City Woman” had every fan squeezed into this hot and sticky Croc Rock belting out each
syllable, to each word, of this song’s amazing lyrics. This was a Metal high that money can’t buy. Without warning, “Empire” was next, without a hesitation from the band. Metal as my witness, my circulatory system was running on pure adrenaline now… there was nothing that was going to separate the energy that we the fans were sharing with Queensryche, on this glorious August night. Then, my god almighty it only got more insane… the final song of the night kicked in: “Eyes Of A Stranger”.
To summarize this Queensryche encore is to say: After 30 years of Queensryche, this band specifically saved the best for last. Geoff Tate sounded ridiculously amazing on vocals, from “Get Started” all the way to the shows close. The band sounded prolific at every turn and it was as if these three encore songs were meant to be played for just the fans in attendance that night and never be played again. 19 songs were played live by Queensryche, a lengthy set that usually fans can only wish for. Only this night of live Queensryche songs were very real.
I witnessed for myself many, many club shows during my lifetime, only I’ve never witnessed the embracing of Old School like this before, among the fans and band. Queensryche wanted to be there. The fans wanted to be there. I wish I could go back there again and relive that night over… and over again. Metal be thy name.
As side notes: I lost Tom Coderre for the entire show, yet I did make a couple of new friends. Upon Tom and I reuniting after the show, we were both fortunate enough to meet each member of Queensryche. I will tell the world this: Queensryche are Metal legends, professionals… and Metal gentlemen. Thank you Queensryche for this everlasting Metal moment in time.
I Don’t Believe In Love
Hit the Black
A Dead Man’s Words
At 30,000 Ft
Rhythm of Hope
Screaming In Digital
The Lady Wore Black
Walk In The Shadows
The Right Side Of My Mind
Around the World
Jet City Woman
Eyes Of A Stranger
LONG LIVE QUEENSRYCHE.
PHIL COLLEN – Most famous for his career with Def Leppard and the English Glam Metal band Girl, guitarist and vocalist Phil Collen has quietly carved out a legendary Hard Rock career for himself and he’s not about to slow down. Debuting his diverse Rock outfit Man Raze back in 2005, with lifetime friend and bassist Simon Laffy (Girl) and legendary (Hall Of Famer) Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, Phil has fulfilled a lifelong dream of being in a three piece. The energy that Man Raze exhibits through their brand of Rock and Roll is stuff of old school and Phil Collen isn’t making any excuses about it.
With the sophomore release from Man Raze upon us, the excitement that Phil Collen speaks about “punkfunkrootsrock” is outright contagious. This second offering from Man Raze sets into motion that this is a band and not just a one-off project. With the Def Leppard engine still firing on all cylinders, Phil Collen is on the move and ready to Rock at a moments notice. Hard Rock Hideout was very fortunate recently, to catch Phil sitting down and willing to answer whatever question was thrown at him. Just as the music he’s played all through his stellar career, Phil was up-tempo and thoroughly genuine. Here is what Phil had to say:
HRH: Man Raze has a strong Punk Rock backbone, yet that isn’t everything about this band. How do the three of you agree on playing so many different styles of Rock?
PHIL: Agreeing on different styles is one of the things that has drawn the three of us together. We’re all around the same age, from the same town, listen to the same records and are inspired by them. We share this West London “thing” with the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Everyone in the band has that open channel to express themselves. When we got together and started playing, we expressed our influences. Paul (Cook) and I love Reggae, the Trojan Reggae stuff. It took thirty something years for natural inspiration to happen like this. I’ve felt a flash of inspiration like when you were a kid, it makes you feel like a child again, wanting to pick up a guitar and start playing!
HRH: Phil, you sound so excited about Man Raze and what you guys are creating here! Do you have a feeling of new found freedom with Man Raze?
PHIL: Always! The whole thing feels magical, it’s just there. It’s such an amazing thing, playing with Paul. I never thought it would happen, it’s a dream! Even lyrically, some songs reference things, it’s not obvious stuff, just enough to make an impression. Our song “Lies” references all the lies through history. We just tried to develop “that sound” with no restrictions, not genre specific and just really enjoy the multi-genre influences and let it all happen! I see so many artists my age that are jaded and can’t find where they are. Not us, we have this boatload of energy! To express art through words and music is so rewarding.
HRH: What can you tell the fans about this new and forthcoming Man Raze album?
PHIL: My wife had asked what’s it all about? So Paul said it kind of has some Punk, Funk and Rock. (laughs). So we named the album “punkfunkrootsrock”. It’s all one word! I’m totally pumped and excited about this new record! Some of the songs we’ve never played live together, so they are brand new to us too. This new album has Funk, Sixties and Seventies Rock and Soul inspired by Sly and the Family Stone, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye.
HRH: That’s very diverse and downright cool, Phil!
PHIL: Making this new album has been a liberating experience! This new album is artistically a representation that I’m extremely proud of. As an artist, you can’t describe how good it feels to have no restrictions. Each song is different. That’s the great thing about it, when you write a song and it becomes it’s own. “All I Wanna Do” is a song on the album that reminds me of Hendrix and Otis Redding doing a song! That’s the vibe I get from it!
HRH: You guys can utilize improvisation.
PHIL: Yes we can! No one song ever ends the same when we are playing live!
HRH: Each time the Rock and Roll of Man Raze hits me, the vibes and feeling of “real” sets right in. How do you guys capture such a raw and real Rockin’ sound like you do?
PHIL: I approach it very differently than from, let’s say, Def Leppard. We do one take for start offs and put no restrictions on what we do. It’s Punk, Rock and Funk. When we do one or at most two takes, the energy is captured on the songs. If you’re too meticulous and precise and spend too much time on it, then you lose the realness of it. We get goose bumps and excited about what we play among the group. You know, it took us three years to record “Animal” for “Hysteria”.
HRH: Whoa! It took three years to record just “Animal”?
PHIL: This was a magical and best time while we recorded “Hysteria”. We had the great vocal, only “Mutt” Lange said the backing tracks did not sound good! So, Joe (Elliott) and I went back and re-recorded not only the backing tracks, we re-recorded the vocals too! (laughs).
HRH: (laughs). That’s a fun story to know Phil. So that energy I hear and feel from Man Raze is real after all!
PHIL: Totally! You know, Paul has the same cymbal as he used on that great Sex Pistols album! (laughs). I’m like, wow! (laughs).
HRH: That’s unreal and very cool! (laughs).
PHIL: “Mutt” (Lange) and I would talk about Paul Cook’s drumming and the sound of his cymbals when we recorded “Hysteria”. We wanted to capture Paul’s cymbal sound on the Hysteria album. I think we did.
HRH: “Surreal” is as dynamic and quality strewn as any debut album can be. How and what was your approach to creating the new album like?
PHIL: A very natural flow was the way it all went together. It reminds me of Iggy and the Stooges and Bowie, we just go with it! Like a production line, we never got stuck on anything, it really flowed. We had about twenty songs or parts of twenty songs to start. We have a record label, let’s scramble together! We recorded the album in two weeks in London. It was an enjoyable experience in the studio, plus we were budget minded about it.
HRH: When you guys are writing songs, do you aim for equality when it comes to representing respective styles or does it just flow and go?
PHIL: It absolutely flows and goes! These new songs are more closer to me than the last album we did. We maybe went too commercial and could not get it right. On this second record we have it right. Some things work out better the second time around. We just captured that flow and played these songs.
HRH: Your new single “Over My Dead Body” will be released on iTunes may 31, (2011), with both an electric and acoustic version. (Doubleheader). How difficult is it to choose the lead single for the forthcoming album?
PHIL: Everyone was involved in choosing the first track. “Over My Dead Body” is about death. It’s a cross between the Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones. This song comes across very raw with loud vocals. There is a uniqueness to it, it’s very Rock and Roll. I’ve been waiting to hear something like that for years.
HRH: How rewarding is it to have your music of Man Raze included in the soundtrack for “I, Superbiker”?
PHIL: It’s such a compliment to us. Mark (Sloper) is a champion of the band and has a t.v. show in London. (Mark Sloper is the writer, director and producer of I, Superbiker). It’s a documentary movie on super biking, real guy stuff!
HRH: How often do the three of you agree to disagree?
PHIL: Actually, we don’t. All three of us have valid and amazing insight to stuff. We are three grown men with massive experience. There was one thing brought up. The Def Leppard backing vocals is not what we wanted to be incorporating into our music. In Def Leppard, the backing vocals are like an instrument. The guys say it gets away from the essence of what is us (Man Raze). Vivian (Campbell) and I can do so many things together in Def Leppard, I will say that.
HRH: Do you ever step back and marvel at the profound Rock sound that is created by a classic power trio such as Man Raze?
PHIL: I do actually. With all the experiences I’ve had, playing all around the world and being on t.v. and all that, being a lead guitarist and lead singer of a three piece is so liberating. With Def Leppard, it’s a totally different format with two guitarists. With Man Raze, we can end songs with different lengths. We never play a song twice the same. With other bands, we rehearse over everything and play the same bars. In Man Raze, we experiment and if it doesn’t work, you then take the song somewhere else. This all takes you on a journey, one I’ve never experienced until Man Raze. I’m bummed I never experienced this before.
HRH: It’s so great that Def Leppard and Journey are still around!
PHIL: It’s magic that makes it all happen after all these years. Journey, on stage they go off on a tangent and listen to each other!
HRH: There’s nothing like improvisation with Rock and Roll.
PHIL: Jazz musicians have always done this. Jimi Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell! Mitch would be going somewhere and Jimi would go somewhere with what Mitch was doing. Journey is a great band with that! They can take it to a different place, if they wanted to with their music.
HRH: What can fans expect from Def Leppard’s first live album “Mirrorball”, which releases this Summer?
PHIL: It’s such a long time coming! We’ve done the live DVD and all that. There’s twenty one tracks with three new studio tracks on “Mirrorball”. Rick, Joe and I wrote a song each. It was recorded during the last two tours. We record every show and I asked our producer to catch the audience reaction for this live album. I love all that kind of stuff! For thirty years Def Leppard was in a cycle of album, tour, album and tour. We never had that time set aside for doing a live album. We finally took our first year off in 2010, worked on “Mirrorball” and I got married!
HRH: You got married? Congratulations Phil!
HRH: Will Man Raze be playing some festivals this Summer?
PHIL: I’m not sure. In August, in the States, it would be just L.A.. It would be super cool to do some festivals though!
HRH: Going back to influences, anymore you want to share?
PHIL: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Nirvana and The Police. The Police being my favorite band ever! When I first heard Steve Jones (Sex Pistols guitarist) and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol and countless other recordings) I could not believe what I was hearing! The attitude and involvement with their playing just blew me away!
HRH: Is Man Raze a lifelong dream of yours that has come to pass?
PHIL: It is actually. I always wanted to be in a three piece band! I’ve known Simon (Laffy) all my life, we were in Girl together. Five years ago, my Dad was in the hospital, I was visiting him quite a bit. One day I saw Paul Cook literally on a London street. I asked him to check out my music, to see if he’s interested and what he thought.
HRH: That’s such an incredible story, how you just actually bumped into Paul Cook on a London street and exchanged an invitation to him like that!
PHIL: In the super big cities like New York, London and Paris, they each have a scene going on. You bump into people of all Rock genres. I knew Billy Idol back in the 70’s! (laughs). What I love about London is I can walk from my house to Paul Cooks house in ten minutes, with my guitar under my arm and a studio in-between. All these years I never realized Paul Cook lived so close by! I asked Paul Cook on that street one day to check out my music and to come down… and click!
Carmine Appice – An undisputed Rock legend is Carmine Appice. With a Rock and Roll resume that screams “Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction NOW!”, Carmine never once spoke of acceptance into any clique or popular circles. That’s because Carmine Appice knows his accomplishments and knows he belongs with his countless fans. Carmine is not just a legendary Rock drummer, he is also an accomplished teacher of drumming and unquestionably his profession’s biggest advocate spanning six decades.
To appreciate the works of Carmine Appice is to also appreciate Rock Music history. Carmine has played and written for Rod Stewart, while founding such Classic Rock icons as Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Beck, Bogert and Appice. His drumming can also be heard on albums from Ted Nugent and Paul Stanley to Pink Floyd’s “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason”. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of this famed drummers accomplishments. With two of Carmine’s biggest 80’s bands being King Kobra and Blue Murder, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal fans alike gravitate to Carmine Appice with a justifiable reverence.
2011 has ushered in the reunion of King Kobra, with their newly released and self-titled album on Frontiers Records. This King Kobra reunion album shakes loose everything we all adore about 80’s Melodic Hard Rock… King Kobra style. With new vocalist Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Bad Boyz, Quiet Riot) surrounded by the original King Kobra lineup, there could not be a better time than now to celebrate this bands everlasting Hard Rock appeal. Carmine took the time recently to talk to Hard Rock Hideout about the reunion of King Kobra and their new album. As I anticipated, Carmine wasn’t just a receptive interview, he was a downright good guy. Here is what Carmine had to say:
HRH: King Kobra in 2011, does it feel like the first time or old hat with the band?
CARMINE: It’s a little of both. We have a new energy from Paul (Shortino). He adds a bluesier sound to the band. Some songs we wrote back in ’84 and the first meeting with Dave (Henzerling) and I was writing all our takes from ’84 down. Me and Dave initially were part of the heavy writing on the first two King Kobra albums. My drums and Dave’s guitar are the core of King Kobra’s sound and we captured that sound once again, blending everything else together nicely.
HRH: This album is a great listen Carmine, it does take me back.
CARMINE: Thank you. I was very surprised it came out so good! We were never all together in studio to record this album. This King Kobra album was an international undertaking. Me and Paul were together and Dave was in Phoenix. It was all put together and mixed in Germany by Mike Ross. The track we used to get Mike Ross on line in Germany was “Monsters And Heroes”, a tribute song (about) Ronnie James Dio. All the royalties from this song go directly to the Ronnie James Dio Cancer Fund.
HRH: A fine job you guys did with that Carmine.
HRH: How did Paul Shortino land with King Kobra?
CARMINE: Our first press release was back in December of 2009, when the idea to do this reunion and album came about. It was my saying hey look, let’s get together and let’s do a record. It all took time because we all live in different cities you know?
HRH: What event or series of events triggered the reunion of King Kobra after the initial idea?
CARMINE: It was never a planned thing or anything like that, it just happened one day. David (Henzerling) by trade is a computer programmer. He was coming out to L.A. to Edwards Air Force Base to program jet fighters. Dave and I were together one day when Pat Regan called and said he would be in town mixing a new album for KEEL, so we went down and said hello to the guys. Pat told me Frontiers Records is signing a bunch of 80’s bands right now. Pat said “why don’t you guys do an album?” I’ve had a bit of a run-in with Marcie Free, so I called Paul (Shortino) because I’ve worked with him before, plus he’s a great person and has a great voice. Of course, when I called Paul and asked him he said “yeah, I’d love to do it”. So, me, Dave, Paul and Mick (Sweda) were up for it. Johnny Rod has always been asking me when we were going to get King Kobra back together, so he was in for sure.
HRH: That’s really cool how it all came back together.
CARMINE: It is. Do you remember Paul played Duke Fame in Spinal Tap? (laughs)
HRH: Man, Carmine, I forgot about that! (laughs)
HRH: King Kobra captures all good things about Melodic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Is this a sound that is missing from young bands today?
CARMINE: I think this album to me, is more of a Hard Rock album than anything else. The words “Heavy Metal” describes a certain era. Heavy Metal is more of the dark side of stuff. I consider King Kobra a Hard Rock band. This is a really good Hard Rock record. Blue Murder I’d consider as a Heavy Metal band. Some of the songs on “Beck, Bogert & Appice” are heavy. When Y&T came out, they were a Rock band, then everyone began to call them a Heavy Metal band in the 80’s.
HRH: That’s a good point there about Y&T.
CARMINE: Look back on the song “Hot Legs” with Rod Stewart, now that was some good Hard Rock! When I hear a cool new song on the radio now, from a new band, they never announce the band! That drives me crazy!
HRH: I know what you mean Carmine, we’re supposed to figure it out ourselves!
HRH: Would you ever consider reuniting Blue Murder for a new album or one-off show?
CARMINE: Since 2000, I’ve wanted to do another Blue Murder album. I want to do an album and a tour with Blue Murder, the only thing stopping it is John Sykes. To do an album with John Sykes would take forever, he is a real perfectionist. The longer we wait, the further and further away we get from when the last album was released. The real money is made with touring. Right now with the economy, there is really no market for an album like Blue Murder.
HRH: Any tour plans for King Kobra?
CARMINE: King Kobra used to play arenas. Now, all us bands are playing clubs. Dave (Henzerling) is too busy with his regular job to tour with King Kobra. I don’t want to lose money either. If we go play and lose money, it makes no sense to me. Big acts have to package up with other big acts today. Rod Stewart is packaged up with Stevie Nicks. Now Rod Stewart is packaged! We never saw Rod Stewart packaged up!
HRH: It’s the sign of the times, Carmine.
CARMINE: Doing gigs with Cactus, Slamm!! and clinics is the playing live side of my career. I will be doing gigs during the Summer with Vanilla Fudge.
HRH: That’s pretty cool stuff to be involved with!
CARMINE: It’s very hard to get out and play right now because the economy is bad and the record business is bad. I used to sell six, seven or eight thousand drum books on top of two hundred thousand records. Now, I sell more drum books than records! I released Carmine Appice’s (“Guitar Zeuss”) “Conquering Heroes” double album back in 2009. I had tons of great guitarists on that album with Ted Nugent, Brian May and Mick Mars, for example. Only two thousand units were sold here! Fifty thousand were sold in Europe and forty thousand sold in Japan. A little over one hundred thousand units sold! Business is down.
HRH: King Kobra is such a good times album. Was this all intentional or did it just fall into place this way?
CARMINE: All the positive themes like, “I’m number one”, “don’t get left behind” and “let’s party!” have always been our way with songs. All the songs are about good times. I compare this album to the first King Kobra album (“Ready To Strike”) with it’s energy. “Tear Down The Walls” is a political song. The concept behind “You Make It Easy” is about making a phone call and you’re put on hold by customer service or some Spanish message. So, originally this song was called “It Ain’t Easy”. (laughs).
HRH: (laughs) That’s funny, Carmine.
CARMINE: (laughs) You know how it is, you’re pushing all these prompts all the time to get some service and you’re thinking please make it easy! (laughs). There are lot’s of stuff going on in this song.
HRH: (laughs). I hear you, about waiting on the line for service from a human being!
CARMINE: In comparison to the second album, (“Thrill Of A Lifetime”), the label made us do five singles on one side of that album. The other side was our songs.
HRH: “Live Forever” is my personal favorite on the new album. Is there a story behind this song you can share?
CARMINE: If Bon Jovi did “Live Forever” it would be a number one single!
HRH: I feel “Live Forever” would have been a number one single or at least a top ten single for you back in the late 80’s.
CARMINE: I Want to send this single to Richie Sambora after this album is released and get it in the Bon Jovi camp. Let’s see what happens! (laughs). I guess I’m dreaming right?
HRH: Not really, Carmine. The Bon Jovi camp should be honored you would even take the time to send them over a song.
CARMINE: I guess I do have a track record. (laughs).
HRH: You took the words right out of my mouth, Carmine. (laughs).
RALF SCHEEPERS – It’s not inappropriate to call Ralf Scheepers a Heavy Metal tenor. His larger than life voice can rival the very best in the history of Heavy Metal. Just let your ears delve into the back catalog of albums that Ralf Scheepers has sung lead vocals on and you shall be convinced. As a founding member of Gamma Ray, alongside Kai Hansen, Ralf Scheepers was the lead vocalist on three of their studio albums, from 1989 to 1993. In 1997, Ralf and Mat Sinner founded Primal Fear, a formidable Heavy Metal band that has etched out a powerful legacy to this very day.
There are many famous lead vocalists in Heavy Metal and Ralf Scheepers is one. However, when it comes to Ralf Scheepers, there is much more to being just a “famous” front man for a world known Heavy Metal band like Primal Fear. I never received a micro-hint of ego from Ralf as we spoke, nor did it ever appear that Ralf has, will or ever rest on his laurels. Ralf values friendship, (in a tiered format which he explains) and likes to create music on his acoustic guitar in front of his fireplace.
No, your not going to read on about a spoiled and partied out Heavy Metal star here, instead you will find out that Ralf Scheepers puts more thought into compassion and staying in touch with family, than he does about any Sunset Strip shenanigans. His new solo album “Scheepers” accentuates his fondness for ballads, guest musicians and of course, Heavy Metal. After my interview with Ralf Scheepers ended, I had to quickly remind myself that he is the intimidating vocal and physical presence of Primal Fear, for he truly carried himself in such a relaxed, polite and accessible manner. Here is what Ralf Scheepers had to say:
HRH: How relieved and proud are you, now that your solo album is being heard and praised?
RALF: I’m very pleased about it. The reviews have been good so far. I hope the people who bought the album are having a good time with it.
HRH: Which song on “Scheepers” moves you the most on a personal level?
RALF: Definitely “The Pain Of The Accused”, it’s based on a personal situation that I went through years ago. Once I got the melody line in my head for this song, I couldn’t get it out of my head.
HRH: How was the idea of doing a song (“Remission Of Sin”) with Tim “Ripper” Owens born?
RALF: I actually got to know Tim five or six years ago. We have gotten to know each other personally and Tim is a very nice guy. We’ve kept in close contact over the years. We email and see each other often, getting together to have some beers. I sent Tim this song while he was between two tours and he recorded it! I’m very happy about the way it came out. Tim and I are just good buddies!
HRH: Am I out of line by calling “Saints Of The Rock” a Heavy Metal Anthem Classic?
RALF: Well, you know, this song was recorded back in 1996 originally. It’s been re-recorded with Matt (Sinner) on bass. I did the whole choir on this re-recording.
HRH: A “Cyberfreak” never existed back in the eighties. Were the eighties a better time for Heavy Metal and the world as well?
RALF: I don’t think so, there’s always many changes happening. You have to deal with progress, you know? I sent my first email fifteen years ago! It’s a better world now. I get to stay in touch with cousins in America through Facebook, where years ago I couldn’t as easily stay in touch from a long distance. Facebook is a great network to keep in touch with friends and family. I’m not trying to sound like a Facebook commercial here by promoting them either. (laughs) You can advertise your music better through the internet now, then again, you can also lose money from people illegally downloading your music too.
HRH: Many of your friends appear as guests on “Scheepers”. Where do you rank friendship on the scale of life?
RALF: That’s a good question. It all starts with Facebook right? (laughs) It’s the same in personal life as well. I have friends that are not as much close. Then I have friends in business and friends I exchange problems with on a more personal level.
HRH: What other musicians would you have liked to guest on your current solo album and perhaps on any future Primal Fear or solo album?
RALF: For a guitarist, Neal Schon is amazing. He had no time and was just too busy with touring and recording to appear on my record. I’m pretty sure there are many names I can’t think of right now. There are many out there, it’s not easy to name them all. Rob Halford still is an old time favorite of mine! Tim “Ripper” was great to sing together with!
HRH: What are the differences that you see, when it comes to Heavy Metal being marketed in Europe compared to the U.S.?
RALF: That’s a tough question. In the U.S. the market is huge, it’s the biggest. I’ve learned later in life (laughs) with Primal Fear, that you must go to the U.S. and play for the fans. You play for the kids in the U.S. to go out and buy your album. It’s the opposite in Europe, the kids buy your album first and then go to your concert.
HRH: Would you ever consider a singing role on Broadway, if the situation was right?
RALF: Never say never! I love the musicals in Germany. At the Musical Theater in Germany, they are really studying singing and stuff. I’m not quite aware of being able to do it though.
HRH: Why’s that Ralf?
RALF: You have to be very professional and deliver the goods more so than Heavy Metal. It is night in and night out on Broadway. It’s a job too, it can become boring in a way. Then again, Heavy Metal is an everyday job too! I’m sure there has to be different feelings you must have to perform on a Broadway stage as well.
HRH: Will there be a solo tour in the U.S.?
RALF: It would be great! Only, with the new Primal Fear album being recorded and released, combined with Primal Fear doing festivals and tours, it may not be. I also have to see what the market reaction is to my solo album. If the promoters want me to go out solo, I am the last one to say no!
HRH: Do you feel our world needs to exercise some more compassion right about now?
RALF: Yes. I mean, I had the idea for this song (“Compassion”) when the earthquake happened in Haiti. Now its Japan too. I had the chords and the melody in my head as I watched the news on that Haiti earthquake. We need to show people we have feelings and not only money, that people are there for them, to give them (earthquake survivors) feelings that someone is there for them. I remember writing this song on my acoustic. I’m the acoustic guitar guy in front of the fireplace.
HRH: What? Ralf Scheepers sits in front of the fireplace, with his acoustic guitar and writes songs? (laughs)
RALF: (laughs) I also like to shred with my acoustic too! (laughs) That doesn’t mean I’m a big softy or anything like that! I’m still the Heavy Metal guy!
HRH: (laughs) Don’t worry Ralf, you’ll always be the big Heavy Metal guy in my mind!
HRH: How is the new Primal Fear album coming along?
RALF: We have now, about ten songs. The guys are very busy. They’ve sent me playbacks and I’ve put my vocals and melodies on them. Then, we team up and rehearse the songs. It is very important to team up with the band and not rely solely on the internet when writing songs.
HRH: Good luck with the recording of the new Primal Fear album Ralf!
RALF: Thank you very much, it’s going to sound great! I’m already banging my head to these Primal Fear demos!
CLOWN – The musician, songwriter, music producer and artist known as Michael Shawn Crahan, aka Clown. He is comfortable with being called Clown for that is who he truly is, on or off the stage, whether performing with the legendary Slipknot or with his new macabre and Extreme band called The Black Dots Of Death. With his side projects To My Surprise and Dirty Little Rabbits in-between, there is only one Clown associated with them all. Clown is not your stereotypical “Rock Star”, instead he is an artist that delves deep into the human psyche, revealing what he finds along the way, while never being bashful to push the envelope.
There is much more to Clown than his being a founding member and percussionist for Slipknot. Oh, there’s so much more. All one needs to do, when a golden opportunity arises, is talk to Clown and find out for oneself just how unique, open minded, brutally honest and caring he unmistakably is. Hard Rock Hideout recently had the opportunity to talk with the legendary Clown… only Clown did the most talking. That’s the way it should be. When a man like Clown, who holds such hard earned status in today’s Heavy Metal climate and Rock Music history, coupled with his volumes of knowledge on life itself wants to speak… I’m going to listen. Here is what Clown had to say:
HRH: “Ever Since We Were Children” combines a mix of music styles that carries it’s dark themes in a maniacal sense of emotions. This album flows so well and it works for me. How do you pull this off? What’s the method to your madness?
CLOWN: Well, “what’s the method to your madness” is a good question! Anyone who spends a lot of time with me really knows me. When I was young, I used to think I wouldn’t make it to forty one years old! Now, I’m hoping to make it to sixty one! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) Let’s hope!
CLOWN: I took a physical the other day and I filmed the nurse taking blood from my arm. I sent the video to my wife’s phone and said, “look what I’m doing today”! I filmed my parents cremation too. I was invited and asked by Paul Gray’s wife to film the birth of their child. I’m always searching for more truths and answers. In schools, they should be teaching us about death and preparing us for death. I have a friend who is suffering from a life changing and traumatic experience, I spoke to him two weeks ago. He said don’t take life for granted, live for the day because you can’t predict what will happen. You have to get as much done today because you don’t know if your gonna get killed in a car wreck tonight.
HRH: How true it is, Clown.
CLOWN: I’ve lost my Mom, Dad and now my best friend last year. My first best friend. It has all struck a chord with me, that life is fragile, life is random.
HRH: I couldn’t agree with you more, Clown.
CLOWN: This new album is something I’ve been working on for ten years now. The whole psychosis audio experience and dangerous thinking is happening on this album. I’m always opening my minds eye into different ways of thinking. I’m not wasting anymore time and not waiting for the next Slipknot album. I want to facilitate the art that’s inside of me and bundle it together. Just because I’m a percussionist, people don’t know I’m an all around artist. I play drums with The Black Dots Of Death, only you are getting more from me, a freedom of artistic expression and more than just a percussionist.
HRH: Which do you prefer to be addressed as, Shawn or Clown?
CLOWN: People who know me, know me as Clown and call me Clown. I’ve always been Clown and always will be Clown. It’s who I am, a reference in a sort of way. My real name is Michael Shawn Crahan. You can call me Shawn, still, calling me Clown is correct.
HRH: Okay, Clown it is! I thank you for clarifying that with me.
CLOWN: Not a problem.
HRH: Is it fair to think “Ever Since We Were Children” imitates aspects of life that no one wants to talk about?
CLOWN: Yes. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, through being a member of Slipknot and living a life of Rock and Roll, is I’ve received a Phd… a Doctorate in Rock and Roll. I could give a class on passports, different currencies, countries, pyrotechnics and drum lifts. I have a real sense on all that through experience. I tell a lot of people that my career in the old days was based on extreme danger and extreme violence. Now, I search for salvation through music. In my last twelve years, my feelings of salvation were brought on by being a member of Slipknot.
HRH: That’s really cool, Clown.
CLOWN: Twelve years later, I’m still searching through my feelings and applying them to The Black Dots Of Death. Two other bands I was in were based on how I was brought up in the seventies and the music I grew up on. Listening to my mother play guitar and the whole Monterey Pop Festival thing had an affect on me. This record is all stories and situations that a lot of people want to ignore and not talk about. It’s been a waiting game to reinvent my anger. I recently did an art show on my lifes work… no parents could attend and losing my best friend who couldn’t be there really hurt.
HRH: What comes first for you, an album’s theme or the song’s lyrics?
CLOWN: Basically, the music is written first. With “Lower Than Dirt” I remembered that I had the “fat kid” reference hit at me while growing up and it hurt, it made me feel “lower than dirt”. I wrote a song a day while writing this album, the experience was great with the producers and engineers. The songs on the new album are short stories, written for people like they’ve gone through them. I’m an only child, so the closest thing to a brother I’ve ever had in my life is my lead singer. He thinks a lot like I think. He is willing to fight to the death and not give a shit what other people think… with responsibility that is. There is responsibility in the way I act and the things I say, of course. He’s very ready to stand up to what he believes in. He builds his mindset around all his lyrics and he is the lead singer. I give my lead singer all these songs, then on a certain day and depending on how he feels is how he approaches the songs. Something will happen in “his” life and that is how he approaches writing songs.
HRH: The songs on “Ever Since We Were Children” are dark, melancholy and do make me feel nervous!
CLOWN: I’ll start my mindset around the sound of a song, combining both frequencies that are audible and inaudible. When you mix in audible with inaudible frequencies, it creates psychosis audio. Something is taking place there that truly affects people!
HRH: Whoa, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that before! (laughs)
CLOWN: I purposely do it, I’m diagnosed with severe depression and I go from one state of living to a next state of living. I like to get paranoia, stress and heart rates up with people! If someone tells me, Clown, I had to eventually turn off that Slipknot or Black Dots Of Death album because it made me very nervous, then that is the greatest compliment I can ever receive! You’ve listened to the first Slipknot album, I’m sure.
HRH: I certainly have!
CLOWN: There is a lot of psychosis audio happening on that first album.
HRH: I realize that now! (laughs)
CLOWN: I like to take music to the realm of insanity, it’s like, take me to that zone! Back then, when we made the first Slipknot album, you were dealing with nine guys who would cut their hands off and do anything to get somewhere in life and in this music business. I put all of my life experiences into my music and I have to write a song a day. I’m going in for minor surgery next week and I have anxiety over it. So, I incorporate this into my music. My wife celebrated this past Thanksgiving away from me, so I was invited over to a friends house for Thanksgiving dinner. Their food wasn’t my wife’s food, so I wrote the song “Thanks For Nothing”. It was the anxiety I experienced that day, from not having my wife’s food. All the riffs and the way this song was written reflects the way I felt that day.
HRH: Based on what is happening in the world today, is there any hope for mankind?
CLOWN: None. It’s very disturbing about how I and others feel about it. Let’s look at the facts. The end of the world has been written about and discussed since man has been able to write, paint and make music. Bigger, faster, quicker and cheaper is our downfall. I’ve watched the talking heads on television, each giving their reasons as to why the world is a mess. They say it’s economical aspects, a shortage of water and over population. I’ve turned to my wife and said, if you add up all nine ideas we’re listening to on television, then you have the recipe for disaster. We have beings in space studying micro gravity already. We’re already off this planet! To quote Radiohead, “dinosaurs already ruled the earth”, there was a T-Rex running around this planet, devouring this planet. Now, it’s us making a mess of it! We’re not doing very well when we have an oil spill in the ocean and it takes that long to cap it! That was an insult to our Earth and mankind.
HRH: Apocalyptic Nightmare.com has been launched. This should prove to be an excellent outlet for you to showcase and sell your art. Will you consistently add your art to this site?
CLOWN: It’s taken me a long time within the management family to get this site launched. If I had waited for management, my site would not be up as we’re speaking. I want things to fly around and get to the facts. Like my friend I mentioned earlier said, “get it done today”. About one eighth of this site is done. There are no videos or film uploaded just yet. I want my album covers, poetry, short stories and all my paintings up. Three bands I’ve produced are on it and I played drums and wrote songs for them too. There will be a remix section along with a photo and painting section. I had and have a certain way to get things done. There will be a link to get my book when it’s done. Contact information for signings, public speakings and slide shows of my life experiences as well. It’s going to take a lot of time, there are thousands of pictures I want to share and more merchandise to be sold with my artwork on it. It’s kinda like my tombstone and what my Mom always said, “I was a renaissance man”.
HRH: That’s going to be a fabulous site once it’s all complete Clown.
CLOWN: Once our website comes out, The Black Dots Of Death.com, everyone will know who our lead singer is. In the meantime, let everyone know we’re coming for them! The Black Dots Of Death is a dangerous band, with danger all around us!
HRH: Where do you draw inspiration from?
CLOWN: I work with Make-A-Wish Foundation. I get incredible strength from these kids. To be a part of this is an amazing and surreal feeling. It gives me a serious mindset, to speak with a kid that is terminal. I get disturbed by talking to a terminally ill kid who is way more positive than me, then they ask me, what’s wrong with you? I’ve seen kids who have had their arms and legs blown off at a children’s hospital. We get invited to go in and it’s so surreal, I’ve seen some crazy things, mind blowing things that I want to share with people. I’m funny sometimes, yet I’m really serious too.
HRH: That is just admirable Clown, your working with Make-A-Wish Foundation.
CLOWN: As kids get older and healed, they’ll have a family, find us and thank us for the time I spent with them. I like to be next to kids and sometimes I’m brought to tears by the questions they ask me. I’m good at public speaking and a lot has happened in my life, so I like to tell kids my experiences. I’ve met kids who cut themselves, they come to our show with their parents and they are embarrassed by being with their parents. I always say to them “you are lucky and very fortunate to have parents like this”. Management will always ask me the day before or night before a Make-A-Wish engagement. They know full well that it gives me anxiety thinking about the engagement, in the days leading up to it.
HRH: All requests go through management then?
CLOWN: Management is my direct connection for me to produce a band, do a remix, drum clinics and public speaking as well. I like speaking about going from a small town to a big band.
HRH: Will there ever be another new Slipknot studio album again?
CLOWN: In my heart of hearts and soul of souls, I think there would be another Slipknot record again. I would love another Slipknot record! Please, don’t print this and quote “Clown said there would definitely be another Slipknot album”. Nothing is in the works right now. I live for the day, one day at a time. It would be a special day for a new Slipknot record to come out. Still, there are no guarantees in life. I cannot predict the future, I’m not a fortune teller. Right now, I want to celebrate my bass player’s life, (Paul Gray), our love for him and love for our band.
BENEDICTUM – VERONICA FREEMAN – The third studio album “Dominion” from Benedictum was released on March 8th, 2011, on Frontiers Records. Any fan of this band knows that lead vocalist and founding member Veronica Freeman has a strong Hard Rock and Metal voice. What I didn’t know was just how positive, friendly and humorous Veronica’s personality really is. I found out for myself, upon our initial introduction, as to how proud and protective Veronica is towards her band’s name. Let me explain…
You see, this middle-aged Metalhead writer suffered either a senior moment or a brain burp. Take your pick. I called Veronica’s band “Benediction” and there was no turning back. Yes, I wanted to make my get-away, right as the last syllable of the incorrect band name leaped from my tongue. Too late for that. Veronica was all over me like a pissed off parochial school nun with a swinging ruler. After several apologies and excuses on my end, we both settled into mutual laughter about it all.
The laughter on my end continued, once Veronica informed me she was wearing her fuzzy slippers while doing this interview I laughed some more. My vision of Veronica Freeman will never be the same. Just kidding. I admire the vocals of Veronica equally as well as the Metal her band Benedictum plays. There was just one promise Veronica wanted me to keep… that was to tell the world I mispronounced her band name. I made good on it. I wouldn’t dare break a promise to Veronica Freeman. Her outgoing and yet playful personality made for a memorable interview. Here is what Veronica had to say:
HRH: Benedictum is carrying on where they left off with “Seasons Of Tragedy”. Do you feel like your on a speeding natural high with the completion of “Dominion”?
VERONICA: I think I’m on that everyday! I’ve done more interviews on this “Dominion” album than the last two albums combined. This album was like giving birth!
HRH: Benedictum blends so many styles together, with Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Thrash and Progressive too. What is the secret to having your band’s sound come across so fluid?
VERONICA: I don’t know, it’s secrets I can’t reveal! There is a lot of input from the other band members on “Dominion”. I’m open to input. If it’s too out of the realm, then I’ll back off. With new band members, we have a different feel too. We just create feel-good and passionate songs. It’s a culmination of influences too. When Pete and I write, we have a groove within our thoughts that just comes out!
HRH: Influences can and do define a vocalist. Are you comfortable knowing you are most likely an influence already to a young generation of girls?
VERONICA: Hey, I never heard that, name one girl!
HRH: Hard Rock and Metal is global and I’m certain you have younger girls looking up to you somewhere, whether it’s America or even out in the Middle East.
VERONICA: Okay, then I would probably be beyond honored if that was the case.
HRH: There are many bands out there, only not as many are fronted by a charismatic and talented female vocalist like yourself.
VERONICA: Thank you! Your absolutely right, there are so many bands out there, some good and some bad. I just hope they (female fans) get empowerment from my voice. I like my stuff to express myself, it’s almost cathartic to me. The lyrical content coming from the frustrated and jaded feelings of my past comes out in my songs. With my lyrics, I also like to express hope, something in which you need to keep going! I do want people to remember me. I’m just grateful! I do know a lot of people have more opportunity and less opportunity than me out there too.
HRH: What advice do you have for aspiring female vocalists of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal?
VERONICA: How about advice for all aspiring vocalists?
VERONICA: I’m all for empowerment, but I’ve always wanted to be stronger and want to bring it! I like to keep a certain standard. It’s a lot more acceptable now to have detractors. I would say don’t rely on the female “thing” and just be a good vocalist. I don’t want to work that angle with the female “thing”. Being a female vocalist in Metal, it’s not that unique or a novelty anymore. You have to make sure you have a mentor and learn how to gravitate and maneuver. Females in particular, be yourself and try not to get pigeonholed into that certain “thing”.
HRH: I admire your attitude and style, Veronica. Still, there are female fronted bands out there that sound carbon copy.
VERONICA: I know what you mean. When I hear certain bands, I’m like, wow, I want to sound angelic like that or growl like that. You can’t be afraid to be the unique creature you are. You must be true to what you are and what you do.
HRH: You do have your vocal uniqueness. You have a male tone about your voice.
VERONICA: I know I can have that real masculine tone, it goes with Metal! It’s therapy for me, to get out my inner angst when I’m singing. I can’t do that opera stuff, it’s just not me.
HRH: You cover Rush on “Dominion” with “Overture/Temples Of Syrnx” in a most admirable way. What more can be said about Rush other than they belong in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
VERONICA: Do you know how long I’ve been singing that song? All my life! It’s like a dream come true to cover this song! I wanted to do justice with it, Rush fans are very protective of their band.
HRH: I’m a lifetime Rush fan.
VERONICA: I’m glad to hear that, it means you’re not mindless! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) Gee, thanks!
VERONICA: Rush influenced me and the way I write. I like those epic kind of songs that take you somewhere, to evoke something from me and gives me energy. It’s sonic stimulation!
HRH: Wow, sonic stimulation, that sounds good!
VERONICA: Doesn’t it? It could be a name for a band.
HRH: Well, it sounds like a Punk band with the word “sonic” it it.
VERONICA: Yeah, maybe. As for Rush in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? That should have happened a long time ago, it’s so obvious! I want to tell that place to get a clue!
HRH: What is the one key element that is missing in today’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal world that existed twenty five years ago?
VERONICA: I was just talking to somebody about this! The key is marketing. There’s no promotion on radio. Classic Rock radio stations has some rotation, but no new stuff is really mixed in to promote new bands. There are no teaser tracks from your favorite band’s new albums anymore, like there was years ago. There’s no avenue of mass promotion anymore. You have to go seek it out now, it’s out there, only you just have to find it!
HRH: If you could interview one Rock ‘n’ Roll legend, past or present, who would it be and why?
VERONICA: I had a chance to meet (the late) Ronnie James Dio. He was my largest influence. His energy was so amazing. It would have been fun to sit down and pick his brain and mindset as he wrote songs. I like knowing what inspired certain people, to find out what that flame is that ignited such incredible music to be written.
VERONICA: It’s been so great for Pete to finally receive some love from the fans and press. I feel he’s done his very best work on this new album. Pete is a lot of fun and a joy to be around. I get along with him so much! So many people never knew about us, now a whole new wave of people are starting to build around following our band. People are really checking out our first two albums.
HRH: How and when did you become friends with Craig Goldy?
VERONICA: I’ve known Craig forever. Way back in the day we became fast friends, we just started to hang out. It’s fun to be friends with someone as dedicated to the guitar as Craig is. We both have a saying, that we always liked to dream out loud together. We’ve always kept in contact no matter what.
HRH: You can ride a motorcycle, have you ever been to Orange County Choppers up in New York State?
VERONICA: No, I have not. I would love to go there though. I have my two web based businesses that are motorcycle related. They both involve selling motor and sport bike accessories. Fans and bike enthusiasts can visit Alienhelmets.com and Streetfightersinc.com. Because of my online bike accessory businesses, I can stay home and wear my fuzzy slippers! (laughs) I’ve got a pair of bear claw slippers too! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) Okay, that sounds like a cool gig!
HRH: Any tour plans or festivals being planned for 2011?
VERONICA: I certainly hope so. I’m waiting for my booking agent. We would love to play the U.S. and love to play Europe.
HRH: If you had an infomercial airing at midnight, to sell “Dominion”, what would your power pitch be for this album?
VERONICA: Wait There’s more! For only nine ninety five, you too could have Classic Rock with a melodic and Progressive Metal twist!
HRH: Well done, Veronica! I’m buying!
Lenny Wolf is a veteran and legend of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. He also is a realist in 2011, one who understands where he has been and what he and his band Kingdom Come have accomplished since their platinum selling, 1988 debut/self titled album. Lenny is not naive about the current state of the record and touring industry either, his remarks are honest and no nonsense when it comes to the current status and future of Kingdom Come.
With “Rendered Waters”, (the thirteenth album overall from Kingdom Come), set for an April 1st, 2011 release in the U.S. on Steamhammer, Lenny’s thoughts are candidly delivered on this new collective of songs that are both “rendered” classics and new. Lenny accepts where he is now, with no regrets of his past. With plenty of good humor mixed into our discussion, Lenny’s outlook is positive, regardless of what changes have taken place within the world of Hard and Heavy Music in the past twenty-plus years.
Lenny Wolf reflects on those colorful and loud 80’s, when in 1988 Kingdom Come shared the stage at the Monsters of Rock with the likes of Metallica, Van Halen, Scorpions and Dokken. He reflects on the manager who made it all happen for his band, making Kingdom Come a household name during those late 80’s. Here is what Lenny Wolf had to say:
HRH: What was your mindset and goals going in to record “Rendered Waters”?
LENNY: There was no particular masterplan. It was just roll the tape, press the button or the mouse. I know what I want and don’t want to do. I knew I didn’t want to just re-record the songs. After twenty two years, I’m entitled to do this and make the songs have the feel of 2011. Things happen, my voice has changed over the years. I did not want to change the structure of the songs, I wanted you to know it’s “that song”. I wanted the guitarist to have a different vibe on these songs too, you know?
HRH: Are you pleased by the early positive response for your new album?
LENNY: I haven’t heard that much yet, I’m talking about the album in interviews right now. With any positive response, I’m thrilled by it!
HRH: What is the meaning behind the album title “Rendered Waters”?
LENNY: It’s a magic, little, God given secret. I can’t tell you man! I was sitting on the toilet and lightning hit my head! Just kidding! (laughs)
LENNY: You have to “render” a particular part of a video, it’s a technical process that needs to be done in order to make it work. Taking these old songs and rendering them is what happened. Taking “water” and combining it with “rendered” makes sense. It’s open to interpretations. It’s like Pink Floyd? What’s that? Not pointing too directly at something makes sense, otherwise it’s boring.
HRH: Is it fair of me to consider “Living Out Of Touch” as a song that is timeless?
LENNY: It’s great for me to hear that! That’s a radical compliment, thank you so much! We took the drums and changed it on a couple of verses. We skipped “Get It On” and told the label we’re not trying to cash in on these songs.
HRH: I think these songs sound much more mature now, than they did then.
LENNY: Really? That’s good to hear that, I want to know what you and other people think of the album.
HRH: Are there any music videos for “Rendered Waters” in the works?
LENNY: We spent millions back then on videos! MTV is only playing top ten and yo’ man crap. If we made a music video, it would never be played on MTV. Let’s just skip this process! Financially it doesn’t make sense, we’re not a top forty band right now. We’re not Metallica either. I have no regrets, who am I to complain? I’ll continue to make my music. Back in the day, making a video was the thing to do and times have changed. It makes more sense to save money for touring.
HRH: How will you decide which songs you’ll play live from “Rendered Waters”?
HRH: How important is it to evolve as a band when it comes to songwriting and sound?
LENNY: It’s always where can I start now? I never try to please the record labels. I always try to sound like myself. For the last two to three years now, I wanted these songs on “Rendered Waters” to see the light of day. Now, I’m trying to do what got me excited all along. The big guitar songs don’t excite me all that much anymore. I always say, you can’t polish a song like “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones! Now, it’s about slowing down some songs and changing some elements as you hear on the new album. I tried the best I can.
HRH: What was the funniest or craziest moment you can recall, from touring back in the 80’s?
LENNY: There’s too many stories with too many circumstances, I don’t want to point out just one. There were times when I thought, oh my God, what did I do? It’s too general to point out specifics, you know? It is what it is. Just to be able to experience touring the States back then was fun! Two months of rocking the States was a career highlight for us. I always think to myself, thank you God for letting us experience it!
HRH: As a guitarist yourself, do you ever ponder making a solo acoustic album?
LENNY: Honestly, I have not given it much thought. Back around ’97 or something, there was talk about releasing an album with versions of uncut songs.
HRH: Are there any tour plans or festivals in the works for 2011?
LENNY: We certainly do want to play live! I would love to play in the U.S.A., all in good time and it has to make sense. It’s not like the good old days though. It’s no secret we’re not a top ten band right now, just waiting for promoters to give us the green light and help us out financially. Our production and tour manager lives in Tennessee and is working with Ted Nugent and Accept, so we want to come to the States.
HRH: That’s cool that your manager has a connection to the U.S. like this.
LENNY: I’m emotionally attached to the U.S.A., my bother Michael Wolf lives in Seattle and works for Microsoft. Touring costs money. When we last toured Russia, it was a financial disaster. Just for planes and food it was fifty thousand dollars! It costs five thousand dollars for a working permit in the States. Even if I had my green card now, I’d still have to apply for a working permit.
HRH: There are a lot of costs that have to be considered, costs that people never realize are involved.
LENNY: I don’t want to bullshit anyone anymore. We could tour and only fifty people would show up! Music is my mission, my calling and I have to do it. I have no expectations and I try not to get disappointed. It is what it is. Seventies and eighties bands are playing small clubs nowadays. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.
HRH: Who has been there the most for you, over your long and successful career?
LENNY: I’ve had quite a few believers supporting me over the years. Marty Wolff, our former manager, I miss the most. He has a wonderful family, with his wife and two kids.
HRH: Are you related to Marty Wolff?
LENNY: No, he spells his last name with two f’s. Besides, he’s Jewish and I’m German! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) That answers my question!
LENNY: I was and always have been a perfectionist and my english was very bad back in the 80’s, Marty was my diplomatic buffer zone. I never thought I’d be playing in Russia back in 1987 and we did thanks to Marty. He has since moved to Hawaii and is out of music. Now Marty is into photography.
HRH: What band was the most fun to tour with over your career?
LENNY: Honestly, I never had a bad experience. I could never say that this or that band was not an extraordinary pleasure. We would meet the bands at the venue and sound checks and then leave. The Monsters of Rock was a big ball for us! The decision by (manager) Marty Wolff, back in ’88, was to play Monsters of Rock in stadiums, in front of bigger crowds. We were asked to open for AC/DC in ’88, I did not want to open for them. It’s like opening for The Rolling Stones, people don’t want to see anything else but the headline band. I wanted to spare myself the embarrassment. The fans would want to hear “Get It On” and then that’s it!
HRH: Monsters of Rock had some legendary bands playing!
LENNY: Metallica and the Scorpions were great to hang out with at the hotel. Van Halen were very reserved and low key on a personal level. Don Dokken I am good friends with to this day. Bon Jovi, Black Sabbath and Tony Iommi were very nice. After Monsters of Rock, I said, never again would I perform on stage at two in the afternoon! Screaming my ass off right after breakfast is not fun. It is what it is.
HAVOK – David Sanchez is a young, confident and yes, cocky vocalist/guitarist for HAVOK. These characteristics of David make me admire him all the more. Oh, to be young and fronting a rapidly rising Thrash Metal band like HAVOK, while bestowing a take charge attitude of failure is not an option, is all stuff of Metal fantasy for this elder Metalhead! I’m jealous. David Sanchez is the kind of interview that allows me to walk away and root for him and his band HAVOK as they take no prisoners while reaching for the sky.
After such an engaging interview with David, I found myself asking the question: what is there not to like about him? After listening to HAVOK’S 2009 debut album “Burn” along with their new Thrash offering “Time Is Up”, I ponder: what is there not to like about this band? At the time of this interview, HAVOK was getting ready to unleash their Thrash Metal attack on the “United Hate Across America Tour” in support of their upcoming sophomore album – “Time Is Up”, releasing on March 29th, 2011 on Candlelight Records. Here is what David Sanchez had to say:
HRH: “Time Is Up” is like opening a can of Thrash Metal whoop ass. How difficult is it to write ten songs that are all equally intense? Or is it not difficult for you?
DAVID: It’s a walk in the park! (laughs) Thanks for the kind words. It’s not easy to write all the songs like this. It does take a long time to hammer out all the details. Honestly, I feel there isn’t one song on “Time Is Up” where you can hit the skip button.
HRH: I won’t disagree there.
DAVID: Halsey Caust. She did our “Burn” album cover and we hired her again. This album cover is pretty awesome! We were super psyched about the way it looks! This is real artwork, it’s not photographs that are all slapped together in photoshop. Halsey put a brush to the canvas and made this album cover the old fashioned way.
HRH: She created this album cover the old school way.
DAVID: Yeah, she did!
HRH: “Scumbag In Disguise” rips and tears! Is this song about anyone you personally had to deal with or is it an all-encompassing tribute to scumbags?
DAVID: This song was inspired particularly by one person, yet it relates to a lot of people. It’s a song about people that talk shit on the internet about you, then, when you see them in person they’re nice to your face. They’re scumbags in disguise!
HRH: Are you guys pumped up for the “United Hate Across America Tour”? Your touring with some intense bands.
DAVID: Hell yeah! That”s gonna be awesome.
HRH: Describe the feeling that you and the band had, when Candlelight Records came knocking on your Thrash Metal door?
DAVID: It was incredibly exciting! We’re a band from Colorado, where bands don’t get signed from too often. This solidified the validation for the band. When a label like Candlelight wants to sign your band, you’re obviously doing something right! We always kept true to our sound and stood out from the crowd.
HRH: Colorado Thrash Metal. Is it the high altitude and air quality that makes Havok play such kick ass and refreshing Thrash?
DAVID: (laughs) No, I don’t think it’s that. We’re young and have something to prove, this drives me to do my very best. Eventually Megadeth, Slayer and the older bands have to all retire. These guys are all in their fifties now. Eventually, these bands that people look up to won’t exist anymore. I want Havok to be the next Slayer or Megadeth. I want to wipe the floor with everyone else and say we are the band!
HRH: I guess that’s the way you have to think.
DAVID: It’s a competitive business and I have to have this attitude to succeed and make Havok rise to the top.
HRH: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be number one.
DAVID: I like to mention with Colorado not having many bands from here, usually the bands are from L.A., San Francisco, New York or Austin, all the music cities. Denver is not a music city and we’re trying to change that!
HRH: How did Havok arrive at their old school or traditional, if you will, Thrash Metal sound?
DAVID: We wanted to make Heavy Metal that’s really tight, riff heavy and fast. When we first started out, nobody else was doing Metal with cool riffs, double bass and fast drums. Now, it’s the cool thing to do. We get lumped in with other bands being labeled trendy, that it’s the thing to do. We were playing this type of Metal well before a lot of these other bands were. That Thrash revival label doesn’t make much sense to me. There are a handful of bands today where fifteen years from now, will still be around and we’re one of them.
DAVID: Yeah! I just don’t understand though, why people won’t listen to Thrash because they were born in 1988 instead of 1965.
HRH: Hey, I was born in 1966 and I love Thrash Metal!
DAVID: See that! That’s what I mean!
HRH: Besides Havok, what Thrash band is the greatest ever and why?
DAVID: Aw, man, the greatest ever and why? There will always be a place in my heart for Metallica. Their first four albums are untouchable! Those albums can’t be beat! James Hetfield and his rhythm guitar is extremely tight on those albums. That intro on “Master Of Puppets” is so locked in, it sounds like one guitar take and it’s really four. Metallica is a legendary Thrash Metal band. This is the band that got me into music in the first place.
HRH: You obviously have Thrash Metal influences. What music influence be it a band, musician or genre do you have that would probably shock your fans?
DAVID: There are some parts on “Time Is Up” that are directly inspired by Boston, Rush and Kansas. If you sit and listen intently to this record, you might pick out their influences. It’s amazing, the song structures and ideas that Classic Rock had back in the day! You just can’t beat what Classic Rock accomplished back in the seventies and early eighties. There would be a weird bridge or odd time signatures in songs back then and bands would play the exact same thing on every instrument!
HRH: What moment in your life triggered you to take music seriously?
DAVID: It’s when I started playing guitar and taking lessons. Two to three months of being okay at guitar, I said alright, I can actually do this! One and a half years later I started a band called Havok and writing songs. I punched the accelerator and took off from there!
HRH: Wow David, it all came together fast!
DAVID: Yeah! I have too many ideas, way too much going on in my head for anyone to tell me what to write! I’m glad everything is happening on our terms and nobody has us answering to them. We’re not making any crappy butt Rock songs! I wouldn’t be happy if anyone told me to make it more commercial. I think I would give them the middle finger and I would walk out. If you’re not making music that’s making you happy, you shouldn’t be making music.
HRH: Who will be the “Big Four” from your generation?
DAVID: I get asked that question all the time! I don’t think there will be a big four, that’s too small a number. A big handful, we’ll see. You just can’t narrow it down to four. I have a bunch of bands I listen to, the one’s that really stand out for me are Skeletonwitch, Municipal Waste, Warbringer, Evile and Revocation.
HRH: Those are some heavy duty Thrash bands, David.
DAVID: Those bands have a pretty strong backing now, I don’t see them stopping anytime soon. These are the bands I see still around in fifteen years or more. Now, that isn’t in no way my trying to undercut other bands I listen to though.
HRH: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
DAVID: I’d like to tell everyone to go pick up our album “Time Is Up” on March 29th! Anybody who plays will love the heavy bass, the riffs and double bass drums! For every album you guys buy, I’ll be able to go to my local Taco Bell and buy half of a burrito! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) That’s why touring is so key.
DAVID: Yeah, even with touring, we’re still not rich! (laughs)
MARK TREMONTI is a founding member and lead guitarist of both Creed and Alter Bridge. To be a part of two successful Rock bands that are embraced by fans worldwide is an accomplishment that most of us nine to fivers can only dream about. Mark Tremonti is certainly living this Rock ‘n’ Roll dream and he has done so throughout his career with the upmost dedication to his music and bands, with more than a touch of class. The songs Mark has written have become benchmarks for generations of aspiring Rock musicians, while the guitar he plays resonates his very own sound and style that is Creed and Alter Bridge.
With the release of AB III back on November 9th, 2010, the critics and fans have spoken with unparalleled approval. Achieving their first number one single with “Isolation”, AB III has been widely accepted as a tremendous album of Hard Rock from a group of musicians that have more than paid their dues. January 11th, 2011 saw the release of the highly anticipated: Alter Bridge “Live From Amsterdam” CD/DVD. With so many great things happening in the world of Alter Bridge, the timing could never be more perfect to interview Mark Tremonti. During his extremely busy schedule, Mark took the time to answer some questions that Hard Rock Hideout threw at him. Here is what Mark had to say:
HRH: Congratulations on your bands first #1 single! (Isolation had hit #1 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the U.S.). How Satisfying does this feel?
MARK: Oh, it’s great! We’ve been working long and hard over these years. It’s hard to get a number one single. We’ve had a couple of number two singles in the past, so getting our first number one is really fun!
HRH: Who have you turned to throughout your career, for the most advice and support?
MARK: I would say my bandmates and managers. They are the only ones who know what we’re really going through. The guys I “look up to” I only speak with for a couple of hours now and again.
HRH: When you began writing songs for AB III, were there any pre-determined themes you wanted to cover or did the lyrical and writing process fall into place naturally?
MARK: It went the same way as our other records. Myles (Kennedy) and I always go back and forth with each other. It’s just like putting together pieces of a puzzle. We like to keep our songs open-ended while we both share in the process. This time around, with AB III, we wrote a darker and heavier record. I just did not want to consider radio or record sales this time around, with our new record. I just knew this time not to “play it safe”, it just hinders the entire writing process.
HRH: Did you ever perceive “Wonderful Life” (from AB III) to sound so moving once it was recorded?
MARK: That song really translated really well on record. When I heard Myles singing that tune on tour, I said I have to remember this song for our new record! I think this song is a shining moment vocally for Myles.
HRH: I’ll agree with you!
HRH: Was “Slip To The Void” (from AB III) written about anyone the band knows personally?
MARK: Myles has had his troubles, losing faith in recent years and not believing in the material world, so this was what Myles was going through personally.
HRH: Can you reveal the secret to Myles taking care of his amazing voice?
MARK: There’s no secret. Myles works hard and he has studied in L.A. with Ron Anderson. Myles warms up one and a half hours before a show and warms down afterwards. He doesn’t smoke or eat any foods high in sugar. Myles is very conscientious in taking care of himself.
HRH Note: Ron Anderson is a renowned vocal coach.
HRH: Being that Alter Bridge played their very first live show in Amsterdam, was there a special vibe you guys received from the fans there, while you recorded “Live From Amsterdam”?
MARK: Oh yeah! They were a great crowd! We’d do anything and the fans in Amsterdam would be all over it! I’m really glad we chose Amsterdam to record our live record.
HRH: Do you stockpile guitar parts you’ve written for future albums or do you take it as it comes?
MARK: No, I stockpile lots of stuff all the time. If I’m bored, I go through my guitar parts for new ideas. I label them for the part that it is, say, bridge, lead, solo, with 4/4 timing and so on. The sad truth is, most of my material, about seventy percent of it, I’ll never use.
HRH: Wow, Mark, that is a lot of parts that will never be heard.
MARK: That’s why I’m doing a solo record. I’m trying not to waste anything I’ve written over the years.
HRH: What does the schedule look like for your solo record?
MARK: I’ve revisited it in February and it will take a couple of years to finish. It will take downtime off touring to get the work done on this solo album. Then, family does keep me busy during downtime!
HRH: Brace yourself Mark, this is an important question coming. Do you watch American Idol?
MARK: I don’t. My wife is watching it though. After all these years, I’ve kind of lost track of it all. The first four seasons were good and it was advertised all over the place.
HRH: If you could travel back to the 70’s, what band would you want to try out for on guitar?
MARK: Oh gee, that’s a tough one. Maybe as a rhythm guitarist for Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath too. Those are two great bands, you can’t get any better than that!
HRH: Do you have a message to share to your fans?
MARK: I really want to thank them for their support over the years.
For more information on Mark Tremonti & Alter Bridge, check out the Alter Bridge website at this link!
Hard Rock Hideout’s Stone - Picking the “top ten list” of anything in life is not that easy. Choosing my Top Ten Albums Of 2010 proved to be more daunting than I had initially expected, with there being multiple dozens of excellent albums released this past year, spanning across each sub-genre of Metal, not to mention Hard Rock and Rock as well. I decided this year, to pick out only those ten albums that I can honestly say moved me… as a complete album of songs. I have neverlimited my ears, mind and soul to just Metal, anyone who knows me, understands this. Therefore, finding an album in my “top ten” that is not full-throttle, pedal to the Metal, shouldn’t come across as scandalous.
An album that makes my “top ten” list will move me emotionally, sending signals to my senses that either A: psyches-me-out of my Metal mind or B: makes me feel as though I’ve found a long lost friend, a friend I’ll now have for the rest of my Metal life. Of course quality musicianship, songwriting and overall production comes into play… only those three attributes will fall into place when an album is truly special to me.
Maybe you’ll enjoy, become slightly amused and or confused by my Top Ten Albums Of 2010. Either way, my intent is to showcase and appluad these albums and the bands that created them. Hopefully I peak your interest to buy an album or two from this list. These are the albums that will stand the test of my Metal time on Earth.
KATAKLYSM epitomizes the marriage of melodic and heavy… and succeeds so brilliantly in a Death Metal genre, a genre that has profoundly matured into mandatory importance in my Metal history book, many full moons ago. I’ll say this time and again, when Maurizio Iacono sings, I listen. Jean-Francois Dagenais on guitar is not just impressive, his playing is beyond that. If Death Metal needed “that band” to bridge the gap between the meat & potatoes and the progressive, then KATAKLYSM is that band. “Heaven’s Venom” is more than just another excellent Melodic Death Metal album, it is a collective “sound” and “vibe” that makes me realize that maybe “extreme” should be replaced with “pristine” when describing these ten songs.
On December 2, 2010, I posted a review on Heaven’s Venom, giving more Metal details as to why KATAKLYSM is sitting atop my tier of Metal legendary bands. Clicking the link above will take you there!
The “Classic” Krokus lineup returned in 2010 to bring their Hard Rockin’ brand back… to kick our asses! Metal be thy name, Krokus DID kick my ass with “Hoodoo” and all I can say is: “thank you sirs, may I have more?” A (gasp) fun album is “Hoodoo”, that gives a wink and a smile to the gloriously loud and colorful 80’s decade of Arena Rock and good times thrills. If the songs “Too Hot” and “Hoodoo Woman” doesn’t get your Hard Rock adrenaline flowing, then maybe you should consider living as a hermit in the forests of Maine.
On April 27, 2010, I reviewed Hoodoo and did not hold back my Hard Rockin’ affection for this timeless Hard Rockin’ band. Click on the link above to see it!
Jon Oliva is a man of music. He proves this on “Festival”, by connecting the Rock ‘N’ Roll dots, Jon Oliva has his Classic Rock influences of the Beatles and The Electric Light Orchestra coexisting with the Savatage blood that flows through his ultra-talented veins. Is “Festival” a Heavy Metal album? On the surface it is… only once you really listen to this album a few dozen times, you might very well agree with me that “Festival” is a celebration of Jon Oliva’s musical career. The dark themes and nightmarish lyrics behold a realism that I find stunning, making me hope and pray that Jon Oliva and his band will create a “Festival”… part 2.
On April 15, 2010, my review for “Festival” was posted on Hard Rock Hideout. Click on the link above to read all about it!
What Greg Hampton (founding member, lead guitarist & vocalist) created with his band The New Czars, is one of the finest blends of Rock Music styles my ears have heard in years. “Doomsday Revolution” takes a Modern Hard Rock lead, with Industrial and Funk experimentation weaved within it’s lustrous interior. Greg Hampton might very well be the “missing link” within a generation of Rock vocal legends such as Glenn Hughes, Ian Gillan, David Coverdale and yes… Robert Plant. If that sounds too good to be true, then get yourself a copy of “Doomsday Revolution” and thank Stone for serving you right.
Back on September 8, 2010, I posted a detailed album review for Doomsday Revolution. You can click the link above if you want to read all about it!
“Nightmare” is the fifth studio album from A7X and very well should be anointed as their very best. Powerful, angry and raging is “God Hates Us”, while the album opener “Nightmare” speeds on with it’s relentless up-tempo that makes me feel like I belong in the pit, carrying on like a psyched-out Metalhead from 1989. Seriously, what A7X has accomplished with “Nightmare” is nothing short of a Metal miracle, with having to cope with the loss of Jimmy “The Reverend” Sullivan. I won’t hold back calling this “Nightmare” album the “Back In Black” or “Black Album” of A7X’s catalog.
On November 9, 2010, my review for “Nightmare” was posted on Hard Rock Hideout. Check it out by clicking the link below!
What’s this? A Hard Rock three piece? A Modern Hard Rock three piece? Can these guys play? Who invited them to the party? Stone will tell you right now… KOPEK is a three piece, they are a Hard Rock band and they bought the copyright for the word relevance. By the way, KOPEK will be invited to the party and they are bringing with them a case of Hard Rock whoop ass that will have you begging “them” for more. Guitarist and vocalist Daniel Jordan brings that “it” factor to the Hard Rock table, “it” being his charisma that resonates from each and every song I hear on “White Collar Lies”. Drummer Shane Cooney and bassist Brad Kinsella round out this Hard Rockin’ trio from Dublin, Ireland, making them a band I recommend to every breathing human being on Earth.
On June 28, 2010, I presented to the world, an album review for White Collar Lies. If you want to know more about this KOPEK album that you should really buy, then click the link above… it will serve you right!
This new DANZIG album could have easily been titled: “How Glenn Danzig Got His Groove Back”. “Deth Red Sabaoth” is a return to dark form for Glenn, with each song carrying it’s worthy weight of thump and stump heaviness. Dare I say once again… Old School? These flashbacks to the Heavy Metal glory years never hurt any band and DANZIG churns out the songs that I want to hear on a long, lost, dark nights cruise through the remote countryside. “Black Candy”, Deth Red Moon” and “Ju Ju Bone” are the three songs that stand-out among, well, 11 stand-out songs. Each time I listen to “Deth Red Sabaoth” I realize wholly, that Glenn Danzig is back… and that makes Stone feel very Metal comfy.
On July 22, 2010, my review for “Deth Red Sabaoth” was posted on Hard Rock Hideout. Check it out for yourself by clicking the link above!
An Udo-less Accept is hard to “accept”… unless you listen to “Blood Of The Nations”. Mark Tornillo made me a believer from the first note he bellows on “Beat The Bastards”, while not being an Udo clone, Mark just accomplished what always came natural to him… that’s to sing like an Old School Metal warrior! With a near perfect version of the original Accept lineup grinding out 14 songs, at the culmination of my first listen to this album I wanted MORE! This is an Accept album that solidifies this band’s Heavy Metal importance and existence of both past and present. “Blood Of The Nations” also reminds all of us aging Metalheads, that Old School Heavy Metal dreams really do come true.
On September 14, 2010, I posted a very psyched-out review for this Blood Of The Nations album. Check it out if you like, by clicking the link above!
#2 (Tie) EXODUS – EXHIBIT B: THE HUMAN CONDITION
Why have I made it a “tie” between EXODUS – Exhibit B: The Human Condition and OVERKILL -Ironbound? The answer is simple… Thrash Metal albums, from these two ultra-legends, sounding this damn outstanding, has fortunately collided with an uncanny equality. Choosing between these two albums as which is best, is liking choosing between two iced mugs of Blue Moon Ale. Pick ‘em. Founding members Gary Holt (guitar) and Tom Hunting (drums) are the Metal backbone to Exodus being not just pioneers of Thrash Metal, Exodus is one of this genre’s true leaders in 2010. This album is as brutal as any that Exodus has released… and these guys sound tighter than ever!
#2 (Tie) OVERKILL - IRONBOUND
As with Exodus, Overkill are pioneers of the Thrash Metal movement that has seen a resurgence of popularity that reminds me of the 80’s. “Ironbound” is full-blown and in-your-face Thrash Metal that glistens with Old School hunger and never relents with it’s crushing and force driven songs. Founding members Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (vocals) and D.D. Verni (bass) are living proof that they can create and play Thrash Metal for 30 years and counting, with different lineups, while never losing a touch of relevance. After three decades of albums, Overkill quite possibly made their verybest with “Ironbound.”
On March 8, 2010, I reviewed “Ironbound” on Hard Rock Hideout. Click the header link above read the complete details!
#1 SCORPIONS – STING IN THE TAIL
“Sting In The Tail” radiates every quality that I yearn for in choosing a #1 album: heaviness, hardness, melodic, memorable, emotional and Old School… all wrapped up into one celebratory goodbye after spanning nearly five decades of existence. This album dominated my Metal soul like none other in 2010, even the ballads “The Good Die Young” and “The Best Is Yet To Come” made an instant impact on me… and I never wave the flag for ballads that often. Klaus Meine sounds as incredible as ever on vocals, while this entire band plays with the fire of twenty year olds. “Sting In The Tail” was not a return to the glory days of 80’s Heavy Metal, instead, this album showcases just how electrifying the Scorpions still are after so many decades. The Scorpions go out proving to me, they never lost their edge. There will never be another band like the Scorpions.
Back on April 3, 2010, I posted a detailed album review on Sting In The Tail. Click the large header below, to read about how much I really dig this Scorpions album!
LONG LIVE METAL.
THANK YOU SCORPIONS.
LONG LIVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.
GEOFF TATE - When you delve your eardrums back into the eighties decade, midway through the nineties, Heavy Metal had it’s fair share of flamboyant front men. What set any front man from the pack then, as it does to this very moment, are the vocals. Smoke and mirrors will only take you so far in the vast world of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. Geoff Tate has never tricked anyone with his vocals, instead he has left a generation or two in pure awe from his falsetto and vocal range. Of course, there is the entire Queensryche band behind Geoff Tate, a band which has distinguished themselves as innovators within the progressive realm of Heavy Music for three decades strong.
Whenever names of the greatest singers of the Heavy Metal era come up through conversations I have, with my peers or other musicians, Geoff Tate is at the top of the list. While interviewing Geoff, I realized he is focused on the present and not the past. Geoff is not only extremely polite, he is one to pause before answering a question, putting precise care into how he chooses his words. Geoff talks about the thirtieth anniversary of Queensryche, the twentieth anniversary of their “Empire” album, his thoughts about Grunge and his committed patriotism towards the U.S. Armed Forces. Here is what Geoff Tate had to say.
HRH: Queensryche are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of “Empire”. After two decades, what is it, that stands out the most about “Empire” for you?
GEOFF TATE: We never look back as a band. I never really listened to it again, maybe for reference purposes. It’s what we’re doing at the moment that I listen to. For the re-release, we found stuff sitting around in the closet to put on the record. “Empire” happened at a really good time in history, right after the “Mindcrime Tour”. “Empire” reflects us being home from a writing standpoint, how we felt towards relationships and the environments around us. I really like the record. It was a special time in Rock history, Rock music was everywhere, on MTV and radio. Now, Rock seems to be underground.
HRH: “Silent Lucidity” illuminates that “it” factor. This song became huge of course. How were you able to make “Silent Lucidity” coexist amongst the other songs on “Empire” so well?
GEOFF TATE: It was written like all our songs, as acoustic and voice. Our musical character went into it, there’s Classical and all different styles of music that makes up our signature sound. This song was written with the mentality of Queensryche in mind, usually a group has chemistry and Queensryche has always had that chemistry. The chord sequences and frequency patterns will emerge from a song, then you know it’s Queensryche, then you can identify the song to our band.
HRH: How is the next Queensryche album coming along?
GEOFF TATE: It’s coming along really good, we worked on it for the whole day today. We’re looking at a release for Spring of 2011, that’s our goal. We’re in the final stages of the album now, we need to do drum tracks on a few songs. After Thanksgiving we’ll get right back to it.
HRH: What young gun band or vocalist out there today, impresses you the most?
GEOFF TATE: Well, you know, being the age I am, the younger and newer bands just don’t speak to me artistically. Being an older guy, I’ve been through a lot. I’m pretty busy listening to the music that’s in my head.
HRH: The exemplary and patriotic “American Solider” album resonates your pride and respect for our U.S. Armed Forces. Would you ever consider a sequel to “American Soldier”?
GEOFF TATE: I could write a lot of albums based on that subject! I listened to so many wonderful stories and they were all amazing stories. So yes, I could write several albums on that subject.
HRH: Have you ever pondered making a documentary on “American Soldier”?
GEOFF TATE: On our Iraq and Kuwait trips, there was a lot of footage shot and I’m very pleased with how it came out. We did two weeks of shows for our troops over there in Iraq and Kuwait. It was inspirational and a great honor to play for our troops live.
HRH: It’s been reported that you will be performing along with Y&T and other Rock greats, at a New Years Eve benefit concert for Phil Kennemore. How far back do you go with Phil Kennemore?
GEOFF TATE: Let’s see, our first tour with Y&T goes back to the mid 80’s, around 1984 or something like that. I’m good friends with Mike Meniketti as well, my wife is friends with his wife too.
HARD ROCK HIDEOUT NOTE: Phil Kennemore has been the longtime bass guitarist for Y&T. Dave Meniketti is a founding member, vocalist and lead guitarist for Y&T. Phil Kennemore is currently and bravely battling metastatic cancer. This benefit concert for Phil Kennemore will take place on New Years Eve at The Avalon in Santa Clara, California.
HRH: The progressive style of Queensryche is what sets your band apart from ever being pigeonholed as just Heavy Metal. Do you agree that “Operation Mindcrime” set the standard for other Progressive Metal bands to follow?
GEOFF TATE: Well, I think it was a pivotal record for us. “Operation Mindcrime” broke new ground for us and other bands as well. That album was very inspirational to us and other bands. As musicians, we are inspired by other musicians, it affects the way we play.
HRH: What’s your most proud vocal performance, live and/or in studio?
GEOFF TATE: Probably what I’m working on now! This next Queensryche album is a personal journey. In terms of best or worst, it’s all about just getting the song out. We try to paint the best picture with the subject matter as musicians. We’re always experimenting musically. With me, it could be phrasing a song or experimenting with melody, experimenting with chord arrangements, playing around with different patterns and making it work.
HRH: Is there another solo album in the future for you?
GEOFF TATE: Yeah, I’ve been working on one. I have so many songs written, only I’ve been busy with Queensryche the last several years. Probably in the next couple of years I’ll have a new solo album out.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Chris DeGarmo?
GEOFF TATE: Yeah, probably once every couple of months we have lunch together. We definitely stay in touch.
HARD ROCK HIDEOUT NOTE: Chris DeGarmo was a founding member for Queensryche. Chris was their lead and rhythm guitarist, as well as being a songwriter for the band. Back in 1997, Chris officially left Queensryche. In 2003, Chris did record on the Queensryche album “Tribe” and wrote and recorded on the song “Justified” for the 2007 Queensryche greatest hits album “Sign Of The Times”.
HRH: Having strong roots in Seattle, Washington, did you embrace Grunge, tolerate it or it never mattered?
GEOFF TATE: The term “Grunge” is not something the bands that get lumped into are very comfy with. They were and still are Rock bands to me. They were all right behind us. Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, they all played gigs with us, they all opened for us and I know these guys well. I’m very good friends with Mike McCready and Jerry Cantrell.
HRH: Growing up as a young singer, musician and songwriter, how much were you influenced by Ronnie James Dio?
GEOFF TATE: Quite a bit in a lot of ways. Ronnie was a mentor for me and the band. Our first tour to Europe was with DIO. Ronnie showed us what to do and what not to do. Ronnie was a true gentleman, a great man and very kind. He always explained things to us. Ronnie had open ears and would listen to what you had to say. I definitely miss him very much.
HRH: When you released the first Queensryche EP, back in 1983, did you envision your band to reach such legendary status?
GEOFF TATE: No. I never really think about that. I always thought of the present day and still do. Queensryche’s Thirtieth Anniversary is coming up, with a big tour to follow in the Spring and Summer of 2011. It’s been thirty years already, it’s very sobering!
BIG DAD RITCH – Since the Texas Hippie Coalition released their sophomore album, “Rollin'”, (Carved Records), on July 6, 2010, this Hard Rockin’ meets Heavy Metalin’ band has been tearing up every venue they play at and attracting new fans by the second. This is a band built on American and Southern pride, fronted by a large man, with a large voice that can’t mask the fact he also has a large heart for his community, kids and U.S. troops abroad. Big Dad Ritch is his name and bellowing out songs that can make cement foundations split apart… is his Rockin’ game.
Hard Rock Hideout had the Rockin’ pleasure to speak with Big Dad Ritch recently and he was never lacking any Texas hospitality or pride. Touring, patriotism, politics, influences, charity and of course, the new Texas Hippie Coalition album were all covered, in a very candid and Texas big way, by Big Dad Ritch. When it was all said and done, this writer walked away knowing he spoke to one of the biggest gentleman he has ever interviewed. Contrary to an old fashioned line which is used much too often, however, sometimes big things do come in big packages. Here is what Big Dad Ritch had to say:
HRH: Texas Hippie Coalition has a full slate of touring ahead, any tales about life on the road you want to share?
BIG DAD RITCH: Naw, that’s all a big secret. I have a wife, a girlfriend and an ol’ lady! (laughs)
BIG DAD RITCH: That’s how we say it down here in Texas, ol’ lady! (laughs)
HRH: Did you and the guys ever think “Rollin'” would have such an immediate impact like it did?
BIG DAD RITCH: We felt strong about this album from the start. From beginning to end, it’s a very strong album. Two months were spent on drums, twenty days spent on bass, one month spent on guitar and just twelve hours were spent on vocals!
HRH: Whoa, you spent just twelve hours on vocals for this album?
BIG DAD RITCH: That’s right, twelve hours! I did vocals for six or seven songs in eight hours and the other four or so in four hours. Everyone wondered what our producer, David Prater, would do. As it came out, it’s a masterpiece! People always said, when you’re working with him, he is a juggler and just let him do his thing. Well, he’s actually a magician after it was all said and done! Listening to this album now, he was a magician.
HRH: Are there any Summer festivals you’ll be playing in 2011?
BIG DAD RITCH: Man, we’re trying for Rocklahoma, playing for those people was the greatest experience of my life. Texas Hippie Coalition got their break at Rocklahoma. Being there, it’s like being packed into a tent on a Sunday afternoon with the bible! Rocklahoma was a religious experience for me! We’d also like to get back to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
HRH: “Rollin'” has an enormously bold and loud made in America sound and vibe to it. Have you or will you play overseas for our U.S. troops?
BIG DAD RITCH: As a matter of fact, our management are trying to get us on the USO package for next year! We’re just building on our name and recognition right now, but we’re chomping on the bits to go there and play for our troops. We’re proud to be from Texas! Our colors are red, white and blue and at home nationwide! Texas Hippie Coalition has a “boot campaign” for our troops, check it out, it’s on our website.
HRH: That’s really cool, Big Dad Ritch.
BIG DAD RITCH: I received a letter from a girl that’s serving in the military. She wrote, that every morning when they wake up, the troops hear sirens. The sirens are practice for being ready to battle. So, she had the speakers rewired to blast out the our song “Crawlin'”, from our first album! She wrote it was blasting as loud as hell! That’s awesome stuff to hear. We’re all spreading our wings for the red, white and blue. Everything about this band is red, white and blue. That’s what Texas Hippie Coalition wants to be known for too, as an American band that’s proud of their country and troops.
HRH: I’ve never been a huge fan of ballads, yet if “Groupie Girl” is your answer to one, that is a damn cool ballad. How have the fans responded to this song live?
BIG DAD RITCH: We have a pretty big canvas we’re painting on, with a broad stroke. Man, that song, when this song Rocks, it makes the fans go wild! I had put this song on the back burner and didn’t know how Metal fans would like it. We were playing a club in Texas one night, we just started clowning around playing “Groupie Girl” during our sound check. All the tough bastards liked it! Then, when we played that night, we didn’t play “Groupie Girl”, all the tough bastards and biker dudes wanted it! (laughs)
BIG DAD RITCH: It went over great though when we played it. Everyone seems to love it, girls always seem to find that big pole to dance around when we play “Groupie Girl” though! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) I’m sure they do, Big Dad Ritch!
BIG DAD RITCH: Aw, yeah!
HRH: Texas Hippie Coalition blends Hard Rock, Southern Rock and Metal to perfection. Was this blending of music styles deliberate or just the way it happened?
BIG DAD RITCH: Actually, I’ve been in a lot of bands and it was always someone else’s band. When I was forming Texas Hippie Coalition, I told the guys, this is what I’m doing, I want to be as southern as 38 Special, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd and have the Metal rawness of Pantera and Corrosion Of Conformity, while still being outlaws like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Absolutely, it was deliberate to blend all those styles together.
HRH: I’ve read how Johnny Cash influenced you at a young age. How important is your connecting to the fans while performing live?
BIG DAD RITCH: Oh man, I want to personify the front man, not just by singing the songs. Texas Hippie Coalition is a band of brothers and I want the fans to perceive us as like pro wrestlers or super heroes. In between songs, what I say is very important, I want to affect and touch people with my words. I know my audience and fans. I know what my fans are looking for in a front man and I want to lead our fans into battle and come out with a victory!
BIG DAD RITCH: It means a lot to us. Just like our song “Jesus Freak” says and comes across, you can never tell by looking at a man as to how religious he is. I’m the guy that wants to go down by the river, with a beer and whiskey bottle in my hands, smokin’ something on the grill, yet we have prayer before we hit the stage before every show. We’ve given a hundred guitars to children, through the “Little Kids Rock” charity. We’ve given an entire school music supplies. We believe in giving back to the community so that youngins’ can learn and hear about good music. Through giving, these youngins’ may be the next little Ozzy or Eddie Van Halen when they grow up.
HRH: What’s your favorite Southern pastime that is not Rock And Roll related?
BIG DAD RITCH: Football! I’m a sports addict and football is the only sport I bet on! My bookie hates me, I’m undefeated on nighttime football! I live in Northern Texas and Texas is my favorite team. I drive all of my friends crazy with my Longhorns!
HRH: I feel so strange asking this next question, cause you are such a nice guy to talk to, Big Dad Ritch.
BIG DAD RITCH: Go ahead, fire away!
HRH: What really pisses off Big Dad Ritch?
BIG DAD RITCH: Bitches that don’t pay the bills when you leave them the bill money! (laughs)
BIG DAD RITCH: What pisses me off are government bailouts of the filthy rich and not the poor or middle class. Tax cuts for the upper class and upper middle class, with no tax cuts for the lower class. So much in politics pisses me off!
BIG DAD RITCH: Right? The guy I voted for president six years ago did a good job and delivered. Our new president we have now I voted for and he is not delivering what he said he would deliver to me. Our current government this time around pisses me off. Out in California, marijuana not being legalized. The people are not out there in California pushing their ticket to get marijuana legalized. I just want to tell all these politicians, if you guys just did what you said you were gonna do, you all wouldn’t have been voted out of office!
HRH: What dream band or musician would Texas Hippie Coalition want to jam onstage with?
BIG DAD RITCH: Man, you know, it’s like that old question, if you could have a quarterback who would you have? For my two minute drill it’s Roger Staubach. For my Super Bowl it’s John Elway. For my full season it’s Joe Montana. There’s different ways to look at it. We are the biggest party band out there of this era! We are drinking with our fans at the bars! To play with Motley Crue, with all the girls at that show, it would be ridiculous! If we paired up with Hellyeah and Black Label Society, we could do some major damage together!
Marcie Free – After interviewing Marcie Free, I could only walk away feeling I’ve spoken to one of the nicest and most sincere person from the Rock Music world. Formerly Mark Free, Marcie Free has a newfound lease on life, with her voice sounding as vibrant, harmonious and memorable as ever. Just one listen to the new Unruly Child album, “Worlds Collide”, will support my claim as to Marcie’s vocals being amongst the best in the business. Released back in November of 2010, Marcie and her band have truly created an album of songs that transcends decades of AOR and Melodic Rock goodness.
Marcie Free speaks about “Worlds Collide” and their new music video for “Very First Time”, along with memories of fronting King Kobra and dastardly villains of the music industry’s past. She also touches on living through earthquakes and crazed fans in Mexico. To say Marcie Free is a survivor is an understatement from this writer, Marcie Free exemplifies what it means to be your own person and carry on through life, regardless of what obstacles may deter you. Marcie Free has indeed seen it all and I can only applaud her contentment with life and the music she has created with Unruly Child. Here is what Marcie had to say:
HRH: Hey Marcie, I’m a huge fan of this new Unruly Child album!
Marcie: I’m a fan of it too! The first time I really heard it was on my home stereo. It’s just so great sonically, this album echos really good spaciously, almost three dimensional. The Beatles are responsible for everything we’re doing right now!
HRH: I won’t disagree with you there. That was and still is some band.
Marcie: I remember the whole Ed Sullivan Show appearance and everyone talking about their hair. I went and had my hair cut like the Beatles and all the girls at school were saying, what did you do to your hair! (laughs)
HRH: How much fun did you have recording “Worlds Collide”? I get a vibe from the songs that there was some fun involved.
Marcie: We’re not crazy, we’re serious about what we do as a band. I’m in Ypsilanti, Michigan and the other guys are in L.A., so video phones and skype allowed me to do my vocals in my studio, here in Michigan. Bruce (guitarist Bruce Gowdy) and I built a good studio here together. He taught me how to run my studio, so I could do engineering and vocals at the same time.
HRH: That’s very cool, Marcie.
Marcie: We wrote and recorded World’s Collide in four months. These songs are a gift from God, they just pour out of me!
HRH: Will Unruly Child be touring or playing any dates to support “Worlds Collide”?
Marcie: Absolutely, we’re all committed. I was just talking on the phone with Bruce last night about it. No Nonsense Bookings in Europe handles all the Frontiers Records acts. We’ll wait after the record is out two months, then look over our budget and everything, lay it all out on the table. Jay (drummer Jay Schellen) has commitments with Asia and Larry (bass guitarist Larry Antonio) has the same with Pablo Cruise, so we have to work around that. We’d like to tour in the Summer, write in the Fall and record during the Winter. We’re that serious about it. I never expected all of this, I just go with God and let him take control of the reigns please!
HRH: Are U.S. tour dates in the mix?
Marcie: Europe is where we’re focused right now, for our kind of music is played more over there and popular. There is nobody telling the radio stations what to play anymore in the U.S., it’s just like dogs chasing their own tails with the radio stations in the U.S.!
HRH: I always say, when it comes to the media and Hard Rock or Heavy Metal, Europe gets it!
HRH: “Very First Time” is a standout song on “Worlds Collide” for it’s positive lyrics and energy. What’s the inspiration behind this fabulous song?
Marcie: Well, Bruce and Guy (keyboardist Guy Allison) wrote that one. You know, this song is about what transcends love, gender, age, sex and race… it equals pure love. Being in love for the first time, having an infatuation with life and getting high on everything when we’re together. Guy was inspired on this organ – ‘lighter shade of pale” sort of thing. (laughs)
Marcie: I was surprised we lead with this song, it really surprised us, the record company pulled it out at the last minute. We went from “When We Were Young” to “When Worlds Collide” to “Very First Time”.
HRH: The music video for “Very First Time” is excellent.
Marcie: Thank you. It only cost us five thousand dollars to make it! We did not have a huge budget, so we made use of available natural light, up in a loft, inside a L.A. warehouse. All that natural light came through the windows, it looks like heaven! Devin DeHaven was our director. He has worked with and directed Eminem and Y&T videos as well.
HRH: Check out the “Very First Time” video here!
HRH: “You Don’t Understand” has some progressive keys happening, at the onset and towards this song’s climax. Are you an Electric Light Orchestra fan? Those keys remind me of ELO.
Marcie: Oh yeah, I was a huge fan of The Electric Light Orchestra for awhile. I love the simplicity and overall melodic approach to their music, it was very cool. I liked when Jeff Lynne (vocalist/guitarist of ELO) got together with The Traveling Wilburys. I dig him. George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, were all together in that band.
HRH: Are the lyrics to “You Don’t Understand” meant for someone that was or is close to you?
Marcie: Yeah, it’s personal. I interjected some personal memories of how hard it is to go through what I went through. It destroyed my marriage. Lyrically, it’s about how some people just don’t get it. These lyrics were written metaphorically and not in your face. I was sitting at my computer one day, I picked up my acoustic and wrote this song. I made the demo that same day, along with background vocals. I played it for Bruce on skype and I started crying. Bruce loved it and did all the arrangements.
HRH: “Love Is Blind” flat out Rocks! How did you come about including such memorable chorus moments in this song?
Marcie: Bruce and Guy wrote this. I first heard it when I went out to L.A. to shoot pictures for the album cover. Bruce played it for me and it grabbed me, it spoke to me. This song does have an amazing chorus. There are Doo-wop answer style, background vocals. It’s a really strong song.
HRH: What’s missing in the music industry today, that existed back in the 1980’s?
Marcie: Well, it’s always been kind of soulless and cruel, with lot’s of crooks. In lot’s of ways, it’s sweet justice to see record companies brought to their knees now. Too many cruel things have been done to artists over the years by them, still, no one wants to see the industry decimated. Technology has given power to the artists to make their own records and sell their own music. There has always been a monopoly with the larger labels. With all the downloading of free music, I hope it’s run it’s course for the masses. Illegal downloading would put us all out of business. Just because you can download music, doesn’t make it right.
HRH: I couldn’t agree with you more on that, Marcie.
Marcie: At the end of the 80’s, the country was split up into four main sections, with four main guys, that handed down and dictated what to play on radio and MTV too. They were known as the four cartels, the four cartels of radio programs and they pulled the plug on all Metal acts in the early 90’s.
HRH: Whoa, Marcie, that’s nasty. What a shame, that these four cartels could control the media with so much power.
HRH: I miss going into a record store, that feeling you had back in the 80’s.
Marcie: I miss the record stores too! Especially back in the 70’s. I would take an album home and put it right on the turntable. I would polish and cherish the album!
HRH: I know that feeling, Marcie.
HRH: When you sing, your emotions are so non-pretentious. Does it disgust you when you hear another vocalist force emotion on a song?
Marcie: Disgust might be a strong word. It’s instinct, people can tell when it’s forced or not. It’s got to be real and if it’s offensive, just don’t listen to that vocalist ever again. I grew up on Motown, that’s where I learned my singing chops. Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, all of them. I grew up in Flint, Michigan, where there was a lot of blue collar work and music.
HRH: So you were living right next door to Motown, surrounded by it.
Marcie: My junior high school was eighty percent black. Seventh through ninth grade, Motown was big part of that culture I was living in.
HRH: “Worlds Collide” is an album of songs and no filler. Each song carries it’s unique accessibility for me. How many songs were tossed out during the entire creation of this great album?
Marcie: None were tossed out. Actually, we had two more songs that were not finished for the record and we are planning to have them on the next Unruly Child record. We were on a roll, we were saying, we got to stop! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) There’s nothing wrong with that, Marcie!
Marcie: The acoustic version of “Talk To Me” will be on the Japanese version of “Worlds Collide”.
HRH: How come Japan always gets the cool bonus tracks?
Marcie: It’s not up to us, it’s not our decision, you’ll have to talk to Frontiers Records executives about that one.
HRH: Unruly Child displays a dark side with “Life Death”. Can this song be summed up in these two words: reality check?
Marcie: Well, it’s interesting too. With life, death, it kind of goes to death in the verses and with the chorus, it’s almost like there’s life, there’s the light! Bruce and Guy wrote this song. When I first heard the riffs, I knew it was a heavy song.
HRH: Which band or artist has been ignored the most, by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
Marcie: I really don’t know who’s exactly in or who’s not these days, so I don’t want to be non-factual or slight anybody.
HRH: How about KISS?
Marcie: KISS is not in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
Marcie: I would say KISS then! Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) are the coolest and most giving guys I’ve ever toured with. They were so great with King Kobra. Gene and Paul gave King Kobra perks that were not normally given to an opening band. They let us use their lighting and gave us free reign on the stage. We toured with KISS in 1986, I remember it being on the Northeast leg of the tour.
HRH: Not counting your own music, what album could you not live without? Regardless of Rock genre too.
Marcie: I’d probably say, any Motown 60’s stuff. Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. All the Soul and Rhythm and Blues!
Marcie: Led Zeppelin would be awesome! That would be a real fun thing. We all owe them a lot. I was a huge fan of Led Zeppelin through my teens and early twenties, they played a big part in my life, Bruce and Guy’s as well.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Carmine Appice?
Marcie: Carmine and I haven’t stayed in touch over the years. I wish him well with whatever he’s doing.
HRH Note: Carmine Appice was the founder and drummer for King Kobra.
HRH: What moment, on a personal level, do you reflect on from touring with King Kobra?
Marcie: I was watching on You Tube, just last night, things about me. There’s this one video, of a fan standing in line one day for a King Kobra in-store signing at Kamelot Music. A lot of fans were out there that day. This video was filmed by the fan’s perspective, of getting in line and getting up to us as we were signing autographs. As I watched this video of me, I was wondering of what it felt like? What was I thinking? Back then, I was not in tune with the present at the time. I remember of always having to be “on”. There was no partying, I always had to keep my voice. It was cool seeing that video.
HRH: Which do you prefer, playing arena’s or club’s?
Marcie: Years ago, it was different to play clubs. Clubs always got too smoky for me. It’s hard on a singer with smoke in the air. It may be different today though. There’s so much fun about arenas! You have a larger stage to move around on and you can have a bigger stage show.
HRH: What band that you have toured with, was your favorite?
Marcie: It has to be KISS when I was with King Kobra. Gene and Paul gave us so many privileges, it was because of their relationship with Carmine (Appice) and our manager, Alan Miller, was associated with their manager. They gave us full monitors and a light show that helped us out tremendously.
HRH: Where is the greatest place King Kobra had ever played?
Marcie: Hands down, it was back in January of 1986, at the Mexican/American Friendship Festival in Acapulco, Mexico. This was a one time festival, it never happened again. We went out onstage before Quiet Riot. We flew into Mexico City to perform at this festival just eight or ten months after this area suffered a major earthquake. Our hotel was falling apart! There were tent cities everywhere. We did take in some sights and saw the Mayan Pyramids. When we flew into Acapulco, we met the mayor of Acapulco. We just signed for everything once we got there! The gig was on a Saturday and it was a great gig. This festival was on a balmy and beautiful night, on the beach, facing in at thirty five thousand people!
HRH: That sounded like a great time Marcie.
Marcie: We had the fans going crazy! At the end of our set, we saw the fans wanted more, so we came out for an encore and made them more crazy! Riot police were pointing automatic weapons at the fans! We had Mexican security take us through a back exit, away from the fans that were going crazy for us. We never made it to our bus. It felt like we were the Beatles!
HRH: King Kobra were the Beatles of Mexico! (laughs)
Marcie: (laughs) We got inside an old ambulance that drove us through the jungle! The driver was taking all of these remote back roads through this jungle back to our hotel to avoid the fans! There was no air conditioning in the back of this old ambulance either, it was really hot and humid, so we were kicking the backside of the ambulance and shouting at the driver! (laughs)
HRH: (laughs) Wow, Marcie, you guys were lucky to get out of there alive!
Marcie: I was living in North Hollywood during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. I’ve been through many of them between 1979 and 1995 and the one in ’94 was the worse. I was living in an apartment that was on stilts, with parking underneath. This earthquake knocked everything down in my second floor apartment and everything went pitch black. I went outside and buildings all around me fell down, mine never fell. People were frightened to go back into their homes that were still left standing.
HRH: What would the title of your autobiography be?
Marcie: I am the king kobra!
HRH: What does that mean?
Marcie: It’s all about me, not about the other guys. And, it wasn’t really all about me. In Mexico City, where King Kobra played, there was this fan who took me aside and said to me… you are the king kobra!
HRH: Would you like to rant about the BP Gulf Coast oil spill?
Marcie: It’s a tragedy. I really had a problem with a lot of the politicians blaming the company for this. BP had to do something that they were forced to do, by being told by the government to go out that far to drill in the first place. The Obama administration took so long to get their shit together. This administration had well enough time to get anything done and corrected with what happened in the Gulf.
HRH: Is “Worlds Collide” a launching pad or exclamation point for Unruly Child?
Marcie: A launching pad! It’s a rebirth for us, certainly I as well. We came out with a bang with this new album. “Worlds Collide” is a huge statement for me, it’s a coming out album for me as well. This is the first album where I’m being Marcie, after being Mark for so long.
HRH: What do you feel is your greatest musical accomplishment of your career?
Marcie: It is yet to be done and to be determined. I do expect some really great things to come from this new record!
HRH: What is your proudest moment?
Marcie: A really exciting time for me was the first time I saw my dad really proud of me. I almost felt guilty for I was so used to him not being proud of me. It was Christmas of this particular year and we went to a local mall in Saginaw, Michigan. I had long, bleached white hair with streaks in it and my dad was saying to everyone, “hey, that’s my son”! I was on a major label, with a big time band and my dad was proud of me.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD “Nightmare” – The Crown Jewel Of A7X
It has been a little over two months since the July 27th, 2010 release of “Nightmare” from Avenged Sevenfold. This has been more than enough time for me to listen to their fifth studio album and come to this realization… “Nightmare” is profoundly bigger and more badass than any critics out there ever expected. To listen to this new A7X album and walk away unimpressed tells me only one thing… your oozing with quality Metal envy. The #1 album chart status and sales figures alone for “Nightmare” are telling of the popularity and quality that A7X carries with their brand of Heavy Rock.
The lead single of “Nightmare” alone is as fine an example of the musical maturation that A7X has reached, in factually just a decade. With shades of Metallica influence combined within their own Metal prowess, A7X can very well know they have made the song of their lives. Just when you think “Nightmare” is going to subside, it doesn’t. This song is uncannily relentless with its psyche-you-out continuity. I can’t help but think to myself… this “Nightmare” song will make Metallica wish it was theirs. I state this as a compliment to both bands, I’m opposed to stirring up controversy. Sometimes.
Anyone still unfamiliar with this “Nightmare” album should consider themselves either a rain forest hermit or walking in their sleep while still having functioning body parts. To pick apart this album would be rather easy… if you never listened to it. That sadly, has been the morbid case in situations that are few and far between. “Nightmare” is so much more than the lead single. As is always the case with A7X, this is a total album of songs. As diverse as it is dynamic, “Nightmare” flourishes with its originality from song to song, with not a micro hint of cut and paste with this extraordinary group of musicians.
If “Danger Line” doesn’t bring your eyes to some semblance of tears, then obviously the lyrics go right over your head. “Danger Line” incorporates whistling and a piano for extra emotional affect, evaporating the immature mentality out there that A7X is NOT a screaming Metalcore band for teenage boys only. Take that, all of you liberal and over compensated mainstream Rock Music critics. “Buried Alive” relies on its melodic heaviness to carry out it’s more than memorable song structure. This is a song that plays out in two parts, one part heavy ballad and second part melt your eardrums into Heavy Metal delirium.
“So Far Away” further removes the unsubstantiated stereotype and misgivings that A7X at times have to duck away from. This song is remarkable in both its musicianship and lyrics. “So Far Away” is the bridge between A7X the Metal Band and A7X the diverse and skillful musicians that they glowingly are. “Tonight The World Dies” tantalizes with a Classic Rock sensibility that marries into the emotionally driven darkness that is this “Nightmare” album. M. Shadows vocally switches from crooning to power bellows with flawless and inherent confidence.
“God Hates Us” is undisputedly the heaviest track on “Nightmare”, exposing the full throttle and extreme side that A7X can credibly unleash through song. If “Nightmare” was built around the sound and fury of “God Hates Us”, A7X would be just another Metal Band that made a “decent” album. This song is grand and mighty in every musical aspect, only A7X doesn’t need to rely on this high level of heaviness to be as great as they are. It is songs like “Victim” that enriches this “Nightmare” album into its “necessity to own” status. A heavy ballad is “Victim” and it does not resemble anything you have ever heard in a “heavy ballad” before. This is as modernistic and emblematic of what a heavy ballad should sound like… and A7X created it.
M. Shadows sings his heart out on this entire album, with the purest and most legitimate emotion spilling over each and every syllable. Yes, hearing Dream Theater founder and former drummer Mike Portnoy on drums is evident and incredible all the same. Mike Portnoy only escalates the totality of power and drive with his rhythmic essence and elegance within these songs heard on “Nightmare”. Synyster Gates on lead guitar and Zacky Vengeance on rhythm guitar compliment one another to the point where they are a guitar brotherhood. Listening to both play together on “Nightmare” is seamless in their unison. Johnny Christ on bass is heard very clearly, playing alongside Mike Portnoy with rhythmic precision, to my ears anyways.
“Save Me” is the epic song on “Nightmare”, coming in a few seconds short of eleven minutes. If Synyster Gates intentionally wanted his guitar to sound as if it were singing, he succeeded here. This song is not going to be a dreaded epic listen, for those of you who have not heard it just yet. A7X took great care into considering song structure for “Save Me”, it plays out as a short story with ample guitar parts that focus on melody and harmony, rather than raw power leads. With a ballad formula that compensates by its overall hardness, “Save Me” never loses my attention for a second. The speed kicks in at the midway point, with multiple guitar solo’s that brandish speed, while never compromising this song’s melodic intent.
Jimmy “The Reverend” Sullivan sings on “Fiction” and is credited with the drum arrangements as well. Hearing “The Rev” sing these lyrics on “Fiction” is chilling and leaves an emotional impression on me. Not to sound cliche, yet, “The Rev” was a one of a kind drummer. A7X will never be the same band without “The Rev”, his untimely and tragic passing only reminds me to never take for granted great musicians who have brought joy to my Metal loving life… and to not take life for granted either.
“Lost It All” is the non-album track that is available on itunes as a deluxe version bonus track. This song’s dark theme and heaviness fits right into the “Nightmare” scheme of things, showcasing just how brilliant sounding A7X is, when they combine present day “hardness” with their already patented “heaviness”.
I liken “Nightmare” to be Avenged Sevenfold’s “Back In Black” album, possibly their “Black Album” of their career. It surely comes across this way to my ears and senses. A7X took a dark approach lyrically and delicately weaved some heavy emotion into an album of songs that is fittingly titled “Nightmare”. Not one song sounds forced or contrived “at the last minute” of recording. This is an album to embrace for not just its skillful musicians, this album must be embraced for its end product being the totality of “real” songs. There is nothing pre-packaged here, this is “Nightmare” and A7X can stand tall and proud in “my” Metal world.
Rating: Out of 10
- Welcome To The Family
- Danger Line
- Buried Alive
- Natural Born Killer
- So Far Away
- God Hates Us
- Tonight The World Dies
- Save Me
Avenged Sevenfold is:
M. Shadows – vocals
Synyster Gates – lead guitar, backing vocals
Zacky Vengeance – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Johnny Christ – bass
The Rev – Drum arrangements, Lead Vocals on Fiction, Drums on Nightmare’s demo
Mike Portnoy – drums, percussions
Brian Haner, Sr. – guitars on “So Far Away”
Sharlotte Gibson – backing vocals
Jessi Collins – backing vocals
David Palmer – piano, keyboards
Stevie Blacke – Strings, string arrangement
Stewart Cole – trumpet
Mike Elizondo – keyboards
The Whistler – Whistling
PHIL ANSELMO – Yes, Phil Anselmo… his name is of course synonymous with the ultra-legendary Pantera. The word Metal in and of itself can easily be Phil’s middle name. However, Phil Anselmo’s name is also engraved in the Extreme Metal and Hardcore genres as well. With a career in music that boasts fronting the 1990’s unbelievably dominant Pantera, Phil Anselmo has an overwhelmingly impressive Metal and multi-music genre resume, both as a musician and businessman.
With Phil Anselmo being a key member of Down, Superjoint Ritual, Christ Inversion and Arson Anthem, nothing seems to slow him down from being a consistent player in the Metal and Hardcore Music industry, going on three decades. In the midst of such a brilliant career in Heavy Music, Phil also found time to play guitar for Necrophagia as well. Owning, operating and signing bands to his successful record label Housecore Records, is yet another side to this man who obviously loves Heavy and Extreme Music. It appears as if Phil Anselmo is writing a new chapter in his life of Metal, as each day seems to pass.
Phil Anselmo is as passionate about his Metal past as he is with his Metal present and future. The word “complacent” is not in Phil’s vocabulary. Phil Anselmo’s contributions and legacy to the history of Metal and Hardcore Music is already impressive and legendary. What is downright scary is that Phil Anselmo is continuously building upon his legacy and not resting on any damn laurels. There are many reasons why I respect Phil Anselmo, this interview only solidified them all for me.
Trying to check off all of the musical ground that Phil Anselmo has covered over his amazing career is a ludicrous thought. What is uncovered in the following paragraphs, are insights into a vast world of music talent and perspective from a man who says and does it his way. Here is what Phil Anselmo had to say:
HRH: The 2oth Anniversary of “Cowboys From Hell” is upon us. Does it seem that long ago to you?
Phil: Not at all man. Twenty years just blew by.
HRH: Can you share what the craziest moment was for you, during Pantera’s relentless “Cowboys From Hell” tour?
Phil: It was getting up there on stage every night, in front of people who did not know a damn thing about us in the U.S. or all around the world. People in Europe fuckin’ hated us back then! Every night we had a chip on our shoulders, we had to impress everyone, night after night. We owned a regional area of Texas during that tour. It was just a matter of time for the rest of the world to know who Pantera was. Being the underdog made us work that much harder. We were always a gig band and we knew we had to play live and be visual. Being seen was most important.
HRH: I personally like “The Will To Survive” demo. What do you recall about this song?
Phil: You like it?
HRH: I sure do. Don’t mind me saying, your vocals sound a bit like Rob Halford on this song.
Phil: Rob Halford was a heck of an influence on me. That’s the closest next to any falsetto in my throat! I was singing my throat out on that song. There’s not much honestly, that I remember about this song. It was early when we did that song, I think it was when I first joined the band in ’87. I recall that song as a skeleton in parts. The chunks and riffs were already there, probably meant for the “Power Metal” era in ’88. That song did not fit the profile for “Power Metal” or “Cowboys From Hell”, otherwise it would have stood out like a sore thumb.
HRH: Why do you think Pantera fans are so loyal to the band to this very second?
Phil: I think it’s the camaraderie we always had with the audience. We did not want to have character as a band that was untouchable or inaccessible. I was always talking the shit to Dimebag between songs on stage. We wanted the kids on stage with us! Hell, I’d hand the kid who came up on stage the microphone and let him sing and scream into it! It never bothered us. Our interaction with the kids back then was an impressive sight. Damn, you can see it for yourself by just going to Youtube and looking up any live Pantera videos. The videos don’t lie and seeing is believing!
HRH: In the early days, who listened to the heaviest and most extreme music in Pantera?
Phil: Me, me, me, me! I am the horse and you heard it from his mouth.
HRH: What is your greatest memory of Dimebag the person, not the musician?
Phil: As a person there were so many of them. He and I were such creative forces that there would be this butting of the heads that would be healthy. I was this hot headed mother fucker who wanted the money riffs, wanted the music more loose and I wasn’t wild about guitar solos. Twenty years removed, little did I know that Dimebag was to become the hero he is today. The machine like tightness was a staple of Pantera. I was on this underground trip, with this trio of musicians who were the most talented I’ve ever been surrounded by. The versatility and tightness between Vince and Rex, Rex and Dime was like nothing I’ve seen before or since. When it came time to execute the vocals, we all got along.
HRH: Which Pantera album could you not live without?
Phil: I’ll make a case for “Vulgar Display Of Power”. As a second tier, “Far Beyond Driven”. To be cut and dry though, “Vulgar Display Of Power”. Which one could you not live without?
HRH: Man, Phil, that is a hard one, I agree with “Vulgar Display Of Power”. But really all of them.
Phil: I know what you mean, man.
HRH: What country had the most rabid fans for Pantera?
Phil: Everywhere we went it seemed. Brazil, Mexico and Puerto Rico were insane! The most rabid first show was in Puerto Rico, man, it was dangerous. There were gang members everywhere outside, it was chaotic. We saw guns and weapons everywhere out in the open. Europe, the U.K., even Russia were great. Man, that’s a tough question, everywhere we went the fans were so damn kind to us. No way can I discount the States or Canada! The most fun, memorable and insane place to play was and is New York City. New York City has always been fuckin’ out of the box! For a specific show, there was this one time in Chicago. It was fuckin’ nuts. Out in the streets kids were jumping on cars and it was just fuckin’ chaos.
HRH: In the early days of Pantera, was there a lot of head butting with the song writing?
Phil: Lyrically I felt kind of restrained. I wanted to collaborate to where everyone in the band could get one hundred per cent of where I’m from as a lyricist. Later on, the freedom came around “Vulgar Display Of Power”. That’s when I really started to say look, how much longer am I gonna be the new guy? Healthy head butting equaled to healthy music though.
HRH: Who has been your single greatest influence in music?
Phil: Judas Priest and Rob Halford. David Lee Roth was a hell of a front man. Paul Stanley too. I knew I was going to be a singer all my life. As a young boy, when I was around thirteen it was Black Sabbath, Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio. I cannot leave out Dio. Even Bono from U2 influenced me to a degree. All of them made Pantera special. It’s an imperative quality to have that well roundedness to go in any genre of music. Everyone was rounded out in Pantera in their own way. Dimebag would say he was into Nine Inch Nails and I would say really? Fuckin’ off during a soundcheck, we would go off on some Country Western stuff and it would sound authentic! It’s important to listen to a little of everything.
HRH: What peer bands has your back?
Phil: A majority of ‘em have my back. Any band after 1990. Dez Fafara and Devil Driver. I’m really tight with Dez, ever since he was with Coal Chamber. We still speak to this very day. Slayer, Biohazard, Sepultura, Prong, Anthrax, Agnostic Front, Sick Of It All, it goes so far. It goes so far. The New York City Hardcore scene is a fantastic meeting place. I know a lot of those guys and we come out to support each other.
HRH: Theater or Arena, what’s your preference to play at?
Phil: I like ‘em both man. After a six month arena tour though, there’s always a piece of me after I do that to get back into the intimate club thing and that’s great.
HRH: How about festivals?
Phil: I love ‘em the majority of the time. There are no negative points to make on festivals! Pantera and Down both have done great festivals. Superjoint Ritual at Ozzfest wasn’t that great of a time though. That band was more suitable for a smaller club feel.
HRH: What is missing in the Metal scene today?
Phil: What do you think is missing in the Metal scene today?
HRH: Just that true feeling that was in the air years ago.
Phil: Your right on, there are no scenes anymore. Years back it was fuckin’ magic, man. I’m not saying one time period is better or worse here, only bands are more visible on computers now than on stage. There are not many gigs. There are a lot of myspace pages where bands flaunt their stuff. If you want to hear a band’s music you have to visit their myspace page. Today’s teens and twenty year olds could only wish to experience that scene feel. Texas had a great fuckin’ scene! New Orleans too. You could just stop in one weekend, out of the blue, to matinee shows. There was a clique of people and it was familiar to us. The general consensus about music today, is that it’s lacking a bit of originality. It’s Pantera meets Alice In Chains and it’s the same formula being used in hundreds of bands. That’s why I started my own label, Housecore Records. I weeded out certain bands that are hitting those certain notes.
HRH: Housecore Records today is what Metal Blade Records was in the early ’80’s.
Phil: Yeah, exactly. Like Megaforce Records was doing as well. There are a lot of super talented bands out there and the end result doesn’t sound too far removed from something we already heard. I’ve seen a lot of bands come and go. I’m looking for the kids trying to make a difference. The first listen to some of these bands might be awkward and unpleasant but I don’t mind because whoa, sometimes they turn out to be favorite bands with longevity and growth. That’s what Housecore Records is all about, growing a band. Years ago, Metal Blade Records would give a band time to grow, release a few albums and build a fan base. Today, the big record labels want a new band to sell millions of records right away.
HRH: It’s the Old School way to grow a band.
Phil: You said it. There’s always a clique of musicians genre work being duplicated, like a Thrash band in the Thrash genre doing cut and paste Destruction riffs. I do have genre bands, I have a Thrash Metal band on Housecore Records, Warbeast, from Fort Worth Texas. About six months ago, they made a great Thrash Metal record called “Krush The Enemy”, it’s their “Cowboys From Hell”. All I see is potential in this band! Dual guitars, double bass and not cut and paste stuff. The vocalist for Warbeast is Bruce Corbitt, he was in Rigor Mortis.
HRH: Warbeast is a band that I’ll be definitely checking out!
Phil: Another Housecore Records band to check out is haarp. They did an epic crushing masterpiece, “The Filth” and it’s fuckin’ deadly. Shaun Emmons, the vocalist, is massive! I’ve seen that guy control a crowd without saying a word to them. The Sursiks are hittin’ crazy different notes and their on their own page! My band Arson Anthem is coming out with a full length on October 12th, called “Insecurity Notoriety”. I play guitar, Mike IX Williams is on vocals, Hank Williams III is on drums and Collin Yeo is on bass. This is vicious Hardcore, so trip out on this record!
HRH Note: You can purchase Arson Anthem, Warbeast “Krush The Enemy”, The Sursiks and both haarp EP’s by clicking here: HOUSECORE RECORDS
HRH: Anything new to report from the Down camp?
Phil: There’s nothing much from Down. We’ve messed around with the skeletons of two new songs recently. They are two songs from the last session. Kirk (Windstein) is cleaning up his life and that’s great.
HRH: Can you see yourself collaborating with Killjoy ever again?
Phil: I don’t man. I hope is doing really well, but no. I love to play guitar, it was fun to play for Necrophagia.
HRH Note: Phil Anselmo played guitar for Necrophagia’s 1998 studio album – “Holocausto de la Morte”. Phil played with Necrophagia under the alias Anton Crowley.
HRH: If a major motion picture was to be made about Phil Anselmo, what would the title be?
Phil: Let me think here, maybe something like, no wait, I’ll think of it. Give me a second. Damn, this is a tough question. How about, drag me to hell!
HRH: Alright, cool.
Phil: No, I’m kidding.
HRH: Okay. (laughs)
Phil: King Kong!
HRH: King Kong? What? (Laughs)
Phil: I’m just messin’ with ya! (Laughs)
Phil: I’m stumped on this one and I’m gettin’ hassled on the phone here! I don’t need this!
Phil: From shit to roses and from shit to roses again.
Phil: No, that’s terrible!
Phil: How to break your back and still sprint at 42! There, that’s the movie title!
HRH: Good one, Phil. (Laughs)
HRH: Do you have any commentary on the BP oil spill in the gulf?
Phil: It makes me examine mankind once again. By all rights, I can’t speak for anyone else but me. I’m just another ignorant man figuring my way through life. With all due respect to what other religions other people follow and what they consider to be their god, If I’m going to call anything god it’s this planet underneath our feet. When you stab god in the chest, like a human so much blood is in the body. There’s only so much oil in the Earth. I know people down in the Gulf, the locals, who have been living off the industry of fish for generations and they are hurtin’. Any food place around the world that imports from the Gulf are gonna be hurtin’. I think there’s a fact that people in America are not allowed a loud enough voice. If there was a reasoning here there would be pamphlets in the mailbox asking if it’s o.k. to drill a mile into the Gulf, into the Earth. You drill one mile into the Earth here and tell everyone it’s foolproof, who’s the fool when it breaks? We stabbed god in the heart and it makes me look at mankind like we are a conquering, vicious, breed of life on Earth. We need to take a step back and look at what we have done. We only have one planet. There should be a law of man, a law of mankind, to respect the Earth we live on.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Vinnie Paul?
Phil: Wish I did.
TONY HARNELL – Rock ‘N’ Roll has never ceased to evolve, neither has Tony Harnell, the lead vocalist for his very own and hand picked band – Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train. Tony’s Rock ‘N’ Roll history skyrocketed back in 1984, while being the vocalist for Norway’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band TNT. Being the lead vocalist for TNT and signed to a major label is what Rock ‘N’ Roll dreams are about. With nine studio albums and two live albums while with TNT, (from 1984 to 2006), some could argue that Tony Harnell had a stake in an impressive chunk of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal history.
In 1998, Tony Harnell formed the Hard Rock band – Westworld. A band that many critics and untold fans over the years consider as yet another shining Rock ‘N’ Roll star on Tony’s music resume. Short lived, Westworld still released three studio albums and one live release between 1999 and 2002. Tony Harnell formed Starbreaker, a Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band that was a side project for him while his career with TNT was coming to a close. Signed to Frontiers records, Starbreaker released two critically acclaimed studio albums, their self-titled debut in 2005 and “Love’s Dying Wish” in 2008.
Now that the Tony Harnell Hard Rock and Heavy Metal history has come to a close, a new chapter in his life has begun, as he so expresses in the following interview. “Round Trip”, released on July 2, in Europe and July 27, 2010, in the U.S., on Frontiers Records, is the debut album from Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train. A studio album which contains 14 songs that span the career of Tony Harnell, while with TNT and Starbreaker included. These are songs that Tony Harnell can justifiably call his own, stripped down and beaming with an Acoustic Rock revival that becomes more of an audio delicacy, the more times you listen.
Reflecting on the past, while not living in it and staying focused on the now… is exactly how Tony Harnell comes across. There are music influences that have shaped this vocalist into what he once was and is at this moment in time. Evolving within his own world of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Tony has cultivated The Mercury Train to roll in and create the sound that he wants representing him and his songs in 2010. Here is what Tony had to say:
HRH: Where did the name Mercury Train come from?
Tony: I was going through cool band names and I also had this list of weird names. Derek Mead, the designer of our album cover, did a really fantastic job on that. The orange shades on the cover he created I love, the digipak really shows how great it looks. He was coming up with a bunch of logo’s and band names, he is really talented at that. Derek kept sending me ideas, he came up with that one. I saw this Mercury Train name and said that’s it! That’s the one! The Mercury Train was a high speed train project dating back to the 1930’s. It was supposed to run between Long Island and Upstate New York, only it never moved forward. Derek really came up with a great band name.
HRH: What was the initial inspiration to revisit and rework songs from your past?
Tony: The funny thing about it, it was a very natural and organic process. These guys in the band are friends and it made it easy. I wanted strip down songs from my past to play in Manhattan clubs and I wondered would these songs sound strong or silly? Would these songs translate well? We were seen through shows by Frontiers Records. Frontiers approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing a live or an acoustic record. A cool, stripped down record is what I wanted to represent us, I wanted to make it very original.
HRH: How did you find yourself amongst musicians that are not Heavy Metal or Hard Rock players?
Tony: These are the people I mostly hang out with. I live in New York City, these are the musicians that live here and most aren’t Metal musicians. If I lived in L.A., I would have more friends that are Metal musicians than in New York City. It’s hard to find Metal guys that live in New York City.
HRH: Wow, Tony, that is hard to believe!
Tony: Even going back to the heyday of ’80’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal bands, there weren’t many here in this New York City area. There was White Lion, Danger Danger and Bon Jovi in New Jersey. In the 80’s there really wasn’t a lot of successful Metal bands in New York. Back in the ’80’s, there were so many Metal bands in L.A., you could times it by a thousand, ten times, compared to New York. As time moves on, I lose contact with Metal people and the clubs we used to play or they are out of the music business completely as well.
HRH: So the direction of your music for this album was already clear?
Tony: As we got into recording, this album took on a life of it’s own and it evolved. I was seeing my vision through. I told the band to take it as far as they want and they did. Some of the songs you will hear show that the drum beat, keyboards, and background vocals are much different. We gave the songs a totally new treatment, this was the catalyst and reason for my doing this. This album makes me appreciate the songs more. I didn’t want to compete with the original songs, instead I wanted to exploit the melodies and bring out the more obscure songs and give them attention. With this album, I’ve closed the door to a chapter of my life. Saying I’m done with ’80’s Hard Rock may upset a lot of people.
HRH: “Round Trip” could easily been a more mellow album or perhaps heavier? How did you and the other musicians find that perfect in-between?
Tony: It’s all about the song choices and I was very conscientious of that. This could easily have been a ballad album. I had to choose key songs while keeping the record upbeat. “Lonely Nights” and “Satellite” are upbeat songs. These upbeat songs are scattered across the record in order to keep the album from being too boring. This album is vocal and melody driven.
HRH: “Anywhere But Here” has a Beatlesque quality about it, am I off base by saying this?
Tony: Probably not. Brandon Wilde (bass guitarist) wrote this song with me. Brandon is an incredible songwriter. The press release stated this song was written special for this album and that’s just not the case. “Anywhere But Here” was written and demoed three years ago. Brandon had mentioned to me that we have this song and I said yeah! The rest of the band is not on this track due to it being a demo from three years ago. Brandon and I will be doing the bulk of writing on our next album. “Anywhere But Here” doesn’t represent where I’m going in life, none of my songs represent per se where I’m going in my life.
HRH: Chris Foley on electric guitar really gives these songs on “Round Trip” that ’70’s Classic Rock tone and vibe. Is this what you were aiming for?
Tony: That is the music I grew up with. My heart lies in ’80’s bands and we were all in our early twenties in 1984 when we (TNT) were signed. We were taking that ’70’s music with us though. My heart also lies in the ’70’s music. Chris has that awesome, electric moody vibe in his playing. I did not want us to show one iota of TNT, not try to do anything like TNT, except chord structures and we even changed some of those.
HRH: Amy Harnell, what a voice! Where has she been hiding?
Tony: She’s my wife! The question really is, where have I been hiding her!
Tony: Amy was singing shows with me, doing background vocals. She is a natural and became a part of this project. Her maiden name is Amy Anderson and she was a world class ballet dancer. When we first got together, I happened to go visit her in Germany to see her performing, then I heard her sing, we have been together nine years since. Amy sung on TNT stuff, like “Song 4 Dianne” on the “My Religion” album from 2004. Amy also played the flute on this song. “Ready To Fly” on “Round Trip” really showcases her tone. Amy had the opportunity to do a video for us, “Northern Lights”, it was a thrilling opportunity, to really put her out there. Fans should check out our “Northern Lights” video. She has the voice and presence on stage that’s incredible!
HRH: Reworking these TNT and Westworld songs must have taken you down memory lane. What’s your greatest moment that happened to you thus far in your life?
Tony: For something non-music related, meeting my wife was a great moment in my life! Musically, there are many, many different moments. Making this record, “Round Trip”, was during a time of great adversity for me. Making a simple record equaled to a spiritual experience for me. This album represents a new chapter and a new beginning in my life. Receiving a worldwide record deal with TNT was something else, it was something my other friends were not able to do. For us to have done it as TNT was an achievement.
HRH: Do you see Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train as a representation of your fantasy band that couldn’t be pulled off 20 years ago?
Tony: No, it couldn’t be pulled off then. Twenty years ago I would have had a different idea of what I wanted in a band, a band with shredding guitar players! This is a very special project and still it’s not the end all and be all of where I’m moving forward. Brandon Wilde is not just a great bass player, he is an incredible songwriter, he has helped put this band together and he is a catalyst. “Round Trip” really represents what I wanted to do with these songs. A solo record is probably going to happen. There will be co-writers for the solo record and it will be recorded in different parts of the world. “Round Trip” will let these musicians in Mercury Train show what they can do and it’s not Heavy Metal. Led Zeppelin and the Beatles covers are in the realm of their ability though. I just did not want “Round Trip” to be a solo album, I wanted to separate the two.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Magnus Karlsson?
Tony: Occasionally, yeah. We have not spoken recently though. We are great friends.
HRH Note: Magnus Karlsson was the guitarist and keyboardist for Tony Harnell’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band – Starbreaker, from 2005 to 2008. Magnus is currently a guitarist with the Power Metal giant – Primal Fear.
HRH: I have always and still consider you a premier vocalist. Who has been your vocal influences throughout your career?
Tony: There are a lot of obvious ones. I’m sure people won’t flinch when I say Rob Halford. I was obsessed with early ’70’s Priest and early ’80’s music. I’m a ’70’s Priest fan. “Stained Class” personally, is my most favorite and it’s the most interesting and artistic record I’ve ever listened to. “Stained Class” had very overlooked production up to that point in time, maybe not as good as later records by Judas Priest. “Hell Bent For Leather” is a Priest album that is very close to me, very influential in my early years. “Hell Bent For Leather” and “Stained Class” are my dual all time favorite! Going backwards, there was Folk, Country and a lot of Beatles played in my house as a kid. My mom was an opera singer! There was Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and John Denver came later for me.
HRH: That’s some diversified exposure, which is great.
Tony: There was so much cool 60’s music being played when I was a kid. Crosby, Still and Nash, I absorbed all that stuff! When I started to buy records, it was David Bowie, Elton John and Led Zeppelin. Today, it’s the ’60’s and ’70’s music that influence me. Ironically, as I got older, Rob Halford isn’t as strong an influence as say, twenty years ago for me.
HRH: You’ve changed artistically, Tony.
Tony: I don’t want to belittle Heavy Metal music, it’s just that I could not continue on with a band that has just cult status. Yet, if you are a successful Heavy Metal band, that’s great. If it’s Heavy Metal, it’s not in my heart anymore, there’s no living in it for me.
HRH: Tony, you will always have some Metalhead in you, won’t you?
Tony: Of course I will.
GEORGE LYNCH – In 1983, Dokken released their first studio album, “Breaking The Chains”. The guitarist for Dokken was George Lynch. The legendary guitar status of George Lynch had just begun. Upon George Lynch departing Dokken, he founded his own Hard Rock band – Lynch Mob. The 1990 release of the critically acclaimed “Wicked Sensation” album gave Lynch Mob the launching pad to stardom. With that said, the life of a working musician and getting rich quick in the music business is easier said than done, as you will read in this candid interview Hard Rock Hideout had with George Lynch.
Every guitar player knows or should know who George Lynch is. While every fan of 1980’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal knows him as “Mr. Scary” as well, a nickname taken from his guitar instrumental heard on the 1987 Dokken album “Back For The Attack”. A nickname and legendary status aside, George Lynch comes across as a musician that is as dedicated to the business side of music as he is to his ultra exemplary guitar playing. Much can be learned from a conversation with George Lynch, he has as the cliche’ goes… seen and heard it all.
George Lynch graciously devoted some time to Hard Rock Hideout recently, to discuss the current Lynch Mob tour, the business side of music, guitar influences, a Dokken concert experience in Belfast that turned into the bizarre and his admiration for his kids. George Lynch has proven to this writer, that there is so much more to him than his legendary guitar leads and jaw dropping solos. Here is what George had to say:
HRH: Lynch Mob is ready to embark on a Summer tour of the States, which city or venue are you looking forward to most?
George: We will be navigating the U.S. in a sprinter van, gorilla style. To be completely honest, I don’t pick apart the itinerary, we get there when we get there is the way I do things. Anytime we are at a place where the chemistry comes together it’s great. I take one bad and one good experience at a time. Theaters are the best to play in. Unlike a club or arena, a theater is designed to sound good. The House Of Blues is great, you can’t beat a wood stage and a great PA.
HRH: Does it feel like old times or the first time, reuniting with Oni Logan?
George: Well, we’ve been back together actually for two years. It’s not old times, yet we have the same chemistry and like the same music. It’s investing in the machine that sets the band for years. In the old days, when a band was set, we were a band of brothers, experiencing everything together through the ups and downs. Today, it is very hard to keep a band together at this level. Lynch Mob really has nothing to lose, I haven’t achieved so much success where I can afford the resources to have this band stay together. I’m in the middle, where there is enough resources to make an album and do some touring. I’ve just lost two members of this band, they are going to go where the money is.
HRH: Really? Two members have left?
George: My bass player, Michael Devin, has gone on to join Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. My drummer, Brian Tichy, will be going to play for Whitesnake next year. A band like Metallica, they can afford to stay together!
HRH Note: James LoMenzo (formerly with Megadeth, David Lee Roth) has joined Lynch Mob as their new bass guitarist for the American and European 2010 tour.
HRH: “Smoke And Mirrors” really resonates Hard Rock glory, with plenty of Hard Rock relevance. Is it difficult to side step the heavy sound of the 80’s?
George: It’s not like you intentionally side step, you evolve and change over time. You can’t be what you were twenty or twenty-five years ago. AC/DC doesn’t change and it works for them. I enjoy change and an adventure, I like to be challenged. There are times it can get a little bit treacherous based on the component of business we’re in and the sound and style doesn’t adhere to it consistently. You can lose your audience with a drastic change and it’s not always a luxury to change . Jack White with White Stripes, he can change from album to album and still sell a ton of records. (Lynch Mob) “Smoke This” was a change for me, (released in 1999), it was a Rap record. The fans and critics hated it. I listened to it recently and I’m like, damn I love this!
HRH: “Time Keepers” is my favorite song on “Smoke And Mirrors”, your guitar solo is so intense.
George: It’s my favorite too!
HRH: That’s cool!
HRH: What is your secret to a memorable guitar solo?
George: There are different kinds of solo’s. In the Dokken era, there was always a story within a song, a beginning, end and body to it. This could leave a solo very constrained. I like the band of gypsy’s style of solo, where you forget about yourself and the surroundings and I find it all comes together. I like when a solo is not premeditated, when it’s random and not structured. Then there is a formulated solo done in the studio, it’s put together piece by piece. Then you can selectively fix the solo. A random solo is like streamed consciousness, that is what happened with that solo on “Time Keepers”.
HRH: How difficult is it to balance both the melodic and heavy side of guitar playing?
George: It is a balancing act. Rhythm wise, I enjoy listening to Lamb Of God, the impact and sheer weight of that tone I love. The super Metal tone is so much fun. When I do that I give up something, I’ve never found a middle ground. I did the down tuning thing and with solo’s I struggled, both tone wise and tuning wise. Songs I wrote in the past were built on configuration, Dokken and Lynch Mob are not down tuning stuff.
HRH: Crossing Rock genres, who is the young guitarist today, that impresses George Lynch?
George: There are so many in recent years. I like listening to the Neo-Classic European shred guys! Alexi Laiho from Children Of Bodom, Jeff Loomis from Nevermore and Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth. In Country Music it’s Brad Paisley. Derek Trucks is an incredible slide guitarist. I listen to many players.
HRH: Who are the guitarists that influenced you?
George: Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck are two primary early influences. I lived with their records and played them through, non stop. Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page round out the big four for me.
HRH: Doesn’t get any better than those four. Are there any other influences throughout the years?
George: Johnny Winter, Leslie West, Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen and Eddie Van Halen. Jan Akkerman of Focus and Blues-Rock guitarist Peter Green. All the blues guys. In my fantasy world I would be a guitar player for Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
HRH: Your rightfully looked upon as a guitar legend in the Rock Music world. How underrated is Oni Logan as a lead vocalist?
George: Oni is one of those singers that will stand the test of time. There will come a day when he will be looked upon as an iconic Rock vocalist. Oni is Blues based like Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, David Coverdale and Paul Rodgers. He’s right there. He is a great songwriter. Oni is very conscientious live now, he has had great performances on the road. He has changed his behavior and is very careful about how he presents and takes care of himself. Time is on his side
HRH: What is your favorite song to cover?
George: There are quite a few. I released my “Furious George” album of all covers back in 2004. Deep Purple’s “Stormbringer” is fun to cover. Any Montrose and Led Zeppelin. Any Jimi Hendrix as well. A great jam song is Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades”, it’s just a fun song to play.
HRH: What’s the greatest advice ever given by George Lynch about playing guitar?
George: Good question. In a nutshell, be yourself, it is so important. I see a lot of guitar players that are amazing technically, only nothing sounds like them. When I see a guitarist that is just like Eddie Van Halen or Stevie Ray Vaughn, I have to stop and say we already have an Eddie! We had Stevie! I’m so bad at mimicking other people that it comes out my own way, through my own sound.
HRH: What is the funniest or craziest thing that you have ever witnessed while on tour?
George: Well, let’s see, there are a few that come to mind. Dokken was on tour in Belfast and the IRA problems were happening, it was like a war zone. We were playing in a theater with Accept, while the context of a civil war was happening. People were openly using drugs and having sex in the audience. Hundreds of people were spitting on us and my neck was dripping with saliva. Jeff Pilson (bass guitarist) actually had spit land in his mouth. Our tour bus was fire bombed at this same show.
HRH: My God, George, that’s terrible.
George: Well, we asked the fans what went wrong.
HRH: What fans? The ones who were spitting on you?
George: No, the ones who were hanging around after the show that we could approach outside. They said that showed they really liked you and you wouldn’t want to know what happens if they didn’t like you!
HRH: Talk about a backwards society.
George: The people were victims of their environment.
HRH: Is a live Lynch Mob album out of the question for the future?
George: It hasn’t been discussed. Historically, they say at the end of the life cycle of a band is a live record. A live record is expected to rehash the older stuff. It just shows there is less fuel for the fire and your running out of ideas. It’s the bottom of the bell curve, the swan song of a band. Lynch Mob has to achieve success first, before a future live record happens.
HRH: Looking back on your career, who is the one person that you entrust the most?
George: All the components of the music business I’m so preoccupied with, creating opportunities for our music to be heard someday. I’m a salesman more than a guitar player! Over the course of my day it’s all business and most things don’t even pan out.
HRH: Your just a gentleman who loves and lives for his music.
George: Well, the business end and politics of the music business is very challenging. When people ask me to contribute to a record there is a lot of business management involved, I just can’t walk in and play a solo, it’s more complicated than people know. There are a number of things involved on the business end that have costs, a studio, equipment, maintaining a rig and people that work for you. I design guitars, pickups and amps, so ninety percent of the weight in the music business is office work and using the phones. It’s about keeping it all together and having all the elements in place. I hope this hasn’t made you depressed.
HRH: No George, it hasn’t made me depressed. You are just telling it like it is and being real. You are talking about the reality side of being a musician and running the business end of it. Fans need to know this side of it.
George: With Lynch Mob, we will be doing eleven thousand miles in a van for this tour, with a skeleton crew. We will be sharing equipment and rooms. I’m a working musician and not a rich man. Just because my picture is in a book doesn’t mean I’m wealthy. Yet once we get on stage for that one hour, it’s all worth it. On stage is the payoff, playing for the fans, compared to how little financially you get out of it.
HRH: What long lasting memory will you always have of Ronnie James Dio?
George: I had an Elf record as a kid! I was on board early on in the Rainbow years too. Listening to Ronnie James Dio on the “Heaven And Hell” record, what a massive sounding album! Ronnie was a multi-dimensional singer. We did a couple of Dio tours with Dokken as well. I remember Ronnie James Dio as being a caring, compassionate and kind human being. After so many years in this business, the character of people means more than anything else. It’s character that Ronnie James Dio possessed.
George: I have six kids and five grand kids.
HRH: George, that’s excellent!
George: Why, do you think that’s a great achievement?
HRH: Of course it is George. Having a family like that is something special, family is so important.
George: Songs are like your children, it’s just trying to get them to be songs that are special. Making songs is like having sex, that’s the easy part. There is a lot of work in trying to make a song standout. I teach to my kids a good work ethic and character. I teach them to treat people kind. I have wonderful human beings for kids and I am very proud of them.
NAZARETH “THE NEWZ” – CLASSIC HARD ROCK FROM 2008 NEVER SOUNDED SO GOOD!
Back in 1971, Nazareth, a bluesy Rockin’ band from Dunfermline, Scotland, released their self-titled debut album on Warner Bros. Records. Fast forward to 2008 and Nazareth is still going strong, with their Classic Rock colliding with Hard Rock and mixed with a blues influence that so pronounces their musical style. The Newz was released on March 31, 2008, on Demolition Records. There are many great albums that have been released in the last few years, “The Newz” is a great Hard Rock album, one that needs to be re-introduced to our loyal Hard Rock Hideout following! As I write this, I am jumping up and down and stomping my feet in Classic Hard Rock glee, that’s how emphatic I am about Nazareth and “The Newz”. Alright, I might not be stomping my feet.
Ten years removed from the last Nazareth studio album, (1998’s “Boogaloo”), “The Newz” reinstates that this band still has a full tank of Rock ‘N’ Roll gas and enough Old School vibe to shake and stir the Classic Rock Gods from their slumber. With original members Dan McCafferty on lead vocals and Pete Agnew on bass, along with longtime member Jimmy Murrison on guitars and Lee Agnew on drums, this is Nazareth… present day, circa 2008 and they don’t stray from their bluesy-Hard Rock ways. Lee Agnew is Pete Agnew’s son, (Lee replaced original drummer Darrell Sweet upon his passing away in 1999). 2008 was a year which in which Nazareth celebrated their 40th Anniversary of Rock ‘N’ Roll, as truest and revered a milestone any band in the land could ever hope for.
Onto the songs heard on “The Newz”… “Goin’ Loco” kicks off this Nazareth Rock party with all the free-spirited energy that this legendary band has been so famous for. To say this song is groovy is an understatement, the guitar licks from Jimmy are stuff that would make Prince himself proud and any guitarist out there knows that’s a compliment. “Goin’ Loco” is a perfect opener for “The Newz”, establishing that Nazareth still maintains and glorifies that Classic Rock attitude and sound.
“A Day At The Beach” just might be the most happy song I’ve ever heard from Nazareth, alongside “May The Sunshine” from their iconic 1979 album – “No Mean City”. Truth be told, I listened to “A Day At The Beach” while driving in many snowstorms the past couple of years… and this song literally made me feel like Summer was just a day away and everything really was alright. A fun, melodic and instantly memorable song that is supposed to lift one’s spirits. Oh… this song Rocks too.
From “Goin’ Loco” straight through to “Dying Breed”, I applaud and raise my horns to the air for the vocals of Dan McCafferty. In my most honest opinion, Dan has NOT lost a single step in his voice, making each song trademark Nazareth, just due to his vocals alone. “Liar” is easily the heaviest song on “The Newz”, with Jimmy delivering the Heavy Metal riffs coupled with some funky laden leads. With Pete and Lee pumping up the beats on the rhythm section, I find myself “banging thy head” to “Liar” without any sense of control.
“Warning” takes over where “Liar” left off. Whoa… this song could have been a hit in ANY decade of Nazareth Rock ‘N’ Roll. “Warning” should be played on mainstream FM just to highlight what REAL Hard Rock sounds like, Old School and brandishing all the Hard guitar goodness that this genre was built upon. Jimmy ignites “Warning” at the closing with an impressive guitar solo that leaves me wanting more of that cool stuff. “Loggin’ On” is a catchy Hard Rock song that lyrically puts a reality check on the world of the internet and how people can waste their life away by “Loggin’ On”.
Overall, it is very difficult for me to choose a “favorite” song on “The Newz”. This dilemma only deepens when “Mean Streets” gets it’s Hard, Heavy and Funky Groovin’ sound cranked up to the maximum level. Yes Virginia, there is some consistent Funk in that guitar of Jimmy’s. “Mean Streets” title may fool you, however, it is a song that can be enjoyed loud while doing a psyche-out dance by yourself, with no witnesses… of course. “Dying Breed” is a haunting, Hard & Heavy epic, clocking in at 13:23, don’t think for one second Nazareth has lost their flare for some sinister Rock ‘N’ Roll! Just when you think this song has neared its end… keep this CD playing… for “Dying Breed” is a creeper and a keeper!
“The Newz” carries it weight with the utmost musical integrity of its songs. “Road Trip”, “The Gathering”, “Warning” and “Liar” are the heavyweights, with “Gloria” being the ultra-cool and reflective ballad and “A Day At The Beach” reinstating the “fun-side” to Hard Rock. Mix in the underrated guitar play of Jimmy Murrison and the astute drumming of Lee Agnew, coupled with the legendary Pete Agnew on bass and the sandpapered vocals of Dan McCafferty… and you have one ultra solid, Classic Hard Rock album, one that rises from the pack for this lifetime Nazareth fan and Rock ‘N’ Rollaholic.
Setting any Nazareth fan bias I may bestow aside, “The Newz” should not disappoint those looking for a quality album of songs. This is a Hard Rock album that is a throwback to those days when creating songs really did matter, days when those overly glorified radio hits were just a shot in the dark.
Rating: Out of 10
- Goin’ Loco
- Day At The Beach
- See Me
- Enough Love
- Mean Streets
- Road Trip
- Keep On Travellin’
- Loggin’ On
- The Gathering
- Dying Breed
Dan McCafferty – lead vocals
Pete Agnew – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jimmy Murrison – guitars
Lee Agnew – drums
DANZIG “DETH RED SABAOTH” – A DARK & HEAVY RETURN THAT TRIUMPHS! Never count out Glenn Danzig. A living Metal Legend like he, never surrenders and will never lay off his drive to make the music that evokes haunting themes and dark places. “Deth Red Sabaoth” was released on June 21, 2010, on Evillive/The End Records. This ninth studio album from DANZIG is nothing short of brilliant, surpassing my expectations of what “Deth Red Sabaoth” would sound like. A valiant return of sort, with the last DANZIG album being “Circle Of Snakes” from 2004. This new DANZIG album of eleven songs shall take you by the hand… and guide you down a path of Heavy Metal grooves, that coincide with all the nightmarish nuances and feel of a vintage Vincent Price, black & white horror flick.
Yes, all the talk is “Deth Red Sabaoth” is a throwback to the first four DANZIG albums and I would be foolish to disagree. If Glenn Danzig felt his best music style needed to be saluted, he surely puts on one hell of a salute here. Cutting to the Metal chase… “Ju Ju Bone” is my favorite song from this album. Then again, come tomorrow, it very well might be “Rebel Spirits”, these songs are just so uncannily contagious to my Metal mind. Where “Ju Ju Bone” carries you along through a foggy nights Metal fantasy, “Rebel Spirits” comes straight at you with the aggression meter turned up a few notches higher, both in the Metal and vocals of Glenn.
“Black Candy” with its molasses tempo has its dark side magnified through the doom fueled riffs and beats, instigated by Glenn’s ever macabre filled, vocal angst. Glenn plays drums on “Black Candy” and he hits the skins just like he sings… very deliberate and very chilling. “On A Wicked Night” has some Classic Rock vibe happening, with the guitar play of Tommy Victor resonating some real late ’70’s Hard Rock excitement. Maybe it’s just me… still “On A Wicked Night” sounds and feels so damn good. “Deth Red Moon” can best be described as THE song on this DANZIG album that will sound more incredible with each listen. I might just pick this to be my favorite song on “Deth Red Sabaoth” for Fridays only. Tommy Victor lets it all air out with some unreal good leads on this brazenly strong Heavy Metal song.
“Night Star Hel” makes for the finest candidate song to crank up in your car, as you drive through a long forgotten cemetery at night. During a damn full moon too. It’s the classic, no, epic sound of “Night Star Hel” combined with some of the most spine chilling riffs and rhythmic beats that I have heard in years. This song should have ended with Glenn Danzig saying… “are you scared yet”? Instead the climactic highway you hear and ride on “Night Star Hel” is the one and only Johnny Kelly on drums, taking control of this song’s beat and raising holy hell with it.
Ending “Deth Red Sabaoth” is Glenn’s eerily similar to Jim Morrison vocals on “Left Hand Rise Above”. I always and forever will consider Glenn Danzig a unique and formidable vocalist, although the comparison to Jim Morrison is by all means a most sincere and non-confronting statement… in other words, a compliment. What DANZIG can do with turned down tempos is frighteningly amazing to me. The total impact that this band creates with doom and dark tones with chant like beats, is a jaw dropping listen into how Metal Music is truly an atmospheric experience, when done so unpretentiously as “Deth Red Sabaoth”.
Rating: Out of 10
- Hammer Of The Gods
- The Revengeful
- Rebel Spirits
- Black Candy
- On A Wicked Night
- Deth Red Moon
- Ju Ju Bone
- Night Star Hel
- Pyre Of Souls
- Seasons Of Pain
- Left Hand Rise Above
* Deth Red Sabaoth was produced by Glenn Danzig.
* Album artwork was designed by world renowned and award winning artist – Joe Chiodo.
Glenn Danzig – vocals, piano, guitars & bass, drums on “Black Candy”
Tommy Victor – lead guitar, guitars & bass
Johnny Kelly – drums
KAI HANSEN – As European Power Metal has sustained and nurtured it’s loyal fans worldwide spanning three decades, there is one key figure that can be saluted for his unparalleled contribution to this Heavy Metal sub-genre, that being Kai Hansen. As cofounder of legendary Helloween back in 1984 and founding member and leader of Gamma Ray since 1988, Kai Hansen has undeniably carved out his name in Power Metal History, if not Heavy Metal History. With his band, Gamma Ray, releasing their tenth studio album “To The Metal”, on January 29, 2010, on Earmusic, the legacy only grows stronger for this living legend of Heavy Metal.
Kai Hansen is a lead vocalist, lead guitarist, lyricist, song writer and arguably one of, if not “the” Founding Father of European Power Metal. To state that Kai Hansen is an important and historic figure to the world of Heavy Metal is justified, his music resume is undisputed. What has impressed me even more about Kai Hansen, besides his brilliant Heavy Metal career and launching European Power Metal through the stratosphere, is that he carried an interview as a true gentleman, a musician who is not looking for bragging rights or staking claim to fame. This is a musician who knows his accomplishments and has every right to be proud of them. Kai Hansen recently took time from his filled schedule to talk to Hard Rock Hideout, this is what he had to say:
HRH: Is Gamma Ray more tight than ever as a band, it sure sounds that way to me on “To The Metal”.
Kai: Absolutely! I think so, absolutely. With our friendship, there is no need to discuss songs anymore, we have enough chemistry, therefore, there is no need to argue. We’re good old boys, you know? We each know each other so well and know what the other is thinking.
HRH: “To The Metal” is as potent and powerful as any Gamma Ray album ever made. Truthfully, how much fun was this album to create?
Kai: I’m very happy with this new album. Everything just went smooth and it was a very relaxed process. There was never much doubt about the songs at all. Making “To The Metal” was a growing process, especially when the record company, (SPV), went bankrupt. There was a slow down for awhile, then things got resolved. Eventually it was a very good process still. The break for us did the album some good, it gave us a chance to let things settle down a bit and take time to reflect.
HRH: The song “To The Metal” is Old School genius, what’s the story behind it?
Kai: “To The Metal” was born when I was jamming around on guitar in rehearsal rooms, while I was playing riffs. Dani, (Daniel Zimmermann/drummer), heard these riffs and we both said this is a Metal hymn. Dani started jamming on it, he could feel it, then things started to roll from there. “To The Metal” is a song about Metal itself. Metal has been around for such a long time, Metal is very much like a dragon with many heads and when one gets cut off, it grows a new head!
HRH: “No Need To Cry” is an amazing example of healing personal loss through music. How proud is Gamma Ray of this exceptional song?
Kai: There are actually two songs on this album like this. “Mother Angel” and “No Need To Cry”. Music is a good outlet to get over a loss. Music is something that is very touching and helps me to get out my emotion and what I’m feeling inside. “Mother Angel” was written for my Mother who passed away a couple of years ago. “Mother Angel” is my way of talking to my Mother now.
HRH: “Rise” is a song that resonates with high emotion. Is this your favorite style of song to sing?
Kai: It depends on the song and which way the song goes. I always have a lot of emotion when I sing. This song has a “let’s go attitude” and “break free”… “rise”.
HRH: Your song “To Mother Earth” from the album “Land Of The Free II” comes to my thoughts each time I see the news footage of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf Coast. What are your thoughts?
Kai: Well, it is something. It doesn’t take a very wise man to think about these things. It was bound to happen anyways, especially after the Exxon Valdez disaster happened years ago. It’s a shame. It’s too bad really.
HRH: Do you stay in touch with Ralf Scheepers? (Former/original Gamma Ray vocalist & current Primal Fear vocalist).
Kai: We talk on the phone a lot and send emails back and forth all the time. We meet up at festivals and drink beers together. We are very good friends always!
HRH: What festival is your favorite to play?
Kai: Wacken. I grew up with this Wacken Festival, it’s my hometown. I’ve seen the Wacken Festival grow from a small festival with cows grazing nearby to the very large festival it is today. There would be two hundred to three hundred people at the Wacken Festival in the early days.
HRH: Do you have any personal memories of Ronnie James Dio you would like to share?
Kai: We once toured with Dio for a few shows, when I was with Helloween. I was amazed by Ronnie’s presence on stage and his voice, he was a giant! When I heard the news of his passing, I put on some Dio music and reflected on those moments I was with him on tour.
HRH: What’s it like to collaborate on a project with Tobias Sammet?
Kai: Toby? Toby is one of the greatest guys I ever worked with so far. I know him from when Gamma Ray played around his hometown, he would come to all of our shows! Here was this little boy, giving me his demo’s and asking me lot’s of questions. Toby’s demo’s reminded me of a cross between Helloween and Blind Guardian, not bad music at all. I didn’t like the name of his band Edguy back then though! I said, if your gonna make it, you have to change that F’n name! Being funny is a part of Toby and Edguy is a funny name for his band. Toby really made it and made it in a good way.
HRH Note: Kai Hansen was a guest-lead guitarist on Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia album, “The Scarecrow”, released in 2008 on Nuclear Blast Records.
HRH: Will Gamma Ray be headed to the States in 2010?
Kai: We are at the moment, looking at September. The plans are on the table but it’s too early for details right now. Our agency is on track though for this to happen. Our fans can check out our website and MySpace for updates on Gamma Ray’s tour schedule for America and abroad.
HRH: What is Kai Hansen’s most proud musical achievement?
Kai: Well, I cannot pin it down to just one song or one album. I’m happy with everything I’ve done so far. Having been a part of Helloween and witnessing this band becoming so big. Then, starting something new with Gamma Ray and twenty years later both bands are still so strong. My band Gamma Ray delivering songs to people for twenty years, that they can take and enjoy, is something very special to me.
When a band’s past involves releasing quality Rock and Hard Rock Music that has been embraced by a generation of fans, such as Giant, the inspiration to carry on and release more music is inevitable. The new Giant album, “Promise Land”, released on February 26, 2010 on Frontiers Records, proves to be 13 songs that have been worth the wait for longtime fans. Original Giant members, drummer David Huff and bass guitarist Mike Brignardello are still in place, carrying on the melodic Rock and Hard Rock sound that features new lead vocalist Terry Brock (Strange Ways, Seventh Key) and John Roth (Winger) on guitars. Longtime Giant loyalists should be happy to know, that original lead vocalist Dann Huff has taken part in this new Giant album, co-writing with fellow band members the songs: “Our Love”, “Double Trouble”, “Plenty Of Love” and “Save Me”. Dann Huff also added to “Promise Land”, two songs from his very own catalog – “Through My Eyes” and “Two Worlds”. Both of these songs were co-written withMark Spiro.
As I listened to “Promise Land” the first few times through, I realized that this album gains strength and momentum with each song. “Through My Eyes” is as solid of a “hit” song my ears have ever listened to. The lyrics and overall melodic enthusiasm that this song bestows manifests itself with an almost magical brilliance. Terry Brock has proven to this lifelong Rock ‘N’ Roll junkie that he has vocals to applaud on “Through My Eyes”… and the remaining 12 songs on “Promise Land” as well.
“I’ll Wait For You” brings back those delicious late 1980’s good-times memories of having no real cares in the world. A song to crank up loud, with the windows down, as you are taking that much longed for ride to the beach this Summer. Wait a second, this entire “Promise Land” album should be cranked up loud on that cool Summer ride to anywhere! Forget calling this new Giant album “feel-good”… it shall be called, “feel-very-good”.
“Never Surrender” is a song that explodes with inspiring melodic Rock and lyrics, coupled with fabulous background vocal harmonies and Terry Brocks’s felt lined vocals. As an added bonus, John Roth is simply excellent on guitar, adding a very heavy solo into the mix that makes “Never Surrender” rise to the top. “Our Love” is a heart strengthening ballad that is sure to make the girls cry and have the guys going out to buy flowers for their sweethearts. Be forewarned, before you listen to “Our Love”, you just might find your romantic soul melting from the seams during this emotional and powerful ballad. If a band can execute a ballad right, regardless of how high the sappy meter goes, then all the power to them. Giant has delivered THE ballad here. If anyone reading this falls in love due to “Our Love”, don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger.
“Love” seems to be a reoccurring theme in the songs heard on “Promise Land” and why not? With all of the evil junk going on in the world today, listening to this new Giant album is a cool detour to take in getting away from the depressing cable and nightly news. “Prisoner Of Love” is an up-tempo Power Ballad that you might just find yourself singing along to. Need not worry though… it’s o.k. to sing aloud to this song or the entire album, Stone says so.
“Two Worlds Collide” and “Plenty Of Love” are two songs that makes me reflect on those “glory days” of late ’80’s arena concerts. You remember those nights? It was a time when you could actually mark your calendar for each weekend of the year for a major concert. These two songs are melodic Rockers on “Promise Land” that makes me call out to Giant and say… when will there be a “Promise Land II”? Giant is BACK, with some originality intact, new vocal strength, new guitar magic and more than enough Rockin’ talent to convince this Rockaholic they are the real deal… once again.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Believer (Redux)
02. Promise Land
03. Never Surrender
04. Our Love
05. Prisoner Of Love
06. Two Worlds
07. Plenty Of Love
08. Through My Eyes
09. I’ll Wait For You
10. Dying To See You
11. Double Trouble
12. Complicated Man
13. Save Me
Terry Brock – vocals
John Roth – guitars
Mike Brignardello – bass
David L. Huff – drums
KROKUS – Established in 1975, Krokus is a Hard Rock band synonymous with good times and Old School. Despite lineup changes within the Krokus camp over the decades, Marc Storace is the front man who has given this band it’s vocal identity. Along with being the lead vocalist for the most prominent Rock ‘N’ Roll Band ever imported from Switzerland, Marc Storace is a musician, lyricist and song writer as well. Krokus is without doubt, one of the most flamboyant, successful and commercially accessible heavy bands, to lay claim of making the 1980’s a Hard Rockin’ decade to remember.
With the classic Krokus lineup of Marc Storace, Chris Von Rohr, Fernando Von Arb, Mark Kohler and Freddy Steady reunited once again and the March 2, 2010 release of their new, critically acclaimed Hard Rock gem – Hoodoo, (released on Sony), Marc Storace and his band mates are back on top of the Hard Rock world once again. Marc took the time out of his hectic schedule recently, to talk to Hard Rock Hideout. Marc was graciously amicable and very proud of where Krokus has been, from those memorable 1980’s to present day. Here is what Marc had to say:
HRH: Can “Rock ‘N’ Roll Handshake” be considered a brotherhood song amongst the members of Krokus?
Marc: Of course it can! The lyrics are all about us. Or, the lyrics can be used for any situation where there is brotherhood. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Handshake” is breaking the fight with an old song and it symbolizes our reunion. We had done a three minute medley from our “Metal Rendezvous” album, it was on Swiss television for a show called “Biggest Swiss Hits”. This performance of this three minute medley had the studio become a ballroom of mayhem! At the end, we all slapped each other on the backs and gave each other “Rock ‘N’ Roll handshakes”! It was definitely burying the hatchet.
HRH: The power ballad in Heavy Music is either a smash or trash, there’s no in between. What is the secret formula for Krokus always landing a smash power ballad like “Ride Into The Sun”?
Marc: You have to be careful not to sound too mushy or sweet, with your emotions as a singer you have to be careful. There is a fine balance to keep emotions and let people hear the blues in the ballad. With “Ride Into The Sun” there is more of a self portrait in there with God and humankind, it’s more philosophical. Due to the tempo of this song, there is more space for emotions. Aggression always has to be done in a more powerful and gigantic way within a song. As with “Ride Into The Sun”, in the studio we do comparison testing of a song, to see if we all agree, our saying is “the zeppelin is leaving the ground”!
HRH: All eleven songs on “Hoodoo” are prime cuts and vintage Krokus. How many other songs are there that could have made it on “Hoodoo”?
Marc: Two or more at least could have made it on “Hoodoo”, you always have to be ready and have that extra bullet in your belt. Music and song writing was better in the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s. As time went by, there seemed to be less and less great songs out there. It’s always better to have more great songs because you never know who is going to come knocking at the door for another. Chris Von Rohr (bass & backing vocals), produced this album. Fernando (Fernando Von Arb/lead guitarist & backing vocals) and I entrusted him to produce “Hoodoo”. The whole album has a big and warm sound and feel to it. Traditional and classical amps were used to capture the right sound, Fender and Les Paul. “Hoodoo” was done on analog, 32 tracks. Dennis Ward, our engineer, worked this new album like easy meat with Pro Tools. With Chris’s guidance and Dennis’s engineering, a lot was done in one afternoon’s work.
HRH: Can America expect a Krokus tour in 2010?
Marc: The important question for us is, can supply meet demand? Honestly, it takes a lot of time and money to fly over to America. This time around, we are building our tour in Europe for the first time and we’ll take it from there. There was the time years ago, where we started our tour in America. If we can sell a lot of albums in America and the demand is there for us, then that would be great. We can never forget how good the U.S.A. has been to Krokus, American fans made Krokus in the ’80’s.
HRH: “Too Hot” is an all-out, pump-you-up and psyche-you-out, Hard Rockin’ song. Who or what was the inspiration for this unreal cool song?
Marc: Actually, this is the only song that I composed alone at home with my guitar. I had two sets of lyrics and two sets of ideas that I took to the band. Chris and Fernando got involved with the music, while Mark (Mark Kohler/rhythm guitarist) worked on the title and chorus. “Too Hot” took on a totally different shape at the end. We kept the chorus and the main skeleton of the lyrics throughout though. Fernando and Chris caught onto this song right away. “Too Hot” will be our second music video! It’s a trashy video, if you like. A gorilla/student video team made it for us, it was a chance of a lifetime for them to get their career off the ground. The video was shot at a big bike festival in Alsfeld, Germany. There was ten different takes on this video, it was amazing. It was a good time hanging out with biker fans. The “Too Hot” video has hot girls, hot bikes and hot Rock ‘N’ Roll!
HRH: Check out the “Too Hot” video below!
HRH: “Born To Be Wild” is yet another memorable and Hard Rockin’ cover song by Krokus. Would you and the band ever consider doing an all covers album?
Marc: I don’t think it’s the “in thing” to do in the industry. We do have a collection of cover songs though, that we play when there is time to kill. These songs were great to play in the very beginning of our reunion, they got our spirits high and helped us get that feel of each other again. We jammed to The Who, Free, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. These bands are all in common with us five band members and there are lot’s of songs from them we all love, it’s like, which one’s do we play actually? I need a lot of room to endow a song with my ideas while not destroying it either. I like to take a song a step further through energy and rearrangement. Some songs are almost too holy to cover, like a sacrilege to cover, “Stairway To Heaven” is a good example.
HRH: With the classic Krokus lineup reunited and your new album “Hoodoo” kicking the fans asses worldwide, after thirty years is this the best of times for Krokus?
Marc: Let’s say so far we want to keep it going! Since we released “Hoodoo” we have had gold and platinum selling success. In eight weeks since the European release we have had great concerts, with four sold out ice hockey stadiums. The Krokus reunion is like a team of music. This is the 1982 “One Vice At A Time” lineup doing it again and it’s not to be taken for granted. Were humbled. We are a really a Blues Rock Band and Krokus has been faithful to this all these years. Back in the 1980’s, the music was colorful, melodic and people were happy. Krokus was a part of that. The 1980’s was a magical time, Krokus shared the charts with Michael Jackson, with his “Thriller” album being #1 and that was amazing! Going through the whole musical scene back then, things were really happening and it was the zenith of our career. Looking back on the “Headhunter” album and touring with Def Leppard, filling out stadiums, it was the Old School days. The ’80’s was the land of freedom for Krokus in America!
DANZIG – Glenn Danzig is BACK! DANZIG will be touring in support of their upcoming studio album – Deth Red Sabaoth, to be released on June 22, 2010, on Evilive/The End Records. Here are the June 2010 concert tour dates! Nine cities in all!
June 15 – Norva, Norfolk, VA
June 16 – The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC
June 18 – Nokia Theatre, New York, NY
June 19 – Trocadero Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
June 21 – House of Blues, Boston, MA
June 24 – Knitting Factory, Boise, ID
June 25 – Knitting Factory, Reno, NV
June 26 – Nokia – Los Angeles, CA
June 27 – Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA
Glenn Danzig – vocals
Tommy Victor (Prong & Ministry) – guitar
Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative & Seventh Void) – drums
Steve Zing ( SAMHAIN original member) – bass
Track Listing For Deth Red Sabaoth:
Hammer Of The God
On A Wicked Night
Deth Red Moon
Ju Ju Bone
Night Star Hel
Pyre Of Souls: Incanticle
Pyre Of Souls: Seasons Of Pain
Left Hand Rise Above
Album cover artwork is by award winning artist – Joe Chiodo.
VINCE NEIL – “TATTOOS & TEQUILA” IS A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RIDE TO TAKE!
By now, anyone who is unfamiliar with Vince Neil should put on their long sleeve turtleneck shirt and head out to their chess club tournament. Motley Crue can boast having the flamboyant, colorful and yes, vocally talented Vince Neil fronting their band going on three decades strong. So what is Vince Neil to do, since he has more than likely seen, heard and tasted it all? Make another solo album of course! After two previous solo studio albums and one live release, Vince Neil is not out to reinvent the Rock ‘N’ Roll wheel with Tattoos & Tequila… instead he is presenting an album to us, the fans, that is chock full of songs that apparently have influenced Vince Neil over his storied Hard Rockin’ career.
Vince Neil sounds as flamboyant and spirited as ever on his new album, exercising the knack for making these cover songs come to life in a fun and good times way. Cover songs can sometimes lead to the land of yawn… not quite so with Tattoos & Tequila, (to be released on Frontiers Records, June 22, 2010). Then again, what more could I have expected from Vince Neil? His voice alone sets the tone that I’m listening to some real deal Hard Rock, as only an Old School legend could deliver. Tattoos & Tequila may not go down as being the best album of 2010, still I will have it nailed down as one of the most fun and cool albums to listen to this year.
If life is about song and song is about life, then Vince Neil is telling his story, his way, through Tattoos & Tequila. A Rock ‘N’ Roll lifestyle that covers thirty years can be quite the impressive and roller coaster story, Vince Neil gives his fans a peek into his, through songs that may actually surprise you. “Viva Las Vegas” is one song I never gave a second thought to when it comes to Hard Rock or Heavy Metal and obviously Vince Neil has! Originally recorded by the late and ever legendary Elvis Presley, “Viva Las Vegas” is taken to harder and heavier heights like never before.
“Bitch Is Back” Rocks period… for Elton John intended so. Vince Neil just adds his trademark vocals and with a scorching band behind him, “Bitch Is Back” is just that… back! “Who Will Stop The Rain” is a Creedence Clearwater Revival classic of classics. Vince Neil sings this song with convincing reverence, I can’t help but salute the way this great song has been covered by Vince and his band. I will readily admit, that Jeff “Blando” Bland on guitar is a treat to listen to throughout this entire album. Dana Strum on bass and Zoltan Chaney on drums more than add the utmost credibility to every song on this album.
If there is to be that one cover song on Tattoos & Tequila that just explodes with instant relevance and pumped up Hard Rock thunder, it’s “Long Cool Woman”. Vince Neil gives The Hollies the greatest compliment for their song, by adding to it more raw emotion and just making it a hit once again. I wonder aloud to myself, at just how important it is to have a musical mind like Jack Blades at your side in producing an album of any Rock genre. Vince Neil and Jack Blades obviously clicked together, in making songs like “Long Cool Woman” very cool again in 2010.
Tattoos & Tequila uncoils twelve songs, ten covers and two new tracks. The two new songs are “Tattoos & Tequila” and “Another Bad Day”. “Tattoos & Tequila” is by far, the heaviest song on this album, with a large dose of Hard Rock relevance, Vince Neil impresses with his vocals, as so too his band. “Another Bad Day” is an up-tempo power ballad that radiates hints of Motley Crue from every angle and glistens with all the specialness of late 1980’s Arena Rock splendor. In my Metal opinion, “Another Bad Day” is a hit, a song that I have admittedly hit the repeat play button for numerous times over.
Originally written by Nikki Sixx, “Another Bad Day” just missed the cut for making it onto the Motley Crue album – “New Tattoo”, released in 2000. Vince Neil definitely made the right Rock ‘N’ Roll move to bring this song to light a decade later and deliver it to the fans… straight from the heart.
After repeated listens to Tattoos & Tequila, it would have been great if Vince Neil had added a couple more new songs to this album. With that said, it is apparent that there is some motivation within Vince Neil to come up with new solo material, let’s hope the future may dictate a full length studio album of just that, from this Heavy Music icon.
Life long Motley Crue fans, Hair Metal, Hard Rock and 1980’s mainstream Heavy Metal fans should easily absorb their ears into Tattoos & Tequila and walk away with a big grin on their face. It would not surprise me in the least, if Vince Neil recruits many new fans to his music and persona due to Tattoos & Tequila. This is an album that tantalizes with new material and dominates with enticing cover songs… while making the loud impression that Vince Neil is a true fan of Rock Music’s roots.
Rating: Out of 10
- Tattoos & Tequila
- He’s A Whore
- Nobody’s Fault
- Another Bad Day
- No Feelings
- Long Cool Woman
- Another Piece Of Meat
- Who Will Stop The Rain
- Viva Las Vegas
- Bitch Is Back
Vince Neil Band is:
Vince Neil – Vocals
Dana Strum – Bass
Jeff Blando – Guitars
Zoltan Chaney – Drums
DoomDogs – Debut Album Is A Stoner & Doom Metal Invasion From Sweden!
DoomDogs – Watch out, look behind you… it’s a Stoner & Doom Metal charge coming straight at you… and their name is DoomDogs! Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, these four Metal musicians are crunching and thumping their way into many a Metalhead’s heart… including mine. DoomDogs are not fashion conscious about their brand of Metal… it’s Doom shaking Metal hands with Stoner – thy Metal will be done. Released on April 20, 2010, on High Roller Records, “DoomDogs” is a must own album this year and I shall tell you why!
“Fight The Greed” is a Doom epic, laced with all the Stoner thickness that I could ever wish for. At over eight minutes long, listening to this song is a lesson in dark, doomified Metal therapy. The tempo trudges along at a Metal snails pace, a sliver hint of some Sludge Metal happening here too. Lead vocalist GG sounds extremely determined, not about to hold out the olive branch to the mainstream either… instead he sounds like he is leading his troops on a journey to take over the continents with DoomDogs Metal gospel. Hey, my Metal front door is open to DoomDogs brand of Doom & Stoner and I’m an eager enlister into their fold.
“Dogs Of Doom” steps up the Metal tempo, with shades of early Motorhead, just as any and all of the press releases have been reporting. My opinion is simple, if you want to have a heavy influence within the framework of your Metal brand in 2010, then Motorhead is one damn good influential choice indeed. “Dogs Of Doom” embellishes a surprisingly melodic flair with its guitar leads and riffs, courtesy of Christer. This is a guitarist that should make living legend Tony Iommi (of Black Sabbath) blush with old school pride.
“Calling” takes no Metal prisoners with its angst ridden vocals from GG, the rhythm section crunches and obliterates any outside white noise that may have the audacity to interfere, while this song is being played loud. “Calling” is fundamentally a thunderous example of just how to establish an onslaught of Doom and Stoner Metal upon one’s ears. Patrik on bass plays as if his fingertips are being severed right off… oh, the fabulous sensory sound of quality Doom! Christer invades “Calling” with his blistering guitar licks, making this song all the more lean, dark and mean.
Nanne on drums makes his presence very known throughout DoomDogs debut album, only he sounds much more invigorated on “I’m Sure”, where he flourishes with bombastic beats that rhythmically stop my senses in their Metal tracks. The groove infliction that “I’m Sure” delivers is to be blamed on Nanne and Patrik on bass, how dare they play so good?!
“The Game” continues on with DoomDogs mixture of ear shocking Doom riffs and leads from Christer, while the undulation of grooves keep rolling in like runaway wrecking balls down a slick mountain slope. I don’t need no Doom doctor! Keep the Metal launching pad clear for DoomDogs… they are striking out once again on “Shout”. The old school guitar nod from Christer shall make any 1970’s Heavy Metal aficionado overcome with Stoner bliss. Christer is set loose on “Shout” and his guitar solo could very well make your surroundings shake and tremble if this song is played at maximum volume… as it should be played.
There is no time for kidding around when it comes to establishing yourself as a legitimate Metal band, regardless of genre. DoomDogs are NOT kidding around here. If you were to see an enticing wad of cash, without no known ownership attached to it, laying in the street, would you pick it up? Of course you would. DoomDogs is this wad of cash, only they are not laying in the street… they are embarking on making themselves known to the world of Metal, that they have taken ownership of their brand of Doom and Stoner Metal. This is one heavy band that you should “pick up” and get your ears adjusted to very soon… otherwise you just might find yourself being behind the Metal eight ball, in a spell of dizzying embarrassment.
You can pick up the new CD from the DoomDogs at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Fight the Greed (8:41)
2. Dogs of Doom (4:22)
3. The Game (5:55)
4. I’m Sure (6:47)
5. Calling (9:02)
6. Shout (8:32)
Doom Dogs are:
Tomas “GG” Eriksson – Vocals
Christer – Guitars
Patrik – Bass
Nanne – Drums