[Classic_Rock_Forever] Guns N Roses, Thin Lizzy, Motley Crue, ICed Earth, The Cult, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


Seminal rock icons GUNS N' ROSES are set to invade New York during fashion week with a series of intimate shows then continue with additional stops through the northeast, announced today. Six shows confirmed so far including the historic return to The Ritz (now Webster Hall), 24 years after the filming of their heralded "Live At The Ritz" — the MTV concert continues to be one of the most sought after trades in bootleg circles. For the Webster Hall date, GN'R will celebrate their return by reclaiming the venue as The Ritz with signage and the name appearing on the marquee. The New York takeover in February marks the first time the band will appear at Roseland and Terminal 5, beginning on February 10, 2012. Full list of dates below.

Ticket presale is set for Tuesday, January 31 at 10:00 a.m. ET for the New York run, public on-sale is Wednesday, February 1. Chicago, Silver Spring and Atlantic City presale is Wednesday, February 1 at 10:00 a.m. EST, with public on-sale Friday, February 3. Tickets and VIP packages for all six dates will be available at GunsNRoses.com.

Tour dates:

February 10 - Roseland Ballroom - New York, NY
February 12 - Terminal 6 - New York, NY
February 15 - The Ritz (Webster Hall) - New York, NY
February 19 - House of Blues - Chicago, IL
February 23 - The Fillmore - Silver Spring, MD
February 24 - House of Blues - Atlantic City, NJ

GUNS N' ROSES last month completed its first U.S. tour since 2006.

In addition to sole original member Axl Rose, the current lineup of GUNS N' ROSES includes guitarists Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, Richard Fortus and DJ Ashba, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer.

"Chinese Democracy", the 2008 album released by the current edition of GUNS N' ROSES after a 15-year wait, was officially certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 3, 2009 for shipments in the United States in excess of one million copies. The long-in-the-making, 14-song CD finally arrived 17 years after the last full-length collections of original GUNS material, "Use Your Illusion I" and "II", were released, and nine years after the non-album track "Oh My God" surfaced on the soundtrack of the movie "End Of Days".

"Chinese Democracy" was made available exclusively through Best Buy.
The death of Thin Lizzy's legendary Phil Lynott 26 years ago plunged the rock world into mourning. Here the band's new singer Ricky Warwick tells Nathan Bevan how getting the call to front his childhood musical heroes proved to be a double-edged sword
IT'S never easy when bands decide to go on after their iconic frontman departs for that great gig in the sky.
The Doors tried it after Jim Morrison expired in a Paris bathtub in 1971, hooking up with The Cult's similarly shamanic Ian Astbury decades later to mixed results.
And look at Queen, doggedly adhering to the title of their 1991 track The Show Must Go On despite most fans wondering how enlisting gruff-voiced former Free star Paul Rogers could ever measure up to the dearly departed Freddie Mercury's operatic warbling.
Certainly, the problem's not lost on Ricky Warwick either, the Northern Ireland rocker having been asked to step into the capacious shoes of his childhood idol Phil Lynott in fronting the latest incarnation of Thin Lizzy, the band that helped him through a tough upbringing in Northern Ireland.
"Scott Gorham (the band's veteran guitarist) called me up to ask if I'd do it and I found myself saying 'yes' before he'd even got the words out," laughs the heavily tattooed singer, best known for fronting Scottish headbangers The Almighty.
"But it wasn't long afterward that the enormity of the task hit me and I thought, 'Oh my God, what have I taken on here?'"
He adds that filling the hole left by Lynott – the legendary hard-living rocker of Irish and Afro-Guyanese descent who died from pneumonia and septicemia in 1986, aged just 36 – was never going to be an option for him.
"I was, and still am, fully aware of how much Phil still means to everyone," says Warwick.
"He was irreplaceable and all I can do really is go up there each night, try to be my own man and hope some of that magic rubs off.
"We are paying tribute to Phil but that doesn't mean Thin Lizzy 2012 is a tribute band, we're trying to move things forward a little bit too.
"I told Scott and the rest of the guys from the very start that if doing this felt weird or uncomfortable for me in anyway then I wouldn't do it.
"As a life-long fan, this band means way too much to me."
The 45-year-old smiles when he talks about how Lynott, with his afro hair, leather garb and natural swagger, had been a revelation to him growing up in County Down.
"I was just a farmer's son, so Phil looked to me like he's just stepped off a spaceship," says Warwick.
"It was mind-blowing to think he was one of us, and watching people him, Georgie Best, Hurricane Higgins and The Undertones have all that success gave every kid round my way hope that they could make something of themselves too."
Growing up at the height of The Troubles, classic Lizzy tracks like Whiskey in The Jar, Dancing In The Moonlight and Waiting For An Alibi provided a much-needed refuge from the reality of his surroundings.
"Of course I was affected by what was going on – seeing armed soldiers in the streets, rioting, getting searched going into shops, hearing explosions while you're lying on your bed – but after a while it becomes the norm, " Warwick sighs.
"The likes of Phil showed us things could be different if we wanted them to be, and we were all fiercely proud of him for doing that."
And he says he'll never forget the night when all the talk and the planning came to fruition, standing expectantly backstage prior to his debut gig with Lynott's band at a sold-out 2,000 seater venue in Aberdeen this time last year.
"I'd never been so bloody nervous in all my life," he laughs.
"The fact it was a full-house just made it worse as well, because the audience was clearly just there to check me out and see if I was going to turn out to be a complete train wreck.
"But after the first three or four songs you could actually feel their anticipation slowly fade as they started relaxing and enjoying themselves.
"It was really satisfying to see."
And Warwick adds that, while the bands upcoming Cardiff gig might be his first on Welsh soil fronting Thin Lizzy, he's well versed in this country's touring circuit, no matter how small or out of the way avenue it might be.
"Oh God, I've been all over – I went through a real travelling troubadour stage once where I'd throw my guitar and some clothes in the back of my car and go do gigs at any place that would have me.
"Take The Railway Inn in Johnston, Pembrokeshire – you might only be able to get 100 people in there to watch you, but it's a great pub run by lovely people who really look after their acts.
"So it doesn't matter whether I play to a handful or locals or 15,000 people supporting Def Leppard in the the States, it's all about the experience and the connection you make with the crowd."
And it was the connection he made with one person in particular that's meant more to Warwick than any other so far.
"Phil Lynott's mum was there when Lizzy played Dublin in 2011.
"And, after the show, she pulled me aside and gave me a kiss and a big hug," he beams.
"She said that Phil would have been extremely proud of my performance, which was totally amazing to hear.
"It's the only validation I ever needed really," adds Warwick.
Thin Lizzy play St David's Hall, Cardiff on Wednesday. Call the box office on 029 2087 8444 for tickets
MÖTLEY CRÜE recently became the first hard rock band to sign a short-term residency at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The CRÜE will play a three-week series of four-night concerts a week at the off-Strip casino starting on February 3 and running through February 19.

In a brand new posting on his Twitter profile, MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx wrote, "We're looking for an angry midget for our Vegas shows and was thinking of using the singer from GODSMACK."

Sixx's comments were undoubtedly fueled by his ongoing war of words with GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna reportedly wrote the band's song "Cryin' Like A Bitch" about Sixx after the two musicians clashed during the 2009 Crüe Fest 2 tour, on which GODSMACK was a support act and CRÜE was the headliner.

When asked directly if the track was written about Sixx, Erna told Albany, New York's Q103 radio station, "It's very difficult for me to restrain myself from answering that question because as honest as I'd like to be, the other side of me doesn't want to give anybody the extra exposure, even if it's negative. So, I'm just gonna plead the fifth."

Back in May, Sixx had the following to say regarding Erna's complaints about how GODSMACK was treated on the Crüe Fest 2 tour, "Every person — from road crew, fans and even all the bands on the tour (including [Sully's] band) — was so happy, but [Erna] just seems to be crying like a bitch," Sixx replied. "Funny, even his manager told me he's an asshole... Maybe the problem is just in HIS head... I got no problem with him."

Erna admitted in a webisode for the band's fifth studio album, "The Oracle", that "Cryin' Like A Bitch" was inspired by events of Crüe Fest 2. Sully told Artisan News Service at the time, "There's definitely been some rock-star garbage on this tour that we just have never seen in our career . . . this was the first time that I felt like, 'You know what?! If there's gonna be some people that are gonna treat other people a certain way, then I'm gonna go out there every night and . . . make sure that we make you look old and fat, and go home with a nice big fat paycheck."

Samples of some of the lyrics on "Cryin' Like A Bitch" include lines like: "Strut on by like a king/Telling everybody they know nothing/Long lived what you thought you were/Time ain't on your side anymore"

Speaking to Tricia Weight (a.k.a. A Geek Girl) of "Interviews From The Edge" during last year's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, GODSMACK drummer Shannon Larkin stated about the inspiration for "Cryin' Like A Bitch", "Several things actually happened [during that tour], honestly. You know, the rest of the band... we get along great with [other MÖTLEY CRÜE members] Mick Mars, Tommy Lee. I got along great with Nikki Sixx. In fact, he had called me over to catering one time and said would I like to play with his SIXX: A.M. [side project], on the record. And I was like, 'Yeah!' But then this was, like, three weeks into the tour, and then four weeks later, him and Sully had this clash. And it stemmed from [MÖTLEY CRÜE's] security, I think, more than Nikki, but you know, Nikki is the leader of the band. Basically, [it had to do with their] security throwing us off the stage... whatever... It was a bunch of ego shit that none of us really got into. But MÖTLEY CRÜE kind of acted like... Well, their security, in any event... they were real weird with our guests getting backstage, like our guests might want to look at MÖTLEY CRÜE. Our guests were there to see us and they didn't care a shit about MÖTLEY CRÜE. And MÖTLEY CRÜE is a legendary band that we all respect. When I was 17, I had 'Shout At The Devil' and all that, hell yeah! But it just kind of fronted us a little that they would think that our guests would be star-struck over them. And half the time these were people I've known for 30 years — [and they] can't even get backstage because MÖTLEY CRÜE doesn't want people back or whatever. So that's where the bad blood came from. And then Sully runs his mouth, Nikki runs his mouth… They're both big rock stars. Next thing you know, it's a battle in the press."
This man needs little introduction, with a career which has spanned over a quarter century, in such renowned outfits as Iced Earth, Demons & Wizards and Sons of Liberty, he has created some of the most remarkable albums in the history of Heavy Metal.
Passionate and outspoken in everything he does, he is someone who can easily stir people's emotions with both his music and words.
And, only a few months after the release of  Iced Earth's tremendous metal oeuvre "Dystopia", Sons of Liberty launching the "Spirit Of The Times" EP in December and now, mere days away from the most extensive world tour in Iced Earth's history (dates and tickets here), he was incredibly gracious enough to slip away from his extremely hectic schedule to speak with me.
To say I thoroughly enjoyed the thought provoking conversation we had is an understatement, I wish both him and the band well as they venture out to reconquer the world!
ThrashHead:I wanted to go back a little to the beginning before you became the rock legend that you are now. Everybody knows that when you were at a young age you took off from Indiana to Florida in search of becoming a rock n roll musician and I just wanted to know, what was the lure of rock n roll to you which made you just go for it?
Jon: You know, I became a music fan at a very, very young age, I got Kiss "Alive" the day it was released, I was seven years old and then I got to see them live, which was 1979, when I got to see the show it was really a life changing event; that's when I decided that's what I wanted to do.
It took me several years to get a guitar, to convince my dad and then, about that time, I also discovered Iron Maiden and I knew for sure that was the direction that I musically wanted to go because I was just blown away by the songwriting, the tempo changes, just everything, the cool theatrics of Iron Maiden and all that, the speed and everything, it was a big deal.
I was an artist as a little kid, I would do a lot of painting and charcoal sketches and have always been very artistic; when I turned to music all my energy went that way.
ThrashHead: Before this amazing journey even began, did you ever think you were destined to become one of the greatest musicians in metal history, in a band which can be considered right up there with Iron Maiden, when people speak of Iced Earth, you are in the same level as Iron Maiden, perhaps even more so considering this latest album of yours sticks so true to the essence of what is Iced Earth...did you ever imagine you'd be where you are now?
Jon: No man, not really, of course we had big dreams, and that's quite a compliment to say that, we're a much smaller band than Iron Maiden, but I know we have a very loyal, rabid fan base that is as equally loyal as the Maiden fans are and Kiss fans. In that regard, we feel very fortunate, but I didn't really...I have had blinders on for most of my life, constantly moving forward, it wasn't until really the last few years that I was able to take a step back and look at my career and actually be proud of what I've achieved with it and realize, putting it into perspective, how far I've actually come even though we didn't get as big as we wanted it to be.
But, there is always a lot of factors involved in that and that's the thing, I think, a lot of people don't really understand, especially fans, because, fans base their ideas about a band largely on the illusion of a band and not what the real workings of a band are...there's so many factors that have to fall into place in order to make things happen; everything from your road crew, to your management team, booking agents, your publicist, all these people that surround the band that nobody ever really sees have a lot to do with the whole machine moving forward. We have had a lot of issues in the past, so right now things are... the chemistry within the band is the best it's ever been, the crew around us, fairly new manager been around for three years, these things make a difference, and everything is really moving....I am not going to say perfectly, but it's moving in the right direction, so we're excited, it's a great time for Iced Earth.
ThrashHead: I think perhaps also why Maiden is still so huge, flying around in their own jumbo jet, is they came out at a time before we were saturated with music, labels just churning out digital release after digital release to see what sticks; bands were putting their best out and only the best survived. Maiden has almost decade on Iced Earth, when comparing both band's first releases, that's a lot of time.
Maybe today, a lot of great music gets lost in the inundation of crap and hype. Hypothetically, if Iced Earth had released an album in 1980 the band could have been much bigger, on equal par, it was a much better time than the decade which followed... the 90's were tough years for metal; and there is little doubt that you guys were probably the best, if not one of the best, bands to come out then...
Jon: It was definitely an uphill battle you're right about that.
ThrashHead: This latest release, how did you come to call it Dystopia, it's such an appropriate name for our time.
Jon: Yeah, seeing where the world is headed is pretty disturbing, and the things that our governments are up to, all the governments around the world. There is some really bad shit going on and when you really start to analyze and learn about it, it's clear that if we aren't living in Dystopia already, we're damn close; it's just around the corner... it's people, good people will raise up and stop this shit.
You know, the wars, the out of control spending; it's the debt slaves they've made us...it's really kind of out of control, there's some dark stuff going on. But you know, I wanted to make sure that the whole album wasn't doom and gloom and we put out a message of hope on the album that inspire people, to feel empowered because people have power, the system wants people to feel helpless and lost and weak and we're not, every individual has an incredible amount of strength and that's what songs like "Anthem" and "Iron Will" , "Tragedy and Triumph" are about...that's what we're trying to convey...
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, I believe that, underneath all the really heavy, heavy bad stuff that's going on, there is something bubbling that's going to come up and become pissed off and motivated enough to get involved. Is it going to be easy? Hell no, there is a hell of a struggle ahead of us.
ThrashHead: Let's talk about that, for a second, when was the moment when you truly woke up to the sociopolitical realities of the world? Do you remember the defining moment when the light just came on and you realized that both Generals Butler (War is a Racket) and Eisenhower's words were prophetic?
Jon: Yeah, it was when I finally took a vacation back in 2009 when I desperately needed it, I had never really taken a vacation; I took a month off, no computer, no cel phone, no contact with anybody but my family and it really was a big deal, it helped me re-connect. When I came back, I saw the MIAC reports and I was like: "What the fuck is this?"; it was a document from the Missouri Information Analysis Center which was basically saying that the federal government considers gun owners, ex-military, Christians, conservatives, libertarians, anti-war activists, Ron Paul supporters, Chuck Baldwin supporters; saying that these were potential terrorists by the federal government, I am like "What the fuck is going on here?!? This is really disturbing ". And to find out it was drafted under Bush and leaked under Obama, and I was like "Ok... yeah"; I was already pissed off about the bail out when I started reading a book called "The Creature from Jekyll Island "...
ThrashHead: That's the book by G. Edward Griffin right?
Jon: Yes, G. Edward Griffin, I'd say that was the moment and watching the "Obama Deception", which is one of Alex Jones' documentaries, it all kind of hit me like a ton of bricks, and this whole thing that I believed in...you know, because I've always been trapped in the American Revolution and the Civil War period, that's what I've been studying for most of my life. You walk around thinking that the Bill of Rights is still in effect...I didn't like the Patriot Act, I didn't like where a lot of things were going, but you really don't know until you get that knowledge about what the Federal Reserve system is and it all starts to make sense, it was devastating...at first.
Then Sons Of Liberty was a way to release that anger, I did that solo album and released it on the Alex Jones show, went down and met him and that was it; I was basically from that moment forward committed to this one thousand percent.
ThrashHead: To still exercise your first amendment freedoms while we have them then.
Jon: Yes, exactly.
ThrashHead: That's excellent, because it's absolutely necessary to question.
Why do you think people confuse patriotism with being faithful to a government rather than the Bill of Rights and that criticism of American government is unpatriotic?
Jon: Well, I think that's because there is such an intense level of propaganda and that people use the television as a weapon while others spend far too much time sitting in front of them being brainwashed and manipulated; you can't trust any of the corporate media, they are all fucking media whores they're not going to ever cover anything real, they spend time talking about who Brittney Spears is fucking or whatever, it's ridiculous, it's just a circus. Meanwhile, people are getting robbed, raped and the things which really matter are being destroyed; this is real shit that is happening and people are in a spell, the American people are largely walking around, whether it's a mixture from the effects of vaccines, all the pharmaceuticals, all the brainwashing on television, people have become so completely unhinged from reality and from their humanity that this thing, this beast, has been allowed to grow and grow and grow in the shadows and now it's emerging.
ThrashHead: Yeah, a recent article I did for ThrashHead touched on something similar to that; the United States is on the same road as previous empires where people became too comfortable, for us in our consumerism... most aren't really willing to take a stand for their rights and risk that "comfort".
Speaking of the media, I've always said that you really have to look at all media whether it's RT (Russian State controlled TV), videos from which people love to use on their social media pages to criticize the government, a hard rightwing, conservative propaganda machine like FOX or CNN for the yuppies who wish they had a soul or MSNBC which is just catering to the opposite of FOX for market share, in order to get that one tiny grain of Truth...
Jon: Yeah
... why do you think there aren't the likes of investigative journalist like Seymour Hersh, who broke the story on CIA Operation Chaos which lead to the Church Committee and the outing of MKULTRA, etc Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward in mainstream Media anymore? I mean the tabloid journalist who blew the whistle on phone hacking by News Corp in England, Sean Hoare, died and, at first, they called it a suicide, all media across the board didn't even blink an eye, to me it's like: "wait a minute, this guy is working with the biggest propaganda machine which essentially enabled the coup d'tat in 2000 simply kills himself while the investigation is underway? If that doesn't sound like a black op..." I would at least take the time to ask questions, but no one bothered...why do we lack this type of journalism?
Jon: Well, I think it's because everything is so corrupt and so controlled, the agenda is moving forward just the way the manipulators want it to.
Of course, anytime this kind of activity goes on, a vacuum is created and somebody is going to fill that vacuum, so now you got Luke Rudkowski and Alex Jones, whether you like his style or not that's one thing, but the information that he's putting out there is good for people to hear; whether they like to hear it or not is another matter.
There are a lot of guys who are coming up that see...like Jack Blood down in Texas, he's great, there's a lot of that, there's guys like me doing music, guys doing independent films and documentaries, because we realize once you see this for what it is... it's nefarious.
I don't care enough about materialism to be calmed like that, I think why a lot of these people in the media, these Bill O'Reillys, these kind of guys are just whores and they'll sell their souls for a Dollar and it doesn't have anything to do with integrity or journalism or anything...it's just the false reality maker. I agree with you there, that on the whole...but, someone like Judge Napolitano kicks ass, he's like the only person who talks that I trust; I've done an interview with him and he knows what's going on, he's the real deal... I'm surprised he's actually got a job.
It's probably the most evil of all the media machines because it is the conservative type of people who would stand up and resist if they could just snap out of their trance and FOX manipulates that conservative base into being war mongering, it's just a welfare/warfare state, I mean you got these supposed conservatives out there spending trillions of dollars for war...it's ridiculous, the whole thing is a fucking disgrace.
ThrashHead: Absolutely! The Patriot Act was passed, which was a complete travesty trampling on the Bill of Rights , and recently our President Barack "make no mistake" Obama vowed that he was going to veto the NDAA which could have been easily done since it's a Republican controlled congress; he could have sent it back and washed his hands of the whole things and said "Don't blame me if your civil liberties disappear", but he signed it anyway.
What are your thoughts about this National Defense Authorization Act?
Jon: It's treason, this whole gang of criminals with the exception of Ron Paul, he's the only guy I trust, I mean there are a couple good people in Congress, but not that many.. obviously; it's treason, that's the way I view it. I think politicians in Congress are largely all treasonous, traitorous pieces of shit. I know that's harsh rhetoric, but I'm sick of it, tired of this shit.
ThrashHead: You said you were really into the history of the American Civil War, and just continuing this line of discussion, do you think Europe is in a similar situation now as the U.S. just prior to the Civil War? Not so much as there being a risk of conflict, the Southern Nations are going to war with the Nations of the North, but rather because there are calls for a powerful central government to exert more control over the sovereignty of individual member states? The banks have already shown that they can force governments to be replaced by technocrats.
Jon: I think It's possible, when we were just on tour in Europe you could see in Italy and Spain were definitely suffering, and Greece too big time...we could see it directly in Italy and Spain in our ticket sales, they were way down, but the fans who were there were passionate as hell and they were great.
The thing is with the Greeks is that they won't show how bad things are, they'll scrape the money together. I mean you could see it around the city... the difference from when I was last there just a few years ago, businesses are closed everywhere and graffiti all over the place, it's really sad, those people are suffering.
So at some point the people are going to snap, and the Greeks are hot blooded as hell, you don't fuck with them, and they're being made out to be that it's all their fault, which is bullshit.
The problem is, people get sucked into this "the state will take care of you" trap, I think it's against human nature, but it's easy to get sucked into it...it's the bait. If you do, which I think they did to some degree, it's never going to turn out well.
We should be self-reliant, especially here in the United States, the whole idea was to be self-reliant, rugged individualism was the idea behind it; it's certainly become a collectivist society and that's always the step towards full blown tyranny.
I don't know, yeah Europe is in trouble, the currency, I think we are going to see some big things happen in February or March probably with the Euro.
ThrashHead: Possibly looking at a single European State sometime in the Future...
One last question about politics because I know you've really taken a stance and have been forthright with your views, especially those concerning the private financial institution known as the Federal Reserve which most Americans don't even realize is independent of American Government.
There are so many people who actually deny that it's possible that a group of people can get together just like friends at a BBQ and construct a strategy on foreign and domestic policy regardless of legislation or elected officials, how can you get through to people who are still blind to tell them that national sovereignty is of little or no importance anymore with regards to socio-economic policy that there is a group of people that can say "We need to open up the silk road. We need to get the resources in the Caspian sea. We need to have a long term policies to go after Iran, etc, etc" ? How do you reach those who say that such a thing is impossible.
Jon: You just keep at them, you are never going to get everybody to come over to the other side, and there has never been any big changes in any country in the history of the world that wasn't done by a small minority of people who are just not willing to quit, even these scumbag shadow government types, they are very small minority and they just don't stop.
So we have to have liberty minded people who have that same perseverance and tenacity. It gets frustrating, but you plant seeds every time you say something to somebody, it's like they can't un-hear it, on some level they are listening and it could be an event, something that happens in the news, whatever... they see it and start connecting the dots. I think it's a process, everybody are at different levels of what I call "the awakening".
Guys like Glenn Beck , who spoke a lot of the right language to the patriot movement, you could tell he is a Gatekeeper, a neo-con gatekeeper...he's driving people down the wrong path, people who are semi-awake, the tea party people, a lot of the original tea party people are very awake, the FOX NEWS created tea party is something very different.
You got the system up there demonizing the Occupy Movement, and trying to divide and conquer, they call them all communists and socialists and call the Tea Party racist right-wing extremists which is not true about either
In fact, we are finding, a lot of Tea Party guys have a lot in common with the Occupy people, because a many Tea Party people know about the Federal Reserve and they know how criminal Wall Street is. The people are speaking to each other, and we have to use the internet like it's going out of style, we have to use it as much as we can everyday to get real information out there because they are coming after that too...obviously
ThrashHead: Yes, with SOPA
Jon: Yeah, for sure, and they won't stop they'll just repackage it, or pull some false flag bullshit and shove it down our throats later on, they never stop, so the people in the liberty movement have got to be just as vigilant.
ThrashHead: Essentially we are in agreement... as you know, and perhaps music may not be the best analogy, our site is dedicated to both Hardcore Punk and Metal, stuff we grew up on, which early on were at odds with one another. But, quite quickly, one influenced the other; we got the birth of thrash on the metal side, and the birth of crust on the punk side, by joining two seemingly opposite musical genres we can sometimes get something that is both rejuvenating and spectacular.
I've written about the importance of cooperation on the site, to be conservative is not evil, to be liberal is not evil, what is evil is to be at each other's throats rather than finding common ground to defend the Constitution because there is, as you said, ideas concerning freedom that we all share... we all agree the Bill of Rights must be defended, rather than zeroing in on certain things like going "Obama Care", first and foremost join on what we can agree upon, restructure the government the way it was meant to be by getting rid of career politicians with term limits, illegalize lobbying, get rid of the Fed and perhaps, yeah, we'll end up bickering in congress again, but maybe the checks and balances system will work once more and we'll have a government which puts the people it serves first and foremost.
That's really awesome to hear that from you, that there is common ground on both ends of the political spectrum as long as we aren't distracted by the disinformation.
It's clear there is a message of awareness and defiance on Dystopia, as we've been discussing, especially on tracks like "Days of Rage". Before you went into the studio, did you have a clear vision of what you wanted this album to be...or did it simply evolve?
Jon: No, I had a very clear vision about it, you know the goals I set out was to... I don't know if you've ever heard the Sons of Liberty stuff, it's like a round house kick in the face, it's obvious what it's about, there's no question. This is a little more veiled, I don't really like to get political with Ice Earth, I never have...at the end of the day it's about entertainment, it's a metal band, and I always wanted to keep it down that road to give people an avenue of escape.
But things are getting so serious, I thought we could still get the important message out there and make it about certain movies, literature, even Something Wicked, my own story, there's a couple songs related to that also, it was really important for me to put some positive stuff in there and that was also decided very early on that I didn't want the whole thing to seem completely hopeless, so we had songs like "Anthem", "Tragedy and Triumph", "Iron Will" and those I hope are inspiring and somewhat empowering to people, because people are powerful, we really are, the human spirit is amazing, it's like it's being oppressed big time and people don't feel powerful and they need to because we are in trouble and it's only the human spirit which is going to save this whole situation.
ThrashHead: The song "Tragedy and Triumph" you mention closes out the album and it's a perfect ending because there is a message for humanity that we aren't going to become indentured servants to the machine. I noticed in my review there was a break to some of the Iced Earth stuff, and little more along what you might hear on Sons Of Liberty's "Brush-Fires of the Mind", as well as the latest "Spirit of the Times", it was just an awesome album.
Listening to it, I also heard how well Stu fits into Iced Earth, really incredible singing on his part; how did you guys get together?
Jon: Well, we met through the CEO of Century Media records. Robert Kampf told me about Stu, I had met Stu before, but he wasn't really on my radar for a vocalist, and Robert said "You might want to check this guy out". So, he showed me a couple of videos, and man, I was really impressed with the look in his eyes and the spirit behind those eyes, "he's got the right kind of controlled rage" I thought when I saw his videos with Into Eternity, and he had a wide ranged voice, I just didn't know if it was the right voice for Iced Earth so I had to get him behind a mic in my studio to see if I could produce him, see what kind of chemistry we had and it was...awesome!
Right from the gate, it was just meant to be, he fits the band like a glove, he's a great guy; great, positive force of energy and brings a lot to the table, he really helped with the writing, his vocal parts, we did a lot of that together, and that's something that hasn't' happened too much in the past; Stu has been more involved in his vocal parts than any singer before him, it helps with the pressure. For me, it's nice to have another guy, who is very capable with giant, really hooky, chorus parts and that kind of stuff, and you know, we both can do that so it makes it a pretty strong combination.
And, besides that, he's just a great guy so really the chemistry is the best it's ever been; we're having a hell of a lot of fun.
ThrashHead: Last question; many years from now, when both of us are long gone, what would you want people to read on your tombstone, "I Killed The Bank" like Andrew Jackson wanted on his?
Jon: (Laughs) that'll do...I wish.
Jon's points are all valid and perhaps you should really take the time to do a bit of invesigation yourself so that you too can wake up;  the information is all out there, whether you are right or left, American or European, it doesn't matter, it all comes down to defending your rights. 
I highly Encourage you to support Iced Earth by making damn sure you get to one of their shows during this upcoming tour which launches in Hartford, Connecticut on January 31st or by scoring yourself a copy of "Dystopia". Also, be sure to go check out the Sons Of Liberty's releases, the latest of which, "Spirit of The Times" you can listen to below!
Many thanks goes out to Jon, I am very appreciative for the time he set aside for ThrashHead.
The Cult are set to release Choice of Weapon, their ninth studio album, on May 22nd. The record is their first full-length work in five years, though the band has kept active by putting out "capsules" of new songs and live recordings in recent years. Co-produced by Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age, U.N.K.L.E.) and longtime collaborator Bob Rock (Metallica, Aerosmith), Choice of Weapon was made in several studios, including the band's own Witch Mountain as well as spots in New York City, Los Angeles and the California desert. (You can preview "Lucifer," a highlight from Choice of Weapon, above.) Rolling Stone caught up with frontman Ian Astbury to talk about his inspiration for the new album, which addresses the many things he believes are poisoning contemporary culture.
Are you still working on this new record? I know it has a release date, but I got the impression that you were still tinkering with it.
Let's put it this way – the paint's still wet. We're breaking it to you guys first. I think we missed our initial release date, partially due to the way that we ended up finishing the record. We began with Chris Goss, who is a very close friend and somebody I've been friends with for over 20 years. And we always talked about doing a Cult record together. Chris did all the refinement, helping us find the material, craft it, and I think we've been at it for quite a while. It just became attrition. Everyone was getting kind of exhausted. Kind of wearing each other out in the studio.

When did you start the process of making the album? It's been about five years since your previous record.
You know, there's no really clear beginning or end date, really, with the creative process. I think it's ongoing. It's almost like you're always working with different ingredients, different influences. Things can change. I mean, I personally like to take things right up to the wire, so that things are as relevant and as fresh as they can be. Like, I'm still changing some song titles right now, based upon different vibrations I'm picking up on, either from myself or within my group or from an outside source.

The cover for Choice of Weapon appears to be an image of a shaman or something. What does the cover mean to you?
This image has been with me for many years, since I was about 11 years old. I grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. I immigrated there when I was a kid. I was exposed to Native American culture very early on. And that kind of peaked my interest in indigenous cultures. It had a quite profound effect on me. With this particular image, it had been hovering around me for quite a while.  And it's almost like I had to manifest this image within myself. I wanted to have an image that in some way reflected the sentiment of not only the record, of the deepest sentiment of the record, but also the sentiment of what's going on in society. I mean, the fact that the shaman figure has a veiled face, there's a face mask pulled over, it's almost reminiscent of images we've seen from Libya and Egypt and also from things like the Occupy movement or the riots we had in the U.K.

The title of the record reflects the fact that here we are, we have a choice to make right now. We can choose different modalities. We can either choose literal weapons, which, many people have picked up weapons in Libya, Egypt, Syria. Or picking up weapons and overtaking systems, physically, by force. In a more metaphorical sense, a weapon can be a camera, a weapon can be a pen, a weapon can be a statement, a verbal statement, a weapon can be an article of clothing. Tantric weapons are symbols they use in tantric rituals, like the dorje, which is an object that the shamanic figure is actually holding. The dorje being representative of a thunderbolt enlightenment, that moment of awakening, where you go, "Aha!"

Time magazine said this year the Person of the Year was the demonstrator, the image of the woman with the veil. So this is an icon that we're seeing more and more in our culture. It's almost like people don't want to come out and show their faces and say something. Because they're almost afraid of . . . I don't know. There's a lot of intellectual bullying going on. People are very quick to jump on someone if they say something that's maybe different. They're certainly not part of the status quo, of a moving force. Everyone's kind of pointing at it, but nobody's really saying it, what really needs to be said. So in some ways, this shamanic figure, the look in the eyes is almost like a wild animal, which I connect to nature.

So what needs to be said?
I think what needs to be said is that we have to start looking inward. Our spiritual lives are almost bankrupt. The material systems are not going to fix where we are. Moving the furniture around, metaphorically moving the furniture around – getting a new president, or putting a new, fresh coat of paint on something – isn't necessarily going to change the root causes. We're human beings, we're organic, we're dependent upon the environment, we're dependent upon this living planet. It's a fact. And it's a fact that we cannot fight. But all our fighting is more about semantics, political systems, languages, structures, charts, graphs. It's almost like we want to be right, but we don't want to win.

I saw this wonderful interview with Karl Lagerfeld and he was talking on Charlie Rose, and Charlie Rose says to him, "So what do you do, you're a fashion designer. So what is that?" And he said, "Well, my job isn't to so much determine what society is. My job is to kind of reflect it." And I really identified with that. You know, the idea of reflecting what we see and feel. I don't think I'm in a position, as an artist, to tell people how they should behave. But I'm certainly in a position to reflect what I feel and what I see. I think that's one of the things right now, that a lot of artists are maybe scared to say how they really feel.

I've noticed that some young bands can be very reticent to talk openly about what they are saying in their music.
I think everyone's afraid of maybe upsetting someone at Pitchfork Media, getting that hate. This is the interesting thing, because with the internet and social networks, blogging, everyone has an opinion. But what we don't see, and what we don't get, is their credentials. Now I think if people were fair, when they make their opinion, they have to make their credentials available. If you're critiquing something, if you're a critic, you have to make your credentials available.

What do you mean by credentials?
Your life experiences. Not your education, not just like, "I went to this college or traveled." What have you experienced? What were the major events of your life that give you this kind of unique perspective? Give us some insight into who is sharing this critique with us. It'd be more likely to see an authenticity in that critique.

For example, the Lou Reed-Metallica record, that was something I've argued with many people about. You know, everyone's saying "Oh, it's disgusting, it's an abomination." You know the amount of hate they got for that record. Hate! I think Pitchfork gave it like 1, or 0. Lou Reed, he's a 67-year-old man. His body of work is stellar, he is one of our greatest laureates. If you know anything about Lou Reed, he's not well right now. He's deteriorating, his body's sick, he's getting frail and fragile. He's chosen Metallica to be his muscle, to be his armor, so he can come out one more time and make a statement of what's happening in his internal life, and he's using this Weimar Republic play, Lulu, to put himself over. If you actually listen to the record, there's some phenomenal moments on it, by anybody's standards. "Junior Dad," for example, I think is a fucking brilliant piece of music.

Again, I go back to this shamanic figure, because in many ways he represents an energy that hasn't been nurtured. He's appearing on the culture, and he's looking at us. And he's offering us a choice. We take the knife, we take the dorje. And if we take the knife, we will probably slit our own throats with it. And we're doing it constantly. Look at the culture we live in. It's vulgar. We celebrate narrow concerns, we celebrate the veneer. Within the culture, I am seeing that this isn't just me, I'm seeing it represented from other artists. Like, for example, Grinderman. They have a wolf on their cover. I think Nick Cave is intimating a certain energy. Bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, even bands like Salem. The whole kind of witch house and drag scene, like Balam Acab, White Ring – the noise that they're making isn't a cute noise. Meanwhile, we're celebrating all the veneer pop acts, and [people are] like, "Oh wow, they're edgy," but really it's veneer. It's a leather jacket, it's a crazy hairdo, it's a wacky moment.

Even Feist's Metals record intimates what I'm talking about, and PJ Harvey's record. I think they intimate something not quite right in the zeitgeist, and it's not in a material place, it's in a spiritual place. And the word spiritual has almost become almost tired. You think Barnes and Noble, books on the Dalai Lama and crystals. It's become hokey. And I think that that again is a smear campaign from those who want to perpetuate this ego-driven, "I am right, I am right, I'm first, I'm right, look at me, here I am, I know everything, I've got all the knowledge, I know everything about krautrock, I know everything about obscure art forms, it's me, I'm the one, put me on, flog me, here I am." We're lost.
We have already had the pleasure to discuss with Joe Satriani and Michael Anthony, but listening to Sammy Hagar talk about Chickenfoot made clear the reason why these musicians decided to start up a band together. With the same enthusiastic, good-natured and carefree mind, it was impossible for them to dissociate pleasure and fun from the will to create good songs since, at least as far as they're concerned, there's no other way to make music : "We have a lot more fun 'cause we don't have to pretend we're good musicians", explains Sammy Hagar. He also confesses that he can't help laughing when Satriani plays guitar because "he's so good that it turns to fun". No need to say these guys hit it off!
This interview with The Red Rocker was an opportunity to talk in greater detail about various themes related to Chickenfoot that we already mentioned to his bandmates, plus other topics. One of these topics the medias haven't actually covered that much until now, has a clear political aspect. Through poignant lyrics, Hagar indeed evokes the question of the economic crisis and his personal disappointment towards politicians in the songs "Three and A Half Letters" and "No Change". It was therefore a good opportunity to let him outline his own vision of the current socioeconomic context.
However, it was definitely impossible not to talk about Van Halen. Since the ex-singer of the band has never been at a loss for words when it comes to the inactivity of his previous band, we had to know what his feelings were on the eve of the release of their new album, whose first single "Tattoo" is already available. And, once more, he doesn't mince matters! "If you don't have anything good to say about someone, you'd better shut up" declares Sammy in response to one of our first questions. A precept that doesn't apply to Van Halen yet. But who could hold it against Hagar for answering us, all the more so as he did it sincerely? Not us, of course…

"[Laughs] I'm trying to calm down in my old age. I used to shoot my mouth off a lot, before Van Halen, and in Van Halen I'd shoot my mouth off a lot, and after Van Halen I'd shoot my mouth off a lot. But now what I want to do is, since I wrote my book, now I just want to concentrate on being a positive person and have the attitude that if you don't have something good to say about someone, just don't say anything."
Sammy Hagar (vocals) : Hi Philippe!
Radio Metal : Hi, how are you doing?
I'm doing good, I just made a margarita…
Because you need some inspiration to answer to the questions of the interview?
I just made a very beautiful cocktail for a guy at the bar at the Hard Rock Café (note : the interview was made at the Hard Rock Café in Paris), so…
Okay, and can you describe the content of it?
Sure, it's Cabo Wabo tequila (ED: Sammy Hagar's brand), cointreau, fresh lime, blue curaçao and salt. It's called a margarita, but it's my specialty, it's called a Waborita! [laughs]
I must admit that I'm not as Rock' n' Roll as you are, because I'm just drinking some coffee.
[Laughs] I had my coffee hours ago! Are you in Lyon right now? And that's where there are some good restaurants in France, there's good food from Lyon, correct?
I'm in Paris, there's good food from here too, but I know Lyon has really good food!
Okay, so maybe we can start the real interview now! You did a couple of concerts since the release of the album, so how are the new songs doing in the live context?
Oh, fantastic! That's a very good question. They're doing great, it's sweet. We're just mixing up the two albums, and the new stuff is holding up great against the old stuff. I think that by having more material from the new album to add to the first album, it makes the set so much better than the first tour we did. You know, because for the first tour we only had one album so we had to stretch those songs. Now we have more material to put together a really, really great night of music. I'm really proud that we can go out and play songs from two albums and just give people a couple of hours of great Rock' n' Roll! It's been really great having those new songs.
One of the characteristics of Chickenfoot is that the band is not taking itself seriously – I mean the band name is Chickenfoot and the video for Big Foot is so stupid and fun – do you think this is one the keys for making good music?
Well, we really do take the music seriously, and I think that by having the name Chickenfoot, it was a weird situation, I can't even explain how it happened [laughs]. We take ourselves very seriously but we don't want to be over-serious about the music because the bottom-line is that music is about fun. And if you're not having fun… I don't know, I don't think it's cool. So we just wanted to express the fun side of the whole thing and everyone knows that we're accomplished musicians, so I think we can kind of make fun of ourselves because everyone knows the music is good. That's my opinion: we can have more fun because we don't have to pretend like we're great musicians. We are great musicians, so we can have fun with that.
Do you think nowadays bands tend to forget that and that they're taking Rock' n' Roll and music too seriously?
Sometimes. Not all the time, but some bands I think don't have enough credibility. I don't want to say who they are but there are some bands to me that are not accomplished and they go out and act like a joke or something. It ain't like a joke, but when you can play like Joe Satriani, I can stand there next to him with a big smile on my face, laughing. Like "this is fucking funny!" he's so good it's funny, you know? It's a different kind of thing. We're not making fun of ourselves or anything. You know, my favorite band is Pink Floyd, and they're very serious, all the time. And I like that, but I couldn't be in a band like that, I just have to have fun.
When we had the chance to chat with Michael we talked about his vocal capabilities and he joked that lead singers were the loud mouth of the band and that, therefore, he didn't want to be one. So are you the loud mouth of the band in Chickenfoot, or even when you were in Van Halen?
[Laughs] I'm trying to calm down in my old age. I used to shoot my mouth off a lot, before Van Halen, and in Van Halen I'd shoot my mouth off a lot, and after Van Halen I'd shoot my mouth off a lot. But now what I want to do is, since I wrote my book, now I just want to concentrate on being a positive person and have the attitude that if you don't have something good to say about someone, just don't say anything. I'm trying to be like that in my life now.
By the way, it looks like you give more space to Michael in Chickenfoot, vocally speaking…
The vocals, for some reason – we talked about it after our show the other night – how great our vocals bind now. It's like two lead singers. It's crazy because originally I always sang really high. I had to sing so high that when Mikey had to go above me, it just sounded like this thin little voice on top, and it was powerful but never 'in your face' powerful. So on Chickenfoot III I'm singing in a much lower register sometimes, and Mikey's singing in a lower register and all of a sudden his voice sounds rich with mine, and it's really great, our two voices together.
Chickenfoot is made up of four strong personalities, how do you guys manage not to walk on each other's toes and not get into conflicts?
No problem whatsoever. You know, in Chickenfoot, everyone has his role, and we don't get in each other's way. So when it comes to the music, Joe and I will write 90% of the songs. Everyone knows that, we frame the ideas and write the music. Then when it comes time to tweak the music, when the band is rehearsing the songs, Joe is in charge. I just step back, if I have an idea, I bring it up, but it's Joe's territory. And then when it comes time for the vocals, and write the lyrics and do the singing, that's my territory. I'll get Mikey to come in and sing some parts with me, and do this and that, and no one gets in my way. It's really diplomatic, everyone feels that they have their job and they're confident enough to step back when it's not their turn, and let the person that's good at that do this job. I don't see us having any problems. The only problem that Chickenfoot is ever going to have is that I don't want to tour for a year, or months and months at a time, because I have a hard time doing that as a singer, I want to sing great every night. And Joe is an instrumentalist, he can play seven nights a week. I can't. We've never had a problem with it yet, but I could see where that could be a problem someday. That's about all I could see coming, and it wouldn't be that we'd be upset at each other, it would just be the way it is. It could be one thing where we'd both have to compromise. But it hasn't come to that yet.
"I found out how hard it is to get people to do things that demand changes. I don't believe the government can do it, I no longer have faith in my country. [...] I think it's time for people to step up and do it themselves."
The lyrics to the song "Three And A Half Letters" seems very much influenced by the crisis that the United Stated and other countries are currently going through. This subject sounds very important to you, what is your feeling about the current situation?
The reason why it's important is because I have a philosophy that I developed through reason and it's that if someone has the opportunity to help another person, they should do that. And that would solve a lot of problems. You must know a hundred people yourself that could help someone. And they probably know a few people that could need help. If everyone just reached out and helped, we could solve a lot of hunger and things like that in our own communities. I don't believe in reaching out too far. You know, I'm concerned that in America there are so many people out of work and there are so many children in the street that are hungry. I can't stand to see that, and I can help. I have the ability and the finances to do something about it. So I'm trying to do that and I hope to be an inspiration to others. We can't fix the whole thing but we can make it better if people reached out and helped their neighbor. It's as simple as that.
There is another politically oriented song called "No Change" which points out the fact that governments are always lying to us and that this is not changing. You seem to have very little faith in politics, or at least politicians… Do you think nothing will ever change with these people?
I think it's really hard. I found out how hard it is to get people to do things that demand changes. I don't believe the government can do it, I no longer have faith in my country. I don't have faith in the government to do the right thing and to do the right changes. That's why I say that the people should take it upon their own hands and make the changes. Not in a violent way, I don't believe in that, but they should make the changes by helping others. You know, if they see a homeless person, if they have the means to help them, help them. Give them some shelter, give them a blanket, buy a sleeping bag and give it to them. If you see a hungry person, a child who's hungry in the streets, for God's sake, give that child some food if you can afford to do that. So I think it's time for people to step up and do it themselves. I don't believe in the government anymore. I've lost all faith in the governments. They overspent, they cheat and they're self-serving. I think some politicians may be willing to help the people but I don't think it's being done.
"I don't want to tour right now, and just go unconscious and put on shows for sale and have people pay money because I think we could use the money for other things, and I'd rather them help themselves and help other people."
In the last line in the song you're announcing "the end of the world". Is this what you believe, that we're heading toward the end of the world?
[Laughs] You're taking that song pretty seriously. But yeah, I don't think it's that's far off. I think it's closer than anyone's going to admit. It seems to be on a downward spiral. As I said, I don't believe any governments are going to fix it, I don't know who's going to fix it so it just seems like we're not doing so well. It's part of the reason why I don't want to tour right now, and just go unconscious and put on shows for sale and have people pay money because I think we could use the money for other things, and I'd rather them help themselves and help other people. Even though if I can bring love and joy to them, I'm happy to do it. I'm a very positive person, but I don't feel really good about the state of the world. All the riots in every country, and the « Occupy » movement is crazy. And number two, most of them are just people causing trouble. There are a few people trying to make a statement, and then there's a bunch of wild looters and people who just throw bricks in windows and rob Mom' and Pop' grocery stores. That's not good, that's not positive. I feel like John Lennon with the song Revolution sometimes. You know, if you want to talk about destruction, you can count me out.
By the way, why didn't you include "No Change" in all editions of the album? Some people say it's because it is actually too much politically oriented…
I think we took care of that element when we did « Three And A Half Letters », as a political statement, and I don't want to lay too much on the people at once. We wrote those two songs and we just decided to put « Three And A Half Letters » on the album and not « No Change ». I think we would've weighed the album down with too much heaviness. Like I say, my goal in music is to bring joy and happiness to people and fun and entertainment, and inspire them, not use it as a political platform completely. I think a song like « Three And A Half Letters » will inspire people to try to get people jobs and to try to feed kids.
(Note : About Van Halen) "I think there's zero inspiration and zero creativity."
These past years, you and Michael Anthony have spoken out about how disappointed you were by Van Halen and you've both been criticizing the band for not putting out new music, at least Michael mentioned it to us. So now that Van Halen is officially about to release a new album, what is your feeling?
Oh I'm okay with those guys doing whatever they want to do. What I've heard so far, I wasn't impressed with at all, personally. I think in Chickenfoot, we've raised the bar a little bit on what a four-piece rock band can do, and I think they chose to take the easy route and take some of their old stuff and and re-record it instead of writing new songs. Who is Van Halen today? I don't know, I don't think the fans are going to be happy with it. I couldn't care less if it's the biggest album of the year, that wouldn't be important to me, what is important to me is that, as artists, why would you do that? They haven't released an album since my last album in something like 1991 or '92, and then they just go back. To me it makes a strange statement, it kind of says « We don't have anything, we're not a band anymore, we're not creative ». Isn't it a strange statement to you?
Do you think this was intentional? I mean, as a band it's normal to have some habits, some patterns, some ways of composing that come back, so do you think it really was intentional?
I don't know. To be honest with you, the last time I was around those guys was in 2004 on the reunion. It was a disaster, it was horrible, Eddie was in a really bad shape, I wrote about it a lot in my book. And I don't know what they're thinking to be honest with you. Because if they were thinking at all, they would certainly have Mikey in there playing bass. So I don't know what they're thinking. I believe it was probably intentional because I don't think they had any choice. If they had had a choice they would've done all new stuff. From today. They would've written together like a band.
So you think they don't have any inspiration today?
I don't think so. I think there's zero inspiration and zero creativity. If there was any, they would write new songs. What does the band do? When Chickenfoot got together for our first album, we were four new guys and we got together and wrote ten, twelve songs and made an album. When we decided to do our second album, we didn't go back and take the two songs that were left over from the first album, we wrote all brand new songs. Because we're new people, we're inspired. Here's what we have to say, here's what we want to play now, here's who we've become since then. And you present yourself to the fans as who you are and what you've become. And if you don't have any idea of who you are or what you are and what you've become [laughs], then I guess you have to go back and show them what you used to be. I don't know, does that make sense?
"If you take Joe versus Eddie, you take Dave versus me, Wolfie versus Mikey, Chad or Kenny versus Al… I mean, come on! You know what I mean? Man for man, who can sing the best? Dave or I, today? Who can play the best? Joe or Eddie, today? Who could play or sing the best? Wolfie or Mikey? I think it's a joke"
Michael told us that he was totally open to have Chickenfoot going on tour or at least making a couple of shows with Van Halen. What about you?
Hell yes! [laughs] Are you kidding? Right now, for free. They wouldn't even have to pay me.
Anyway, does that bother you when you hear people comparing Chickenfoot and Van Halen?
Oh no, I think it's fantastic. Really, it's fantastic, are you kidding me? If you take Joe versus Eddie, you take Dave versus me, Wolfie versus Mikey, Chad or Kenny versus Al… I mean, come on! You know what I mean? Man for man, who can sing the best? Dave or I, today? Who can play the best? Joe or Eddie, today? Who could play or sing the best? Wolfie or Mikey? I think it's a joke, sure I love the comparison as long as it's fair. Not because you're a big Eddie Van Halen fan, you think that he's God therefore you think that he's better than Joe, you have to be bipartisan and just listen and watch both of them play. Listen, I played with them both, I can tell you right now: there is no comparison today. Never mind the innovator that Eddie was. I'm talking about what they can play today.
So in other words, Chickenfoot is way better than Van Halen?
As individuals, absolutely! I've been in both bands, I can tell you right now. Take the new albums and compare them track-by-track and then tell me.
Kenny Aronoff is replacing Chad Smith in Chickenfoot while he tours with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Aren't you afraid to become too much attached to Kenny at one point?
Well, I love Chad Smith, he's maybe the greatest drummer in the world, and Kenny is the guy that Chad handed the sticks to and said « he's your man ». Kenny plays great, but they're two different players because Chad is so crazy and reckless when he plays that sometimes the songs suck a little bit but there's an excitement to it which compensates for the lack of playing the song perfectly every-time. With Kenny, we're playing the songs better now, but no one can outdo Chad when it comes to excitement, in Chickenfoot. He plays differently with the Chili Peppers than he does in Chickenfoot, we all know that. And when he's playing with Chickenfoot, he's a fucking monster, and we will make the next record with Chad, he's the drummer in Chickenfoot. He can't be there now, so he chose Kenny as the guy that he thought was best for this band and I think he did a good job by choosing him because Kenny is doing a great job. I mean, if I couldn't make it and they had to get another vocalist, I'd like to be the guy to say « that's your guy right there », « pick this guy » or « pick that guy ». I think each guy would know who could fill his shoes best.
Since Chickenfoot seems so important for you guys do you think the question of making a choice will be one day brought to Chad Smith?
Oh Chad is the drummer in Chickenfoot, that's all there is to it. We didn't replace him, he just can't be there and we had to go play a tour so we were forced to use another drummer and Kenny is awesome.
Okay, but do you think that someday you may want to ask Chad Smith to choose between Chickenfoot and the Red Hot Chili Peppers?
Oh no! That's one thing we've all made clear in the very begining: we all have projects and other careers, and we do Chickenfoot when we can. This was the first time that we did it without someone. We would never ask him to make that decision, number one, and number two, I don't think he would. I mean, you wouldn't quit the Red Hot Chili Peppers for Chickenfoot, would you? No.
Interview conducted on january, 16th, 2012 by phone by Metal'O Phil
Questions & introduction by Spaceman
Transcription : Stan (with Julia)
Chickenfoot's Website : http://www.chickenfoot.us
Guitarist/vocalist John Sykes (WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER, THIN LIZZY) has commented on the dissolution of his much-hyped collaborative project with drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB).

Portnoy and Sykes announced they were working together during a July 2011 taping of season eight of VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show". The program's co-host Eddie Trunk tweeted about the project at the time, "I heard demos. Sounds like killer BLUE MURDER meets '1987' WHITESNAKE. Amazing!" He also said that the new group would perform some BLUE MURDER material when it hits the road.

The project last year demoed more than a dozen songs at a Los Angeles studio, with Portnoy describing one track as "copping the [LED] ZEPPELIN/[BLACK] SABBATH vibe" and another as "[PINK] FLOYD meets [DEEP] PURPLE!!! Some serious old-school classic rock."

In a new posting on his official web site, Sykes writes, "The project I was putting together with Mike Portnoy didn't work out, and I wish him all the best for the future. I'm continuing to work on my new album, and I look forward to putting out some great new music in 2012."

Commented Portnoy on Twitter, "Sad but true... I tried my best to make it work... Me and the bass player [Billy Sheehan] couldn't wait around any longer... [Billy] and I are moving on and have already begun work with another guitarist/vocalist [rumored to be Richie Kotzen, formerly of POISON and MR. BIG. — Ed.], keeping the original 'power trio' concept."

Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).

Portnoy played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "Nightmare", following the death of that band's drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and toured with them for the entire second half of 2010.

Sykes announced his departure from THIN LIZZY in July 2009, explaining that "I feel it's time to get back to playing my own music."
Justin Hawkins always expected The Darkness would score a one-way ticket to hell — and back.
"I used to say, 'We did a brilliant first album. We'll do an OK second album. We'll split up and then we'll do an amazing reunion,' " claims the 36-year-old singer-guitarist. "To me it was obviously inevitable.
I think everybody knew, really. You fight these things as much as you like, but your destiny is what it is."
You can't argue with that — nor with his spot-on summation of the British glam-rockers' meteoric rise and fall. Formed in 2000 by Hawkins, his guitarist brother Dan, drummer Ed Graham and bassist Frankie Poullain, The Darkness served as an ironic antidote to the bitter pill of grunge. By fusing the chunky riffage of AC/DC to the helium-balloon vocals and bombast of Queen — and then outfitting the whole campy concoction in skin-tight tiger-striped Spandex — the band brilliantly parodied arena-rock excess while simultaneously embracing it.
It couldn't last. So it didn't. Shortly after the landmark single I Believe in a Thing Called Love helped blast their debut CD Permission to Land to platinum status, cracks appeared. Poullain left acrimoniously. Their sophomore disc One Way Ticket to Hell... And Back flopped. After landing in rehab for alcohol and drug issues in 2006, Hawkins fled the scene.
In 2009, the ice was broken when a tipsy Dan joined his brother's new band Hot Leg onstage on a whim. Eventually, all four members saw the light, buried the hatchet and made it official, returning to the stage in Britain last year.
With a long-awaited third album in the works — and with a North American comeback tour kicking off with a sold-out show in Toronto Feb. 1 — Hawkins held a teleconference with reporters to talk about getting his hands dirty, his perverted songs and putting his genitalia on display. Some excerpts:
On reuniting:
The thing that was infectious about this was that we didn't care. We weren't doing it to become huge. We weren't doing it because we're ambitious. We're doing it because we are genuinely loving the music ... We're back to Square 1, where it's just music and the creative process ... We have to fight for it. It's gloves-off time and it's time to get your hands dirty. It's time to get in there and change people's idea of what we're doing, so it's going to be hard work and I'm aware of that, and that's what I'm excited about getting my teeth into now. I would sort of approach it more like a sportsman than an artist.
On the new album:
We're in the studio even as we speak ... I think we've got nine of the required songs done or finished, all sounding shiny and good ... It's kind of nearly finished now. I'd like it to be on my birthday really, which is the 17th of March. I think that would be the ultimate gift to myself.
On songwriting:
We write the kernel of the song between myself and my brother. And then we play it in a rehearsal room and we keep adding stuff to it until it can't take anymore. I don't know why we do that. I suppose it's like a perversion almost. We usually try and do it on even the tritest of song concepts. On the first album, I suppose I Believe in a Thing Called Love, and Love is Only a Feeling were the ones we really layered up and got stuck into in that respect. And, yes, we've done it more on this album because we've had time. Time plus perversion equals layered music.
On testing new material live:
It's like sending a child to sports day to see which of your children is the fastest runner. Actually, that sounds awful. It's not like that at all. What were we talking about? That's not what people do, is it?
On a recent show:
I did it in a kind of unusually thin Lycra outfit, which I suppose made it easier really, because then I was less worried about the (music) and more worried about my genitalia being on display. But it's nice to do the tightrope, you know what I mean? I always feel like the chaos and the terror is what brings out the best in us ... We've made mistakes in front of audiences, which is the only way to do it. That is when you take your pants off and you stand there and cry.
On touring:
Being on tour is why we decided to do it in the first place. That's the lifestyle that we all craved and need. We're nomads, we're islanders and we just want to travel. We have to. I live next to the sea and I think that somebody told me that that's what people who need to travel do. They can see the ocean because if you're not traveling, you have to be able to see the ocean ... All I want to do is live on a tour bus and have an identical day but albeit in a different town every day. It's nice. It keeps you grounded, actually.
On sobriety:
I've been old and clean and health-conscious and all those things for what seems like an eternity — like ages, you know? It's not like I'm counting even ... It's not an ascetic life but it is pretty simple — a little house near my parents, near the sea, my girlfriend, the dogs, cats. I just write songs and keep myself in shape. And that's it, you know. That's my life. I think I've done enough living now to write the next couple of albums. I'll start living again when I've run out of songs.
On his goals:
Something I've always wanted to do is a musical but, you know, musical from beginning to end, not like a musical of our songs horned into a storyline. I started to work on one that was called The Collapse of the Lowestoft Fishing Industry ... The main character has lost his throat to cancer so you have to sing all the songs in a voicebox. But that's kind of ... I've got about three of the songs for it and the storyline but that's the stage it's been at since 1995. Don't know if I'll ever get around to finishing it.
Former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach played three "special concerts" in New York City this past weekend with BILLY IDOL guitarist Steve Stevens. The shows took place on January 27, January 28 and January 29 at The Iridium and featured Bach and Stevens "doing two sets a night," including "some special unexpected songs."

Stevens will play a one-off show at The Iridium tonight (Monday, January 30) with the LES PAUL TRIO and Bach has just announced that he will also appear on the bill. The singer writes on Facebook, "Due to the fervor we created over the last three nights, a fourth night has been added. See you tonight, New York City!"

Video footage of Bach and Stevens performing cover versions of BILLY IDOL's "Rebel Yell" and VAN HALEN's "Hot For Teacher" on January 27 can be seen below. They were accompanied at the show by Pete Thorn on second guitar, Neil Jason on bass and Anton Fig on drums.

In a recent interview with Rock Nothing But…, Bach stated about his collaboration with the BILLY IDOL guitarist, "I've always loved Steve Stevens. He's always been one of my heroes. He's a true rock star guitar player and a personality onstage. The way he plays, how he has those shotgun blasts on the guitar with the whammy bar and all that. It's just so distinctive. I've always wanted to jam with him, so yeah, we could work together in the future. I would really enjoy that. We do shows with CAMP FREDDY. Which is a band made up of Billy Morrison, Mark McGrath, Billy Idol plays quite a bit. That's where I met Steve Stevens. Dave Navarro plays a lot. Steve plays 'Youth Gone Wild' and 'I Remember You'. It's unbelievable. I never thought I'd hear Steve Stevens play SKID ROW songs."


I was driving a 32-foot U-Haul truck from New York City to Tennessee with my heavy metal-loving buddy Juke.
We made the trip mostly by night. I've always been of a mind that road trips are meant for staring out the window while listening to "Turn the Page," for ruminating on life, death and all the miles behind and ahead and for having the sort of meditative conversations you'd never have in the day-to-day world.
"So who is like, the most rock and roll-looking member of KISS?" Juke asked sometime around midnight, nine hours into a fourteen hour drive. "If you saw them on the street in their prime, just in a t-shirt and jeans."
We concluded that Paul Stanley is the one KISS member who couldn't be anything but a star.  Gene, even in his gold chains and tarantula belt buckle, still looked like an accountant or a sixth-grade school teacher from the Bronx.
"Ace is no doubt a rock star," I said. "But if you saw him out walking around you'd figure him for a cab driver or a liquor store delivery boy."
We pondered the rock star auras of Joe Perry, K.K. Downing and Sebastian Bach, when somewhere around Kentucky Juke said, "Sabbath."
"Geezer?" I replied. "Maybe?"  We were huge fans of every Sabbath era.
"Geezer looked like an out-of-work house painter from New Orleans."
"In the 70s he did," I said. "In the 80s, he looked more like a science professor at a liberal arts college."
Tony Iommi, we figured, looked more like a trigger man for the British mob and Ozzy, well, he just looked like an Ozzy.
"Like the seventeenth clown piling out of an Aston Martin in the Birmingham Circus."
"What about Dio?" I asked.
"Dio is rock and roll," Juke said. "But he looks more Lord of the Rings." We decided Bill Ward resembled a banker in a fright wig and then it hit me.
"Glenn Hughes was the most rock and roll-looking member of Black Sabbath.  The clothes, the hair, those sunglasses…  If you saw him walking in downtown Manhattan you'd say right off, 'That dude has got to be somebody….'"
Vocalist, bassist and songwriter Glenn Hughes is the former Deep Purple frontman who held a séance with Ritchie Blackmore, shared women with best buddy David Bowie, autographed John Wayne's boots, hung out with Stevie Wonder in the loo, partied with both John Bonham and Keith Moon and beat the Stones in a cocaine-snorting competition.
Criss-crossing the world in Starship 1, Deep Purple's own Boeing jet, Hughes enthusiastically embraced the rock superstar lifestyle while playing on three Purple albums, including the classic Burn.  When the band split in '76, Hughes embarked on a breakneck run of solo albums, collaborations and even a brief, chaotic spell fronting Black Sabbath.  All of this was accompanied by cocaine psychosis, crack addiction and other excesses, before Hughes survived a clean-up-or-die crisis and embarked on a reinvigorated solo career, enriched by a survivor's wisdom.  In his new autobiography, Hughes talks us through his whirlwind life with unflinching honesty and good humor, taking us right up-to-date with his triumphant re-emergence in the scorching hot new supergroup Black Country Communion.

Congratulations–I see your book is Number One on the Amazon Rock chart.

Yeah, I'm… uh, speechless really! I tried to be open and honest and I think it just struck a nerve with people.

I was reading the part where you mention doing the music for the "City of Crime" music video with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks.  So I dialed it up on YouTube and saw those two rapping and dancing while you were wearing goat pants and….

Ah, man.  To be honest I was on a major crack binge.  I was the last to show and they gave me the goat pants.  Which was appropriate at that time!  Tom and Dan were very lovely to me though.  Nice guys.

Then I watched the recent Black Country Communion Live in Europe , and I was blown away by your bass playing and singing. And you look frickin' twenty-five!  Rock and roll was a great comfort to me as a kid and I gotta tell you, it gives us a lot of hope and joy to see so many of our heroes still out there like Gene and Paul and Angus and Ozzy – and Glenn Hughes – still doing your thing with that kind of fire.

Well thank you for that, brother.  I was buddies with Gene back when he was dating Cher and one thing we shared was that it was impossible to do this unless you had some sort of conviction, that inner — whatever you want to call it — spirituality, love of the music, work ethic — you have to have that inner drive.  Or there's just no way.

Yeah, but how do you do it health-wise after forty years in the business?

Lots of sleep and plenty of water.  I eat healthy and run a lot.  Good genes, I s'pose.  A lot of my mates died years ago–drugs and alcohol, and you just can't keep going that way.  And I try to stay connected and live in the moment, you know?  I let God in and let him run the show.  Because when Glenn Hughes runs the show – that's when the bad shit happens….  I used to watch my dad planting flowers and think, "How boring.  How can he stand that?"  But I'm 60 now and I spend a lot of time with my dogs and my family, in the garden.

You give spirituality a lot of credit for your sobriety after your bout with cocaine.  What was the rock bottom point for you?

For me it was that moment in the back of an ambulance.  I've overdosed – again — and I'm telling the driver "I'm not like those other people you carry…" and he turns and says, "Shut up, you piece of shit drug addict."  The reality of it just hit me.  That was my wake-up call.  I got into meetings, started reading books like A New Pair of Glasses by Chuck C. and Sermon on the Mount.  I don't want to offend any of your readers and some people might think it's cornball but I'm alive by the grace of God.

Where do you think your career would have gone if not for cocaine?

Oh, that's a tough one, mate.  I've had a lot of people tell me I could have gone on to do much greater works.  But you can't let that eat you up.  Everything's ordered, I believe.  Everything for a purpose.  One thing that's sure in life is pain and change.  I didn't understand then but if you get in enough pain you will change.  But you know, I think I've bared my ass and beat the devil and proved myself to be honest.  I'm not as interested in comebacks or career redemption as humanity and the human experience.

Tell me about Starship 1 because I saw that picture and tried to imagine what the inside of that plane must have been like.

You have to remember that in the 70s everything was grand.  It wasn't unusual for 100,000 people to show up to a rock concert.  Excess.  The Stones, Zeppelin and Purple, we're the only ones that had that plane.  Let me tell you there were no fire marshals on there….   Lots of shagging.  Debauchery.  It was the era.

I was listening to your version of "Ave Maria" and trying to imagine your take on "War Pigs" during your stint with Sabbath.  Which song did you dread performing most?

Well, I was fearful of my own shadow.  Not as much coke then but vodka – hiding behind the beard and makeup.  I told (Black Sabbath guitarist Tony) Iommi, "This is like James Brown fronting Metallica!" The only piece I really enjoyed performing was the song "Black Sabbath".

What do you think about the Sabbath Reunion?

Geezer is my neighbor and he came over, um, let's say a little inebriated… So I knew he was spending a lot of time with Tony and I knew it was going to happen.  I'm happy for Bill (Ward, drummer of Black Sabbath), such a sweet man.  They're working class guys from the Black Country and Ozzy, he wants to give back to his old mates and share the platform he's been given.

I gotta ask about the Deep Purple Reunion.

We used to talk about it a lot but until Richie (Blackmore) gets his head around electric guitars again it's just not going to happen.  So it's a moot point now.  David (Coverdale) and I are still very close so there's a good chance we might do something.

It's a TNB Music thing, at the end of an interview we do a bit of either/or.  Just for fun.

G'head, mate.

Blackfoot or Molly Hatchet?

Ah, Blackfoot, yeah!  No knock on Hatchet, they're great, but Blackfoot.

Kool & the Gang or The Bar-Kays?

Ooh, I love them both.  Kool and the Gang were a little more pop but Bar-Kays, they had that groove, man.

Ozzy or Dio era Sabbath?

Well, one was my dearest friend and the other I've known all my life.  Dio was just such a good mate.  It's like Eddie Trunk said — both were valid.  Both deserve to be Sabbath.

Absolutely.  Bootsy or Lemmy?

Bootsy!  Lemmy's my good mate.  As a human, Lemmy.  On bass, Bootsy is the man.

Led Zeppelin IV or Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life?

Songs in the Key for the music.  When that came out I was hanging with Stevie and he was a mentor to me in many ways.  Zep IV for the memories.  Bonham must've played that for me a hundred times before it was released and I've got some great memories from that.  So one for the music, the other for the memories.
-J.M. Blaine
TNB Associate Nonfiction Editor

Selected Glenn Hughes Discography

Trapeze – Medusa
Deep Purple – Burn, You Can't Do it Right
Black Sabbath – Gone
Hughes/ Thrall – I Got Your Number
Black Country Communion – Smokestack Woman, Black Country
Montreal-based hard rockers PRIESTESS have canceled their previously announced spring 2012 European tour, including an appearance at this year's VOIVOD-curated Au-delà du Réel event at the Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Netherlands. They will be replaced at the event by Savannah, Georgia's BLACK TUSK.

PRIESTESS's latest album, "Prior To The Fire", was recorded in Los Angeles with producer David Schiffman (SYSTEM OF A DOWN, THE MARS VOLTA, NINE INCH NAILS) and it "underlines [the band's] hard-hitting songwriting, memorable hooks and earth-shaking ability to rock," according to a press release. The long-awaited follow up to 2006's critically acclaimed debut "Hello Master" sees PRIESTESS at once hungry, fierce and focused. The record's majestic power merges titanic riffs, memorable metal, progressive rock and hard psych elements with the powerful, expressive vocals of Mikey Heppner to create an album that will floor heavy music fans.
Acclaimed Houston, Texas-based heavy metal singer James Rivera (HELSTAR, MALICE, VICIOUS RUMORS, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM) has formed a new project entitled METAL ASYLUM, which is slated to be launched in February.

The concept of METAL ASYLUM was inspired by two of Rivera's previous endeavors; the first tribute band the singer ever created entitled PROJECT RIVERA, which was a tribute to classic '80s metal, in addition to a more recent specialty show of his known as "James Rivera, A Tribute To His Metal History". The frontman has recruited several quality local Houston musicians to perform material from his own music career, in addition to fan favorites from the forerunners of classic and true metal. Audiences can expect to witness Rivera and company's renditions of the SCORPIONS, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, MERCYFUL FATE, METAL CHURCH, plus many others! Currently three regional Texas shows are scheduled to take place early this year in San Antonio, College Station and Houston. James Rivera's METAL ASYLUM promises to deliver a pulse-pounding, headbanging, horns in the air experience for every metalhead!


* Marc Petillon (WINTERS END) - Guitar
* Scott Fisher (WINTERS END) - Guitar
* Michael Millsap (SIX MINUTE CENTURY) - Bass
* Mikey Lewis (HELSTAR) – Drums

Upcoming shows:

Feb. 24 - Bonds 007 Rock Bar - San Antonio, TX
Feb. 25 - Schotzis - College Station, TX
Apr. 14 - Acadia Bar & Grill - Houston, TX (James Rivera's Birthday Bash)
ARCH/MATHEOS — the new progressive rock band featuring FATES WARNING/OSI guitarist Jim Matheos and former FATES WARNING singer John Arch — will play its only U.S. show on May 5 at the Webster Theater in Hartford, Connecticut.

ARCH/MATHEOS last year filmed a video for the song "Midnight Serenade" with director David Brodsky of MyGoodEye (DEVIN TOWNSEND, HELMET, IN THIS MOMENT). The track comes off the group's debut album, "Sympathetic Resonance", which sold around 1,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at No. 13 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

"Sympathetic Resonance" entered the official chart in Germany at No. 27, in Austria at No. 67, and in Switzerland at No. 78.

The cover art for "Sympathetic Resonance" was fashioned using an image created by light painting photographer Dennis Calvert, who has described light painting as "The ability to see in four dimensions, time traveling, and creating fantasy using only what we base all reality on, light."

Released on September 13, 2011 via Metal Blade Records, "Sympathetic Resonance" features the following track listing:

01. Neurotically Wired
02. Midnight Serenade
03. Stained Glass Sky
04. On the Fence
05. Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me)
06. Incense and Myrrh

ARCH/MATHEOS features an all-star lineup, including the talents of Joey Vera (ARMORED SAINT, ANTHRAX, FATES WARNING, SEVEN WITCHES) on bass, Bobby Jarzombek (HALFORD, FATES WARNING, SEBASTIAN BACH, RIOT) on drums, and Frank Aresti (FATES WARNING) on additional lead guitar.

Comments Matheos: "I think John and I work really well together. There's a lot of mutual respect and trust in what we do. But we're also both very critical of ourselves, and each other. This can make for a long and sometimes tedious process. But ultimately it's one I enjoy because I think it brings out the best in both of us."

ARCH/MATHEOS recording lineup:

* John Arch (FATES WARNING) - Vocals
* Jim Matheos (FATES WARNING, OSI) - Guitar
* Frank Aresti (FATES WARNING) - Additional Lead Guitar
Atlantic recording group SHINEDOWN has announced plans to headline this year's eagerly awaited Avalanche Tour. The North American trek — presented by Zippo and produced by Synergy Global Entertainment, Inc. — gets underway on March 27 at The Grove in Anaheim, California and then continues through late April (see attached itinerary). Accompanying SHINEDOWN on the 2012 Avalanche Tour will be ADELITA'S WAY, with additional support from NEW MEDICINE (March 27 - April 10) and ART OF DYING (April 12 - April 25).

Pre-sale tickets for the second annual Avalanche Tour will be available to members of Shinedown Nation, the official SHINEDOWN fan club, beginning January 31. Additional Avalanche pre-sale tickets will be available on February 1, with all remaining tickets then offered to the general public on February 3 and February 4. During the tour, fans at the show in each market will have a chance to win exclusive backstage passes to meet SHINEDOWN and the other bands by tweeting #ZippoEncore. Additionally, Zippo will give fans onsite a special code that is good for exclusive free music downloads on ZippoEncore.com.

For information and links to purchase all tickets for the 2012 Avalanche Tour, please visit www.AvalancheTour.com.

The 2012 Avalanche Tour celebrates SHINEDOWN's much-anticipated new album, "Amaryllis", which arrives in stores and at all digital retailers on March 27. The album is highlighted by the explosive new single, "Bully", which is available now at all DSPs. SHINEDOWN's first new music since all six singles from 2008's "The Sound Of Madness" ascended to #1 at rock radio, the track is already a top 10 sensation at rock radio outlets nationwide after having immediately been declared the format's #1 Most Added. A companion video clip for "Bully" is currently in pre-production, while an official lyric video is streaming now at SHINEDOWN's official YouTube channel.

Currently poised to begin a major European tour, SHINEDOWN will herald the release of "Amaryllis" with a visit to ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Slated for Monday, March 26, the appearance will see SHINEDOWN performing "Bully" live for the first time on national television on the show's outdoor stage (check local listings).

"Amaryllis" sees SHINEDOWN joining forces once more with multiple Grammy Award-winning producer Rob Cavallo (KID ROCK, GREEN DAY), who previously collaborated with the band on the record-breaking "The Sound Of Madness". Recorded at Cavallo's Lightning Sound studios outside of Los Angeles and a pair of Hollywood landmarks, Ocean Way Recording and Capitol Studios, the album was recently named among "This Year's Best Bets" by Billboard, which noted the inventive addition of synths, a 27-piece orchestra, and a 10-piece horn section to the band's powerful hard rock.

"I've always seen SHINEDOWN as its own entity," says SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith, "this living thing that's been growing and developing and evolving over the past 10 years. During the recording, the vision of what SHINEDOWN is and where it's going became completely clear. 'Amaryllis' is the manifestation of that vision, the centerpiece of what SHINEDOWN is. It reflects on everything we've done and where we're heading. It's a message of empowerment, perseverance, and inspiration that I think speaks to fans that have been with us since the beginning as well as those who are just learning about who we are and what we're about. I can't wait for the world to hear it."

SHINEDOWN will reveal the "Amaryllis" cover art with an interactive fan experience beginning on January 30 at www.shinedown.com/amaryllis. In addition, album pre-orders will be available in a variety of bundles. A pair of packages will be on offer, comprising an array of exclusive extras: the "Deluxe Early Entry Bundle" features one general-admission ticket to the 2012 Avalanche Tour show of the customer's choice with early entry, while the limited edition "Premium Meet & Greet Bundle" will include one general-admission ticket to the 2012 Avalanche Tour show of the customer's choice, admission to a very special meet-and-greet with the band, and a screen-printed poster signed and numbered by SHINEDOWN themselves. Both bundles include a CD copy of "Amaryllis", a SHINEDOWN rubber bracelet and T-shirt, one-year membership (or renewal) in the Shinedown Nation fan club, a full album stream one week before street date, and an instant MP3 download of "Bully".

SHINEDOWN is: Brent Smith (vocals), Barry Kerch (drums), Zach Myers (guitars), and Eric Bass (bass).

The dates are as follows:

Mar. 27 - Anaheim, CA - The Grove
Mar. 28 - San Francisco, CA - The Regency Ballroom
Mar. 30 - Reno, NV - Grand Sierra Theatre
Mar. 31 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory
Apr. 02 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
Apr. 05 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
Apr. 06 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
Apr. 07 - Corpus Christi, TX - Concrete Street Amphitheatre
Apr. 09 - Springfield, MO - Shrine Mosque
Apr. 10 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room
Apr. 12 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore
Apr. 13 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave
Apr. 14 - Grand Rapids, MI - Orbit Room
Apr. 16 - Niagara Falls, NY - Rapids Theater
Apr. 17 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
Apr. 18 - Providence, RI - Lupo's
Apr. 20 - New York, NY - Best Buy Theater
Apr. 21 - Atlantic City, NJ - House of Blues
Apr. 22 - Scranton, PA - Cultural Center
Apr. 24 - Richmond, VA - The National
Apr. 25 - Baltimore, MD - Ram's Head
In August 2011, RHAPSODY OF FIRE guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboardist Alex Staropoli announced their decision to go their separate ways.

Due to legal reasons, Staropoli will continue under the RHAPSODY OF FIRE name. Turilli, on the other hand, will make his future efforts available under the RHAPSODY moniker (RHAPSODY OF FIRE's original name), in which he will be joined by guitarist Dominique Leurquin, bassist Patrice Guers, and drummer Alex Holzwarth. A singer for the group has has yet to be announced.

LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY will release a new album entitled "Ascending To Infinity" on June 29 via Nuclear Blast.

The track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. Quantum X
02. Ascending To Infinity
03. Dante's Inferno
04. Excalibur
05. Tormento E Passione
06. Dark Fate Of Atlantis
07. Fantasia Gotica
08. Clash Of The Titans
09. Of Michael The Archangel And Lucifer's Fall
Alma Mundi
II. Fatum Mortalis
III. Ignis Divinus

The album will have a running time of around 65 minutes.

The limited-edition version of
"Ascending To Infinity"
will include two bonus tracks for 75 minutes of music, plus "many exclusive gifts," to be revealed very soon.

LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY will embark on the "Ascending To Infinity" headlining tour in the fall.

In a recent interview, Turilli stated about "Ascending To Infinity", "Honestly, this album is very important for me, Alex Holzwarth, Patrice and Dominique and personally it is the one I always dreamed to record. The basic composition process lasted around five months. In this period of time I worked at the rhythm of 12-14 hours per day and, while very hard because very demanding mentally and spiritually, this was one of the most rewarding sessions of composition of my whole life. It rarely happened I had so much fun playing the guitar, the keyboards or my beloved piano and creating original classical parts, cinematic interludes, orchestrations and all the rest. Now all the songs are ready and I am actually in the process of arranging everything. As you know, I don't hire external people to orchestrate the music, but I do all by myself writing the music for each section of the orchestra, the choirs etc. and this sometimes can be a very long and hard process stealing a lot of time and energy. I can not deny that this is a very ambitious album, because of the investment, artistic vision etc., and all the people working on it, Nuclear Blast included, are thinking the same. That's why in the upcoming months of intensive studio work I want to go on dedicating myself night and day to it, without thinking to anything else."

Regarding the change in the production team for the LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY album, Luca said, "After many years of work in Wolfsburg at the court of our friend Sascha Paeth, I decided to start this new artistic adventure with a different team of people. Sascha and the other friends of the Gate Studio (Miro, Olaf, Robert, Simon, etc.) are a winning team and their help in the past was really important for RHAPSODY. But it's since many years already that Alex and I took the productions in our hands becoming producers of our own albums, despite Sascha remaining always fundamental as engineer and mixer man. His mixes will remain legendary and our list of thanks will be never long enough for all the professional contribution he gave. All the years of work, fun and sufferance in the Gate studios of Wolfsburg will surely remain unforgettable and are carved in our heart. For LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY and the new band adventure I decided to change the studio and the main man behind the console. We are now recording the new album at the Backyard Studio of Kempten, Germany. Our new engineer and main mixer man is the same owner of the studio and his name is Sebastian Roeder, the person who worked for RHAPSODY OF FIRE in the last worldwide tour making real miracles while mixing our music live. Apart from being a talented engineer, he is a great person and he shares with us the love for this style of music. To resume, the new album will be produced by me as usual, while Sebastian will take care of the engineering, mixing and mastering process."

On the topic of the singer for LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY, Luca said, "As you can imagine, this will be one of the most important news to be given in the upcoming months, but for the moment we prefer to keep all top secret. Speaking about singers, please allow me to say a few words about Olaf Hayer, singer and talented voice of LUCA TURILLI, my old solo band. The truth is that, as many people could already imagine, I stopped my solo activity as LUCA TURILLI definitely, willing to dedicate myself to LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY at full time. That's why I want to publicly thank Olaf for the fundamental contribution he gave to our solo albums. All the three albums of the trilogy entered the charts establishing some important records and this was possible mainly because of my friend Olaf. Who knows?! Maybe sooner or later we'll still have the chance to work together. Never say never."
Finnish metal band SOLE REMEDY, whose 30-year-old guitarist Mikko Laine was killed in a traffic accident on October 3, 2011 in Baarlo — just hours after the group's performance at the ProgPower Europe festival — has issued the following update:

"Almost four months ago, we lost a dear friend and a wonderful bandmate. Things have been weird since that day and we had to take a time out.

"Some time ago, we sat down, talked some things over and discussed if there is a future for SOLE REMEDY. This weekend (27th to 29th of January), Jukka [Salovaara], Artturi [Sipilä] and Henry [Silmonen] played their first rehearsal together as a trio.

"Changes had to be made in order to continue. No one can fill the hole that Mikko's passing away left. Also, it was mutually decided that Eetu Karioja would no longer be a member of SOLE REMEDY. The time isn't right for him as the band needs more focus now than ever.

"We would like to say a big thank you to Eetu for the journey we had together for a couple of years. We had some good times, some great times and one huge bad time.

"As of this moment, SOLE REMEDY continues as a trio: Jukka Salovaara on vocals and guitars, Artturi Sipilä on bass and Henry Silmonen on drums.

"Still, no one knows what the future holds. SOLE REMEDY will definitely return on live stages some day. But with what lineup? Now, that's the question. For now, we will focus on composing and arranging the new music to perfection as a dynamic trio. Our first impression was positive, as we rehearsed five new songs over this weekend. Let's hope this will be an omen for things to come!"

SOLE REMEDY 2012 is:

Jukka Salovaara - Vocals, Guitars
Artturi Sipilä - Bass
Henry Silmonen - Drums

According to a spokesperson for the Sjiwa youth center (where the ProgPower Europe festival concert took place), Laine was killed at approximately 1:30 a.m. on October 3 when the musician, who was sleeping next to a fence, was run over by a truck, which was loaded with some of the festival's backline, instruments and other equipment, as the driver drove backwards and turned onto the road. The 50-year-old driver, a local man, didn't see the Finn, who died at the site.

Formed in 1998, SOLE REMEDY's sophomore album, "Apoptosis", was released in September 2010 via Aftermath Music. The CD was described in a press release as the band's "most ambitious and diverse piece of music to this day. There are moments of pure metal, pop and even an acoustic ballad. Alternative-progressive metal without losing the catchiness."

A photo report from the memorial event for Mikko Laine can be found at ProgPower.eu.
Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM are celebrating their 15th Anniversary U.S. Tour by launching their very own interactive fan club via Mobile Backstage on smartphones, Facebook and the Web to connect with their most loyal fans, the Children Of Bodom Hate Crew.

"Mobile Backstage was an obvious choice for us," said the band in a statement. "It's a combination of mobile and Facebook apps and a web interface that create a digital fan club and allow us to reach all our fans no matter where they are. We're very excited about this opportunity to share some exclusive behind-the-scenes material and stay in touch with the Hate Crew during our 15th Anniversary U.S. Tour."

"We're very excited to bring Mobile Backstage to CHILDREN OF BODOM," said Paavo Bäckman, the CEO of Mobile Backstage. "Mobile Backstage is a 21st century fan club that integrates web and mobile fan communities and helps bands connect with their fans no matter where they are."

With Mobile Backstage, CHILDREN OF BODOM and their fans can exchange news, pictures, videos, audio clips and messages in an intimate and personal environment, far from the noise and clutter of other social media. Fans can send messages to other fans, find and check into gigs, see the location of other fans and their online posts, play music, and purchase tracks and tickets.

Catch CHILDREN OF BODOM North American tour, starting on January 28 from Charlotte, North Carolina, running all the way through to Baltimore, Maryland for the last show on March 4.
Vocalist Jesse Leach, who left Massachusetts metallers KILLSWITCH ENGAGE in 2002, was asked by Australia's Loud magazine if he has been approached to rejoin the band following the recent exit of his replacement, Howard Jones. "I'm not going to comment," he responded. "Everyone wants to know… I'd rather those guys go through what they've got to go through and whenever they make that decision… They're good friends of mine, so I'm respecting their space at the moment. It's more fun, more mystery, too; you don't have to know everything. These days everybody is on Facebook and tweeting everything that happens. What's happened to the mystery of music and not knowing everything?"

He added, "My viewpoint is to respectfully step back from the situation and support them. Whatever decision they make will be the right one for them and I look forward to what it is."

Leach spent most of the past year touring with TIMES OF GRACE, his collaborative project with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE members Adam Dutkiewicz (guitar) and Joel Stroeltzel (guitar). That band's debut album, "Hymn Of A Broken Man", came out in January 2011 via Roadrunner Records.

Jones issued a statement regarding his departure from the group, which was announced earlier in the month. Jones wrote in part, "I've had a pretty interesting couple of years, to say the least, battling with some personal issues. One of the low points being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes that went unchecked for years. The rest of the band stuck with me through it, and, to be honest, they are the ones that kept me going. The whole experience definitely put a scare in me."

He continued, "Recently we've all been in writing mode, but somehow I couldn't get excited about the new album and all the touring that would go with it. The guys saw it before I did. In hindsight, I now realize that my heart wasn't in it."

Jones thanked the rest of the band for "an amazing decade," adding, "I have so many good memories, and those are the ones that I will keep."

The band said in its statement, "We love Howard and are thankful for the nine years that we've had him in the band. Out of respect for everyone involved we will not be discussing the specific reasons behind this decision. Howard is a part of our family and always will be, and we wish him well."

No replacement has been found yet for the 41-year-old Jones, who joined KILLSWITCH in 2002. Jones sang on the band's last three studio efforts, including 2009's self-titled set.
Heavy metal fans now have a chance to own a piece of musical history and help find a cure for myotonic dystrophy (DM). LAMB OF GOD lead guitarist Mark Morton has donated the custom-designed and autographed Jackson guitar from his personal collection, and the strings and LAMB OF GOD guitar picks he used to record four of the songs from the band's album "Wrath" to the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation (MDF). All proceeds from the sale of the guitar will support research into treatments and a cure for this devastating disorder.

This auction is being run through eBay MissionFish. Bidding began at 5:00 p.m. PST on Wednesday, January 25 and ends at 5:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, February 4.

Three-time Grammy-nominated LAMB OF GOD has been helping MDF raise funds for DM research since 2009, when Randy Blythe (lead vocals) donated his Grammy nomination medallion as an auction item. Randy and Mark support MDF in honor of their friend Todd Stone, an MDF board member who has two young sons who are living with the disorder. In the last decade, great success has been achieved in DM research and potential breakthroughs are on the horizon. Your successful bid for this one-of-a-kind guitar will help make those breakthroughs a reality. Bid now!
HBO has selected the LAMB OF GOD track "King Me" to be the musical bed for the promos for the upcoming season of "True Blood".

"King Me" closes LAMB OF GOD's new album, "Resolution", and features the band accompanied by a full orchestra and opera singer Amanda Munton.

"True Blood" is an American television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It is based on "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional, small town in the state of Louisiana. The series centers on the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse (played by actress Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress.

The fifth season of "True Blood" will premiere on HBO this summer.

"Resolution", the new album from Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD, has entered the official Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) chart at position No. 3.

As previously reported, "Resolution" is likely to sell between 50,000 and 55,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to industry web site Hits Daily Double. The estimate was based on one-day sales reports compiled after the record arrived in stores on January 24 via Epic.

LAMB OF GOD's previous CD, "Wrath", opened with around 68,000 units back in March 2009 to land at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 chart. This figure was roughly in line with the first-week tally registered by 2006's "Sacrament", which shifted around 63,000 units to enter the chart at No. 8. It also represented almost double the amount of records sold by its predecessor, "Ashes Of The Wake", which premiered with 35,000 copies in September 2004.

"Resolution" was released internationally through Roadrunner Records. The CD was recorded at various studios in Virginia and New York with producer Josh Wilbur, who worked on the band's last effort, 2009's "Wrath".
Longtime guitarist Adam Carroll has left Los Angeles thrashers WARBRINGER. The band enlisted friend and talented young guitarist Andrew Bennett for the upcoming North American tour with ICED EARTH, with the hope that he may become a permanent member of the group.

Commented Carroll: "To all fans and friends, I, Adam Carroll, have officially quit WARBRINGER. I have financial issues at home that have to be addressed sooner than later. I hope you all can understand and respect my decision. It's been some of the best years of my life and I appreciate all the support you the fans have given us and continue to give. I will forever be part of the WARBRINGER family. Many thanks and until I see the rest of you again, keep the metal alive."

The band enlisted friend and talented, young guitarist Andrew Bennett for the purpose of filling in live for this tour with the hope that he may become a permanent member of the group as he continues his audition process where it matters most-- on the stage and in the van.

Added Bennett, "Last month I received a message from the guys, which basically stated that Adam was requesting to step out. As a result, they were searching for a possible replacement who could learn the material in time for the upcoming ICED EARTH and SYMPHONY X tour. I jumped at the opportunity and started learning some tracks. Around the beginning of this month I went down and jammed with the guys and the rest is history.

"I am eternally grateful to my friends in WARBRINGER for giving me the opportunity to play with them and I am very excited about what the future may hold. But one thing that I would like to make clear is that I don't view myself as Adam's replacement, as much as I view myself as filling the position instead of him. Adam's work with the band and time with them is not something that can be erased and I would just like to make it clear that I respect him greatly. He has left big shoes to fill and I have a lot of work ahead of me if I am going to honor his legacy with the band.

"I'm looking forward to interacting with, and playing for, the fans on the road! It's time to shred!"

WARBRINGER's third album, "Worlds Torn Asunder", sold around 2,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD landed at position No. 11 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

WARBRINGER's sophomore CD, "Waking Into Nightmares", also opened with around 2,000 units back in May 2009 to debut at No. 14 on the Heatseekers chart.

"Worlds Torn Asunder" was produced and mixed by Steve Evetts (SUICIDE SILENCE, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, SYMPHONY X), and features artwork by Dan Seagrave, who designed WARBRINGER's previous album cover (in addition to art for bands such as ENTOMBED, SUFFOCATION and MORBID ANGEL).
Founding member and guitarist Spike Cassidy of hardcore/metal crossover pioneers D.R.I. (DIRTY ROTTEN IMBECILES) is in the hospital recovering from complications — including infection — that arose after he underwent total colectomy surgery (having his entire colon removed) earlier this month. Doctors have pinpointed the infection and he is expected to be released from the hospital within the next few days.

Spike's rehabilitation will likely have some effect on the band's touring schedule in early 2012.

In 2004, Cassidy was diagnosed with colon cancer. He underwent surgery (a one-foot section of large intestine was removed through an eight-inch incision in his stomach on March 27, 2006), radiation and chemotherapy and is said to be winning the battle against the disease.

Video footage of D.R.I.'s December 14, 2011 concert in Denver, Colorado can be seen below (courtesy of Superskum).

D.R.I.'s classic 1987 album "Crossover" was reissued in April 2010 via Beer City Records. Available on LP, CD and as a digital download, the LP was remastered by Bill Metoyer, who was the engineer for the original recordings. The CD and digital version of the reissue include the original 13 songs plus 11 bonus tracks.

For the past 29 years, D.R.I. has been the epitome of the aggressive, hardcore-punk thrash sound that we've all become accustomed to hearing. Throughout this time, they've been one of the few genuine underground bands to remain true to their pure punk roots. Still actively touring and recording, the only thing that may have changed is that they're a little older now, but time hasn't gotten the best of the DIRTY ROTTEN IMBECILES. They're still thrashing just as hard, and just as loud as ever, continuing to overload our senses with the sound that is, and will always remain, uniquely D.R.I.
Former NEVERMORE guitarist Jeff Loomis has set "Plains Of Oblivion" as the title of his sophomore solo album, to be released on April 10 in North America (one day earlier in Europe) via Century Media Records. The CD was produced by Aaron Smith (7 HORNS 7 EYES) and features cover artwork by Colin Marks of Rain Song Design, who has previously worked with ALL SHALL PERISH, THE END and XERATH.

"Plains Of Oblivion" track listing:

01. Mercurial (feat. Marty Friedman)
02. The Ultimatum (feat. Tony MacAlpine)
03. Escape Velocity
04. Tragedy And Harmony (feat. Christine Rhoades)
05. Requiem For The Living (feat. Attila Voros)
06. Continuum Drift (feat. Chris Poland)
07. Surrender (feat. Ihsahn)
08. Chosen Time (feat. Christine Rhoades)
09. Rapture
10. Sibylline Origin

After Jeff's departure from NEVERMORE and the release of his solo debut — 2008's "Zero Order Phase" — fans have been craving a new album. With a number of influential musicians appearing on the upcoming release, Loomis is more than ready to deliver.

Jeff was the lead guitar player and main songwriter of NEVERMORE, a band that has certainly made its mark on modern music by forging a unique sound that fuses different forms of metal that has given birth to an authentic and very influential style. His solo CD, "Zero Order Phase", took the #4 spot in a April 2009 Guitar World magazine's readers' poll in the "Best Shred Album Of The Year" category — a notable accomplishment when you consider the top three vote-getters, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. Jeff has become one of his generation's most recognizable guitarists and the source of many of the last decade's best riffs.

Jeff's complex shredding has been a central part of the progressive power guitar scene since 1992 and is responsible for some of the most awe-inspiring riffs modern metal has ever heard. Nearly every aspiring musician who has been listening to metal for the past 10 years or so has undoubtedly had the pleasure of hearing Jeff Loomis' progressive and technically superior playing.

Loomis' first solo album, "Zero Order Phase", was released in September 2008 through Century Media Records.
If there's one thing that hits a sour note with Alissa White-Gluz, the powerful voice of the Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based metal band THE AGONIST, it's animal abuse. The singer uses her voice to raise awareness about animal suffering every chance she gets, and that's one of the reasons why she's snagged a Libby Award in the category of "Breakthrough Artist" from peta2, PETA's youth division. The sixth annual Libby Awards ("Libby" is for "liberation") honor animal-friendly people and products.

White-Gluz took a stand against the universally condemned annual seal slaughter in her native Canada by shooting a striking peta2 ad that shows her above a photo of a baby seal who is about to be clubbed and reads, "Bang Your Own Head, Not a Seal's." She also sat down for an exclusive interview with peta2.

"The seal hunt is something I'm … so ashamed to even be remotely associated with," says the Canadian-born vocalist, who also discusses how grateful she is that she was raised vegetarian and has since gone vegan. "I'm shocked that it's still going on and still encouraged by the government."

White-Gluz has also spoken out against the fur industry, and she encourages everyone to buy only cruelty-free personal-care products.

Also up for "Breakthrough Artist" were Steve Aoki, YOU ME AT SIX, and MAN OVERBOARD.

Twenty-nine Libby Awards will be given out this year, recognizing everything from the best cruelty-free cosmetics company to peta2's favorite animal-friendly celebrity. Each winner will receive a framed certificate and be featured on peta2.com.

Winners were chosen by peta2 based on equal consideration of three factors: the number of votes received, the quality of the animal-friendly product or the nominees' enthusiasm for being animal-friendly, and feedback from the nominees' fans.
Norway's blackened thrashers AURA NOIR will release their fifth full-length studio ablum, "Out To Die", on March 23 in Europe and March 27 in North America via Indie Recordings.

Speaking to Terrorizer magazine shortly after a recent listening session in Oslo, AURA NOIR guitarist/vocalist Aggressor stated about the band's new CD, "It feels right. That's all I can say really. I'm not sitting here digging it; it's more like I'm content with having the finished product there, and now we can go play live. Because I think our music comes into its element when we're playing live. For me, a new album is like, 'Okay, we have more songs to play live now.'"

"Out To Die" marks the return of guitarist Rune Eriksen (a.k.a. ex-MAYHEM guitarist/songwriter Blasphemer), who now resides in Portugal and leads his own band AVA INFERI. Eriksen made several trips back to Norway to work on the new AURA NOIR songs with Aggressor and Apollyon (guitar, bass, vocals, drums; also bassist in IMMORTAL).

"I wish we were all living in the same apartment and rehearsing every day, all three of us together, but obviously that's not possible because we have our private lives and everything," Aggressor told Terrorizer. "But it brought about some new ways of working, and it actually worked out okay in the end."

"Out To Die" track listing:

01. Trenches
02. Fed To The Flames
03. Abbadon
04. The Grin From The Gallows
05. Withheld
06. Priest's Hellish Fiend
07. Deathwish
08. Out To Die

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