[Classic_Rock_Forever] Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and Friends, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Summerfest, Rock Fest, UFO, Guns N Roses,Velvet Revolver, Slash, Duff Mackagan, Megadeth, Foo Fighters, Yngwie Malmsteen and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


Earlier in the month, BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward announced that he will not be able to participate in the recording of the reunited group's new album or perform with them on tour unless he is presented with what he described as a "fair agreement" and a "signable contract" that financially reflects his contributions to SABBATH's history and his standing as a founding member of the band.

BLACK SABBATH members Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geeer Butler vowed to continue recording their new album without Ward, saying in a statement that they "were saddened to hear via Facebook that Bill declined publicly to participate in our current BLACK SABBATH plans... We have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open... We are still in the U.K. with Tony. Writing and recording the new album and on a roll."

In a statement posted on his official web site earlier today, Ward said, "Dear SABBATH fans, I wanted to let you know where things are at, from my point of view, as of today, February 17, 2012.

"As my statement of February 2, 2012 indicated, I have not declined to participate in the SABBATH album and tour. At the earliest opportunity, I am prepared to go to the U.K. and record, and later tour with the band.

"Last week, we sent further communication to the attorney handling the negotiations to try to reach an agreement. At this time we are waiting to hear back. I remain hopeful for a 'signable' contract and a positive outcome.

"I want to thank everyone who has voiced and posted their opinions, thoughts, support and love through all media, including the newly constructed sites. I applaud your worldwide reaction in support of the original band. And speaking for myself, your intent and truth will always be respected.

"While believing in your freedom for expression, keep in mind that Tony, Ozzy and Geezer are still my lifetime friends, and I cannot support comments with an objectifying or derogatory theme toward them or their various representatives.

"Many thanks to all of you. You are truly phenomenal."

BLACK SABBATH toured without Ward when the original lineup reformed in 1997, but he rejoined the group the following year. In 2004 a contract dispute nearly caused him to not participate on that summer's Ozzfest tour, but the matter was eventually resolved and the trek went ahead as scheduled.

On February 2, Ward issued a statement in which he said in part, "At this time, I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the BLACK SABBATH album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a 'signable' contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band."

Ward added that he worked last year in "good faith" with fellow original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, including rehearsals and a November press conference in Los Angeles. But then, he wrote, "Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another 'unsignable' contract was handed to me."

The drummer, who played on 10 of SABBATH's first 11 studio albums, emphasized, "Although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the U.S. for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with BLACK SABBATH."

The recording sessions for the original band's first new album in 33 years were recently moved to London so that Iommi, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, could be close to his doctors.

Ward wrote that he's "spent every day" getting ready to head to England, but added, "My guess is . . . I will know nothing of what's happening unless I sign 'the unsignable contract.'"

He also wrote, "The place I'm in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate, I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign 'as is,' I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician."

Ward addressed the possibility of his being replaced, saying, "I hope you will not hold me responsible for the failure of an original BLACK SABBATH lineup as promoted . . . It would be a sad day in rock if this current situation fell to the desires of a few."

SABBATH is scheduled to release its new album later this year and is confirmed to play the U.K.'s Download festival in June. All other tour plans, however, are up in the air pending Iommi's ability to overcome his illness.
The original lineup of BLACK SABBATH — who late last year confirmed the recording of their first new album in more than 33 years and a worldwide headlining tour — have had to put some plans on hold due to guitarist Tony Iommi's battle with lymphoma. At this time, BLACK SABBATH will perform only one show of this summer's previously scheduled European tour. It will take place Sunday, June 10 at the U.K.'s Download festival.

So as not to let the promoters and fans down, SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne will now perform the majority of the previously scheduled BLACK SABBATH dates (both festival performances and the headlining shows) billed as OZZY & FRIENDS. These "first-ever" OZZY & FRIENDS shows will feature appearances by "special guest" musicians, including Geezer Butler (who will join Ozzy for a special BLACK SABBATH set as a show of respect and support to their friend, Tony Iommi) and longtime former Ozzy bandmember Zakk Wylde. In addition, Ozzy will be accompanied by longtime collaborator and friend Slash at select shows, with other "special guests" set to join the tour at various stops along the way (full list of dates, appearances below).

Tony Iommi continues to make excellent progress and is looking forward to getting back out on the road. Meanwhile, BLACK SABBATH continues to write and record music in the U.K. for its upcoming album. More information about these dates and BLACK SABBATH's recording and touring plans is forthcoming.

The 2012 tour dates are as follows:


Jun. 10 - Donnington, UK @ Download Festival


May 23 - Helsinki, Finland - Hartwall Arena
May 25 - Stockholm, Sweden - Stadium
May 27 - Jelling, Denmark - Jelling Festival
May 29 - Bergen, Norway - Bergen Calling Festival
May 31 - Oslo, Norway - Spektrum
Jun. 02 - Malmo, Sweden - Malmo Stadium
Jun. 04 - Dortmund, Germany - Westfalenhalle
Jun. 06 - Prague, Czech Republic - O2 Arena
Jun. 15 - Vitoria, Spain - Azkena Rock Festival
Jun. 17 - Clisson, France - Hellfest
Jun. 22 - Dessel, Belgium - Graspop Metal Meeting
Jun. 24 - Milan, Italy - Gods of Metal Festival
Jun. 26 - Vienna, Austria - Stadthalle
Jun. 28 - Belgrade, Serbia - USCE Park
Jul. 01 - Athens, Greece - Rockwave Festival – Terra
British metal legends IRON MAIDEN will headline Summerfest's Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 4 along with ALICE COOPER.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. March 3 and include Summerfest admission; information on prices is not yet available. Tickets can be purchased at the Marcus Amphitheater box office, Walmart stores, Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com, (800) 745-3000 (live agent) and (866) 448-7849 (automated).

Summerfest is an 11-day festival with 11 stages featuring over 700 acts. This year, Summerfest runs runs from June 25 through July 1 and July 3 through July 8.

For more information, visit www.summerfest .com.

Following the massively successful "Final Frontier World Tour 2010-11", IRON MAIDEN is back on the road this summer with a series of arena, amphitheater and festival shows in the USA and Canada, opening in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 21 and finishing in Houston, Texas on August 18, to be followed by further dates around the world in 2013. The "Maiden England World Tour" will closely mirror, in terms of production and content, the original 1988 concert video of the same name, shot on the "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Tour". This opening section of the world tour is the band's most extensive visit to North America for many years and includes a number of cities the band have not played in a very long time, such as Charlotte, Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis and Salt Lake City.

"Maiden England" marks the third chapter in the history of IRON MAIDEN, a journey which began in 2004 with "The Early Days" DVD and subsequent 2005 "Early Days Tour". Part two followed in 2008 with the "Live After Death" DVD — the seminal 1984 concert recorded at Long Beach Arena in California during the "World Slavery Tour" — and the band embarking on their groundbreaking "Somewhere Back In Time World Tour 2008/9", which saw them play to over two million fans in almost 40 countries.

Comments vocalist Bruce Dickinson: "We have great fun playing the history of MAIDEN tours because it gives us an opportunity between new albums to go out and play songs from our earlier catalogue. It's always fantastic seeing the crowd reaction from a new generation of fans who have never experienced some of these tracks performed live before, and of course we know our longstanding fans will enjoy seeing the original 'Seventh Son Tour' revisited — with many other surprises! Our intention is to play about two thirds of the original track list of 'Maiden England', including some songs we have not played live in a very,very long time, plus other favourites we just know the fans are going to want to hear! We always try to give our fans a great show musically, but we have always tried to make it as entertaining and memorable an experience as we can visually. And we all feel this show is going to do that splendidly! We can't wait to get started in Charlotte."

"Maiden England" 1988 longform video VHS track listing:

* Moonchild
* The Evil That Men Do
* The Prisoner
* Still Life
* Die With Your Boots On
* Infinite Dreams
* Killers
* Can I Play With Madness
* Heaven Can Wait
* Wasted Years
* The Clairvoyant
* Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
* The Number Of The Beast
* Hallowed Be Thy Name
* Iron Maide
IRON MAIDEN, ALICE COOPER, DEF LEPPARD, POISON and GODSMACK are among the confirmed bands for this year's Rock Fest, which will be held July 19-22 near Cadott, Wisconsin.

The festival billing is shaping up as follows:

Thursday, July 19


Friday, July 20


Saturday, July 21


Sunday, July 22


For more information, visit www.rock-fest.com.
The times I don't mind the tedious process of transcription is when it pertains to an interview with a member of one of my favorite bands. That was without question the case with this recent telephone conservation with UFO drummer Andy Parker, my second with the British rock veteran, Texas resident, and all around affable fellow. Four decades strong and UFO sounds as great now they've ever sounded. The names occasionally change and there is a more pronounced blues streak on albums released this century, but more than anything else UFO continues to churn out intelligently written and memorable hard rock. New album Seven Deadly is another notch in the belt of that proud legacy. Along with Parker (a founding member) and guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter Paul Raymond, Phil Mogg (the other remaining founding member) leads the effort with an emotive, soulful voice that is one of the most unique and recognizable in rock, while guitarist Vinnie Moore shreds and blisters with some of the best chops in the business. Quite simply, UFO was, is, and always will be one of the best, most influential bands in hard rock and heavy metal. Period!
UFO has been touring the states with some regularity these past few years. How have you been dividing up the set between the old and the new? That can't be easy when you've got four decades of material from which to choose.
It does get difficult. I'm not absolutely sure at this stage what we're going to use from the new album. I'd imagine it'll be two, maybe three songs at the most. I mean you've got to cut something. Otherwise, we'd have to go about four hours. Normally we get about two hours; that's been our limit. At this stage I haven't seen any set list. We're actually out at the end of this month; we've got a warm up show in Fort Lauderdale and then we have the Monsters of Rock Cruise to the Bahamas. As far as I understand Phil's plan is to use the old set to do those and then when we're on the boat for the cruise we're gonna talk about what we're going to do for the new tour, which starts in the UK in mid-March.
So Phil typically pick's the set list then?
Well yeah, but obviously it's open to discussion. It's what he feels comfortable with. And he's pretty proactive and he'll change it if a song isn't doing well. Quite often he leaves it up to the audience, asking them what song they want to hear. We'll have kind of a bare bones set list with a couple of choices in there and he'll ask the audience whether they want to hear "Lights Out" or whatever. It's kind of fun to get that input.
Have you played something lately that you'd not played for a long time or had never played up until that point?
Oh yeah, absolutely. "Try Me" [from Lights Out] came back into the set recently, which we had actually never done live. We put that in last year and it seemed to go down really well. Oh and we put in [1981's] "The Wild, The Willing, and The Innocent" because we were getting people hitting the website saying we didn't play much from the Paul Chapman era. And we actually tried that before some time ago. We brought in that and "Long Gone" into the set for the same reason; we'd been getting a lot of hits to the website saying we don't do any from the Chapman era. And then after a couple of weeks we pulled them back out because they didn't seem to be doing that well. So it's pointless playing songs that aren't going down that well if you've got other stuff that people want to hear. So we took them out and the Chapman diehards came back and complained so "The Wild, The Willing, and The Innocent" went back in, which seemed to go down pretty well. We were actually opening with it for a while.
Seven Deadly is the title of the new album. So are we talking about sins or something else there?
No, it's just Seven Deadly [laughs]. I mean it wasn't the first choice. You may have seen the debacle that happened when SPV announced that the album was going to be released and it was going to be called Last of the Bone Riders. Phil flipped back and forth with it for a while because he wasn't getting the feedback from it he wanted, especially from the rest of the band [laughs]. We had people saying it sounded like some kind of gay porno movie or something [laughs]. It was quite funny actually. He was polling people on a regular basis to see what they thought about it. When we were in a hotel somewhere in the Midwest we had a day off and were sitting down at the bar with a couple of drinks and something to eat and we were actually working on a short list of songs. On days off that's what we usually do, we'll sit around the hotel and go through the songs and decide what ones we're going to go for and which ones we're not. And he actually asked the bartender when the title of the new album came up again because they're always good folks to ask. So he asked the bartender "If I said to you 'last of the bone riders' what would you think" and I swear to god the guy looked him straight in the face and said "it sounds like a gay porno" [laughs]. So we were done with that title and decided we'd come up with something else. So about two weeks later we were playing in St. Charles, Illinois. We had done Chicago the night before and it was a lovely day and we were staying about a block from the gig. We're walking down to the show in the evening and this guy and a couple of girls were walking in the opposite direction, and this guy had a tee-shirt on that said Bone Riders with this picture of a skeleton on a motorcycle, which is what Phil's original concept was; it was more of a biker thing. Phil has a Harley and likes to ride and stuff. And Phil goes "See, I told you it was about bikers!" So this poor guy had to trade shirts with Phil in the middle of the street [laughs]. So Phil got the shirt and the title was back on again because he felt vindicated. That was going to be the title until SPV announced it and we got some terrible feedback on the website, so he decided once again that he would change it. It was funny because my drum tech, the guy I usually use who is out with Motorhead right now, e-mailed me the other day and said he much preferred the bone riders title [laughs]. You can't please everybody, can ya? [laughs]. I really haven't spoken to Phil since he did his vocals for the album; he's back in England. He did his vocals just before Christmas and I was sitting out here in Texas. So it'll be interesting to find out where Phil came up with that title.
My impressions of Seven Deadly after multiple spins – and I've been playing it frequently – is that it is very guitar-forward and riff based with very little keyboards on it, a couple of songs aside. And obviously there is a lot of great soloing from Vinnie Moore, as usual.
Paul and Vinnie pretty much wrote this album between them with Phil. The stuff that Paul wrote was actually more centered around guitar. The first track, "Fight Night," is his and it has a serious guitar riff. You may think of Paul usually as a keyboard player with guitar on the side, so that's kind of interesting that two or three of the songs that he pitched this time were much more built around guitar. It's still got that blues thing going on, but it's more edgy this one I think, a little heavier to please some of the fans. Like I said, you can't please everyone all the time and we were getting some feedback from some of the diehard fans that we had gotten soft in our old age and gone to the blues or whatever. But what I always tell people is that UFO plays what comes from UFO's heart. It is not some kind of calculated thing; it's just where the guys are at the time. That's where the band is at. I personally wouldn't expect it to be the same thing that it was in the 70s or even the 80s because it isn't anymore. It's a different band, we're all older, and we've experienced more life. I'm real happy with where the band is and the album seems to be getting great reviews.
Those first two songs – "Fight Night" and "Wonderland" – definitely set a much heavier tone. The ending riff of "Fight Night" actually sounds like a teasing tribute to AC/DC's "Walk All Over You."
Yeah, it does. I think Paul just writes whatever he feels and I'm sure in a way that was a homage to AC/DC because he does love AC/DC. You play a riff like that one has and can't help people saying it sounds like AC/DC. That kind of riff is a trademark of sorts.
You've got the cowbell going strong on "Fight Night" as well.
Yeah, I've got more cowbell in that song, that's right [laughs]. I'm a big cowbell fan, you know that. I'm still using the same one I used for the Strangers in the Night album, believe it or not. I dug it out of storage when I came back in the band in 2005. It's kinda cool.
But it's "Wonderland" that moves like a full on, up-tempo heavy metal song.
I always thought it was very Deep Purple that song. The guitar solos are a tip of the hat to Ritchie Blackmore. Vinnie is a huge Blackmore fan. I think that is going to please some of the fans that maybe thought we were going soft. It's those two opening tracks that kind of kick you into gear.
Are you using female backing vocalists for some of the songs?
Yeah, it is a lady that Tommy [Newton, producer] likes to use in Germany at Area 51. I recorded the drums and we did the bass there on the south side of Hanover. Tommy did You Are Here and he did Showtime and The Monkey Puzzle, which was my first one back with the band. But he has a couple of people he likes to use for the backing vocals and the same with the harmonica player. The backup girl and the harmonica player are the same ones that were on the last couple of albums. Of course, it gets difficult when you get out on the road and someone has to try and hit those notes [laughs]. That's gonna fall to Rob De Luca [Sebastian Bach] because he's playing bass this time around. It would have been Barry Sparks [Dokken, Ted Nugent, et al.] but he's off doing something else. So Rob and Paul will be struggling to hit those high notes, but that's the way it goes. But it usually turns out for the best.
I've got the MP3 promo of course, but I still pre-ordered the CD and vinyl versions.
I actually only got the finished CD the day before yesterday it came in the mail. Up until then I only had MP3 files sent to me, which I don't think were even the final mixes and they were certainly in the wrong order, which is kind of weird because when you listen to them for a while then the album doesn't sound right [laughs]. You keep expecting something else to pop out but it doesn't. I definitely like the running order on the album a lot better than the way they sent them to me. When I got them it started off with "Angel Station" and I knew damn well we didn't start the album with a ballad. It's interesting because we don't really hear Phil's finished stuff until the album is done. He keeps his cards pretty close to his chest. He'll give us ideas like a lyric, hook, or a melody or maybe phrasing, but he likes to write his lyrics on his own and I think he works best under pressure. He'll decide which tracks he wants to work with from the guys and we'll get in a room and do the arrangements, and he'll tell us "ok, I need another verse there" or something else here until we get the arrangements down. Then we'll pretty much try to play the tracks without the vocals and he puts his stuff on afterwards. When I left Germany last summer after I did the drum tracks I didn't have much of a clue what Phil was gonna do. So it's kind of nice for me because I kind of get to hear it for the first time. In the old says I probably wouldn't because we'd all be close to the studio and I'd be in there even when he was doing the vocals and stuff, hanging out and listening. So I heard it all. But now since we're so spread out I'll do the drum tracks and come home while Phil is in Germany working away. I don't really get to hear it until he's done so it's kinda fun.
Were you pleased with how The Chrysalis Years collection came out with all the extras and live performances?
Absolutely. From my perspective I think there are a lot of people out there that would love to discover this band, those that maybe didn't get to the first time around. Anything that will help that is good. Even though it is previous material remastered, repackaged and with extra tracks in there it creates attention and that to me is great because we are starting to see some younger people at our shows, which is very healthy for me.
That's good to hear.
Obviously, in the past it was older fans bringing their kids or whatever, but now we're actually starting to see some new faces there. It's exciting to get discovered by a younger generation. I really do think this band has a lot to offer with not just the past material, but the present and future as well.
Slash — the iconic, Grammy-winning rock guitarist and songwriter — is currently in a Los Angeles studio putting the finishing touches on his second solo album. Entitled "Apocalyptic Love", the disc is due out May 22 on Slash's own label Dik Hayd International distributed through EMI

For the new album, Slash — along with and his bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums) and Todd Kerns (bass) — teamed with producer Eric Valentine, who also produced the "Slash" (2010) disc.

When asked if he considers his current group to be a full-fledged "band," Slash told RollingStone.com, "I'm a band guy. Everything I touch I turn into a fucking band. I still have my name on the marquee and everything, but I'm just not a dictator, I don't want to rule anything. I like to hear what other people's ideas are and so on and so forth. But the guys, like Brent and Todd, aren't looking for any kind of glorified credit other than what it is that they do. Some people are stumbling over themselves trying to write even though they're not inspired to do anything, but just to get their thing in there, which I deal with a lot in other situations. So I just write music, Myles writes his lyrics and his melodies, and he helps me get all that together with the music. And if anybody has any input on anything, it's open season."

He added, "I realized I was a band guy when I was 15 when I only knew like four licks and two chords and I started a band. I like working in a band atmosphere, I think something about that camaraderie. I do not want to do it all by myself. I'm like that with everything else, I don't want to do that with music. I'm very much a loner in most respects, but when it comes to working with music, whether I'm leading it or not, the last record was very collaborative. It was just a lot of different people. But this is just one group of guys, which is really cool for me at this point after having done the last record and going in with Chris Chaney and Josh Freese and going, 'Here's the demo, let's learn it real quick.' Then we record it and bring the vocal in, that's how every song went. This is more my style of recording where we rehearse the shit out of it until it feels second nature and then go and bang it out in the studio."

In the U.K., the album will be released on May 21 in exclusive Classic Rock Fan Pack form — providing a unique collectable package containing the studio album with bonus tracks alongside a specially created magazine with unseen behind-the-scenes content put together by Classic Rock. The Fan Pack format will also come with free gifts, including a pin badge and artwork poster and will be available to buy via more than 2000 retail outlets on newsstands nationally as well as the traditional high street and online music retailers. Roadrunner Records will simultaneously release the record digitally. The standard physical release of the Slash album will follow through Roadrunner Records on June 18.
Slash has recruited THE CAB's Frank Sidoris (pictured below) to play rhythm guitar on the former GUNS N' ROSES axeman's upcoming tour. Slash says, "He's in for a long, crazy ride." Sidoris replaces Bobby Schneck, who parted ways with Slash's band a few months ago after spending much of the last two years on the road backing the VELVET REVOLVER guitarist.

Slash is currently in a Los Angeles studio putting the finishing touches on his second solo album. Entitled "Apocalyptic Love", the disc is due out May 22 on Slash's own label Dik Hayd International distributed through EMI

For the new album, Slash — along with and his bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums) and Todd Kerns (bass) — teamed with producer Eric Valentine, who also produced the "Slash" (2010) disc.
Since I am not your usual type of writer here at ESPN (read: not a sportswriter by anyone's wildest imagination), it has been my mission to try to equate a sports story here or there to something perhaps that I have experienced. McKagan has seen some @$#*. McKagan is a sports fan like all of y'all. McKagan got himself a column. Period.
I am from a city (Seattle) that has lost its NBA team. Since that loss occurred -- the NBA itself and as a whole -- has been sort of "dead" to me. Oh, I sort of still follow in the most shadowy of terms (Blake Griffin has inspired a certain modicum of fandom); but for the most part, Seattle basketball fans are like the proverbial "man without a country."

'It's So Easy: And Other Lies' out now

It's So Easy; And Other LiesESPN.com The Life columnist Duff McKagan's new book, "It's So Easy: And Other Lies," came out in October. You can order it at Amazon.com.
You can also check out an excerpt by clicking here.
"It's So Easy: And Other Lies" reached No. 17 on The New York Times nonfiction best seller list in its first week.
But this past week it seems, something now dubbed "Linsanity" has swept us all up into a lather. Yes. Jeremy Lin, that normal guy who could in many ways be you or me (well, if you or I could go to Harvard and play excellent basketball and still be an unnoticed hoops asset on par for the next level), has absolutely and out of nowhere just been crushing it in the past six games for his New York Knicks. He did it again Tuesday night, scoring 27 points and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 left at Toronto. It is fun to watch. It is exciting, and it piques our collective imagination of the underdog. Davey has been stomping on mean ol' Goliath as of late. It has become a daydream story of what "could be" in our own lives.
So now, to a side of this story that I can sort of relate to from something that I had experienced once upon a time, when shockingly, my rock band GN'R suddenly and overnight went from thought-of street urchins whom no one gave a real chance of surviving to Cinderella-like success. From your own perspective inside the goldfish bowl, you don't sense a change in yourself. But from the outside -- that is, how other people are suddenly treating you because of the success -- one can get confused and think that perhaps you might be a bit more grandiose and kick-ass.
For about the first six months after our first record "Appetite For Destruction" finally took off, I really thought that I was maybe a little better-looking and funnier than I had previously been given credit for. I mean -- heck -- people were laughing at all my jokes and telling me how funny I was, and the opposite sex was suddenly all up in my business. I was the "it" guy. People finally understood just how dang cool I was. It was about time, after all!
I say the first six months because, right about then, one of my older brothers came down to visit me in L.A. After a couple of days of staying with me and witnessing firsthand all of this buffoonery, my brother sat me down and gave me the "you-know-these-people-just-want-to-hitch-themselves-to-you-and-your-band-and-could-really-give-a-damn-about-you" talk. I suddenly woke up. I had been drinking the punch, and he was dead-on right.
Jeremy Lin is no doubt experiencing some of these same sort of butt-smoochers right now. He seems like a guy who is pretty damn grounded, and has a good family around him. I wonder if that brother of his on whose couch he currently sleeps gives him that same talk that I got from mine. But for the time being, Jeremy, the opposite sex can be fun, too!
Musician Duff McKagan -- who writes for Seattle Weekly, has written for Playboy.com and now has his autobiography out -- writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com. To send him a note, click here and fill out the form.
It's been nearly 30 years since two young rockers named Dave decided to pool their talents and create the band Megadeth.
Dave Mustaine was the riff-shredding frontman with long red hair, and Dave Ellefson added a rhythm section on bass that, for years, helped define the term "thrash metal."
Mustaine injured his hand in 2002 and had to battle his way back. When he did, Ellefson wasn't part of the plan.
Three Megadeth albums were produced without Ellefson and there were some hard feelings between the two, but that's all water under the bridge now, according to the bassist. The two Daves are back to writing and performing as Megadeth and are currently headlining Gigantour.
"When I came back, the stage was really set for a really incredible reuniting of me and Dave," said Ellefson in an interview with the Tribune from a tour stop in Minnesota. "That to me was kind of the thrust that was needed."
"Dave had a lot of work to do getting Megadeth rea-ligned musically and getting things back to where Megadeth was really back on our game again," said Ellefson. "That's what he did in my time away."
This past weekend, the band was nominated for its 10th Grammy, this time for best hard rock/metal
performance for the single, "Public Enemy No. 1." While Foo Fighters ultimately took the award home, it was an honor just to be recognized by the business, said Ellefson.
"I know a lot of metal fans wanted Megadeth to win because we're the clear metal band. It would be nice to win, I'm not gonna lie to you," he said. "To be honest with you, the fact that you're nominated is the thing. You're invited back to the party. It's a cool thing."
"Metal is a very anti-establishment movement and the fact that the establishment even welcomes us in, to me, that speaks volumes about how undeniable our music and especially metal music, and our fans, are."
The past few years also have seen a lot of tension dissipate between Megadeth and other contemporaries like Slayer and Metallica. Those mended relationships helped produce some shows dubbed "Big Four," in which the three aforementioned bands and Anthrax toured together.
"It was almost divine intervention of sorts," said Ellefson with a laugh. "Not only did Dave and I get to make peace, ... but Dave got to make peace with the Slayer camp and the Metallica camp and on every level."
"It's different now because we're not really competitors. We've all done our own thing and we've all made our mark in the world. We've all made it to the top of the hill and seen what it looks like on the other side, so now we can come together more as brothers in arms and fight for the same cause rather than fight against each other," he added.
Mustain and Ellefson also have renewed their interest in Christianity in recent years. Mustaine has openly discussed being a devout born-again Christian and Ellefson is studying for the ministry through the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Developing a relationship with God has turned everything around for Ellefson and given him the power to approach life with energy and calm.
"It's pretty funny, isn't it? When you fight (God), you have struggles and it's an uphill battle," said Ellefson. "When you surrender to it and you embrace it, that becomes like a jet engine that rockets you forward with not just great success but ease.
"All of a sudden, you're not operating from a place of always being so competitive and fear-based. You start to go downstream instead of always paddling upstream," he explained. "When you start running your business from a place of fear, you essentially work against yourself."
Don't expect Megadeth to suddenly come across as a Christian band. Just because the lead band members are devout doesn't mean they have to present their art to represent it, said Ellefson.
"You can be a person who has faith and be principled and have an obedience to your creator and not have everything you say or do be a praise and worship song," he said. "God did put a lot in this planet. There's a lot in this world to write songs about and that's what we do.
"That's the misconception that if you're a metal guy, you only sing about the devil and if you're a church guy you only sing about the Lord," he added. "What a lame stereotype that is.
"The only reason we talk about (our faith) is because people ask us about it," he said. "The Megadeth tour isn't some crusade. We're not on some mission."
Being together as a pair, the two Daves, along with Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover, wrote and released last year's "Thirteen." It was a cathartic step in bringing Megadeth full circle and bringing the two Daves together again.
"When I came back, all of a sudden, there's two of us who know the origin of the band," said Ellefson. "We know where all the bodies are buried in the battlefield and we know the history. I'm glad to be back and partners working with Dave again. He's my running buddy."
Earlier this week, MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine was interviewed by Josh Kerns for Sunday's episode of "Seattle Sounds", which airs on on Seattle's KIRO 97.3 FM radio station. When asked if he supports gay marriage, Mustaine said, "Well, since I'm not gay, the answer to that would be no." Dave was then questioned if he would support legislation to make marriage between a man and another man legal. He replied, "I'm Christian. The answer to that would be no."

Regarding what it means that an average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.83 when Barack Obama came into office and now it's almost $4, Mustaine said, "It means the same thing that's happened to all of our grandparents with their social security being taken away. It means the same thing for all the homeowners who've had their houses ripped out from under them with all these robo-mortgages. America is being emasculated. I think as long as George Soros is going to be president Obama's main mentor, we need to get ready to start wearing red."

Mustaine on Wednesday issued a statement to clarify media reports that he has endorsed Republican Rick Santorum for president. He said, "Contrary to how some people have interpreted my words, I have not endorsed any presidential candidate. What I did say was that I hope to see a Republican in the White House. I've seen good qualities in all the candidates but by no means have made my choice yet. I respect the fact that Santorum took time off from his campaign to be with his sick daughter, but I never used the word 'endorse.'"

In the interview that shocked some of his longtime fans, Mustaine told MusicRadar.com, "I'm just hoping that whatever is in the White House next year is a Republican. I can't bear to watch what's happened to our great country. Everybody's got their head in the sand. Everybody in the industry is like, 'Oh, Obama's doing such a great job ...' I don't think so. Not from what I see."

Mustaine was critical of most of the candidates in the Republican presidential race, telling the site, "I was floored the other day to see that Mitt Romney's five boys have a $100 million trust fund. Where does a guy make that much money? So there's some questions there. And watching Newt Gingrich, I was pretty excited for a while, but now he's just gone back to being that person that everybody said he was — that angry little man. I still like him, but I don't think I'd vote for him."

The MEGADETH frontman added that Santorum, who won caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota as well as the Missouri primary last week, "has some presidential qualities." He said, "I'm hoping that if it does come down to it, we'll see a Republican in the White House... and that it's Rick Santorum."
FOO FIGHTERS won big at Sunday night's (February 12) Grammy Awards, taking home five trophies for "Best Rock Song", "Best Rock Performance", "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance", "Best Rock Album" and "Best Long Form Video". In his televised acceptance speech for "Best Rock Performance", frontman Dave Grohl — sporting a vintage SLAYER T-shirt — took the music industry to task for producing too much music on computers and with technology, while forgetting about playing real, live instruments. However, in a new open letter, Grohl clarifies his speech by saying he is a fan of electronic music and that his words were misinterpreted.

Dave writes: "Never has a 33-second acceptance rant evoked such caps-lock postboard rage as my lil' ode to analog recording has. OK....maybe Kanye has me on this one, but....Imma let you finish....just wanted to clarify something...

"I love music. I love ALL kinds of music. From KYUSS to KRAFTWERK, PINETOP PERKINS to PRODIGY, DEAD KENNEDYS to DEADMAU5.... I love music. Electronic or acoustic, it doesn't matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that ALL human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician's personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and.....human.

"That's exactly what I was referring to. The 'human element.' That thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like PEOPLE. Somewhere along the line those things became 'bad' things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily 'fixed.' The end result? In my humble opinion.....a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place.

"And, unfortunately, some of these great advances have taken the focus off of the actual craft of performance. Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell...I'm not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But I try really fucking hard so that I don't have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that's what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real.

"I don't know how to do what Skrillex does (though I fucking love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that's badass. We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the 'craft' is equally as important, I'm sure. I mean... if it were that easy, anyone could do it, right? (See what I did there?)

"So, don't give me two Crown Royals and then ask me to make a speech at your wedding, because I might just bust into the advantages of recording to 2-inch tape."

FOO FIGHTERS will hit the road again later this year in support of their "garage" album, "Wasting Light".

Grohl, meanwhile, is working on a documentary about the defunct Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, where NIRVANA's "Nevermind" and other classic albums were recorded.
Legendary Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen will open the "Miami Music Television" show on Monday, February 20, late night after "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on ABC Miami, Bahamas, Jamaica at 2 a.m.

"Miami Music Television" is described as the premiere showcase for Miami's great fountain of talent. The show features musicians, bands and performers in all styles of music from the South Florida market along with celebrity appearances and interviews from the South Beach music scene.

For more information, visit www.miamimusictelevision.com.

Released on November 22, 2010 via Malmsteen's own Rising Force Records, Yngwie's latest album, "Relentless", contains more than 60 minutes of brand new material and showcases the guitar great at his best with the signature virtuosity and mind-blowing technical speed for which he has come to be known. "Relentless" also features striking vocals from Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH), who first collaborated with Malmsteen on "Perpetual Flame" (Malmsteen's first album for the Rising Force Records label).

Of the new album, Malmsteen commented, "The album title really says it all. The drive to surpass my own accomplishments can best be described with one word — relentless. After all these years of composing and playing music, I still am passionate about pushing myself to the limit — to the highest, most demanding level of playing possible."
Five of the biggest classic '80s rock bands will unite for the summer's "America Rocks Tour". The trek will feature kick-ass sets, headlined by JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE and featuring FASTER PUSSYCAT, BULLETBOYS, PRETTY BOY FLOYD and LILLIAN AXE.

Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE went from metal/hard rock to mainstream radio airplay with their breakthrough smash "Once Bitten Twice Shy" and haven't looked back, as they celebrate 30 years of the band's history by performing all their hits!

Hollywood's FASTER PUSSYCAT bring their notorious live show back to North American stages, and they promise to go deep into their extensive catalog including "House Of Pain" and "Poison Ivy"!

BULLETBOYS perform their numerous smash hits such as "Smooth Up In Ya" and "For The Love Of Money" off their platinum selling classic self-titled debut, which dominated both MTV and radio airwaves, and remain relevant to this day in heavy rotation on VH1's "Metal Mania" and Internet (SiriusXM's Hair Nation, KNAC.COM, etc.) radio throughout the world!

PRETTY BOY FLOYD took the Sunset Strip by storm in hair metal's heyday and continue to have a die hard following to this day! Their classic album "Leather Boys With Electric Toys" will be well represented as well as other surprises!

Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame members LILLIAN AXE have proven their success with over a million albums sold worldwide. They are known for thought-provoking lyrics with their melodic song structure and the musical chops to back it up.
SHADOWS FALL drummer Jason Bittner has revealed via the comments section of his official YouTube channel that the band's seventh album, "Fire From The Sky", will be released on May 8 via Razor & Tie. The CD was recorded at Zing Studios in Westfield, Massachusetts with longtime friend, producer/engineer and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE/TIMES OF GRACE guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. Adam D., who has previously manned the boards on albums by ALL THAT REMAINS, AS I LAY DYING, UNEARTH, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and EVERY TIME I DIE, was also intimately involved in the writing of the new SHADOWS FALL material.

SHADOWS FALL has just kicked off a string of intimate headlining warm-up shows in select cities before heading to Australia for this year's Soundwave Festival.

Remaining dates are as follows:

Feb. 17 - Syracuse, NY - Station 58
Feb. 18 - Clifton Park, NY - Trickshots
Feb. 19 - Turners Falls, MA - Shea Theatre

SHADOWS FALL's "Madness In Manila: Shadows Fall Live In The Philippines 2009" concert DVD/CD was released on October 25, 2010 via Everblack Industries/Ferret Music. The set includes over 60 minutes of footage that was shot on April 30, 2009 at the Pulp Summer Slam in Manila, Philippines as well as a live audio CD.

SHADOWS FALL's latest album, "Retribution", came out on September 15, 2009. The CD sold around 13,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 35 on The Billboard 200 chart. The effort was made available via Everblack Industries, the label SHADOWS FALL created in conjunction with Warner Music Group's ILG, Ferret Music and ChannelZERO Entertainment.
Guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD visited Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, Texas on February 13 and spent about an hour answering students' questions. You can now watch video footage of their appearance below.

The student who filmed and uploaded the clip said, "[Robb and Adam] came to visit our school, Booker T. Washington High School, because our guitar teacher knew Adam Duce and I asked him to see if he could get at least Adam Duce to come to hang out. I could never believe that Robb Flynn would drop by with him as well! They played later on that night at the House of Blues on February 13, 2012, and I headbanged and moshed like none before at the concert!"

MACHINE HEAD is currently taking part in a North American headlining with support from SUICIDE SILENCE and DARKEST HOUR.

MACHINE HEAD's new album, "Unto The Locust", sold more than 17,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 22 on The Billboard 200 chart — putting MACHINE HEAD in the Top 25 for the first time in the band's 17-year history.

MACHINE HEAD has consistently averaged more than 100,000 copies sold in the U.S. for each of its seven albums and has shifted double that overseas (accruing several silver records in the U.K.), resulting in cumulative worldwide sales of more than 2.4 million.

MACHINE HEAD's previous CD, "The Blackening", opened with just under 15,000 units back in April 2007 to debut at No. 54 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's 2004 effort, "Through The Ashes Of Empires", premiered with less than 12,000 copies to land at No. 88.
WATCH ME BLEED — the German "groove" thrash metal band featuring MYSTIC PROPHECY guitar player Markus Pohl and ex-SYMPHORCE drummer Steffen Theurer — will release its sophomore album, "Kingdom", on May 4 via the "label alternative" SAOL/H'art. The CD was produced, mixed and mastered by Eike Fresse (DARK AGE, CALLEJON, GAMMA RAY) at the Hammerstudios in Hamburg. The cover artwork was once again created by the German artist Matthias Bäuerle from Season Zero.

"Kingdom" track listing:

01. The Rising Tide (intro)
02. The World Stops Turning
03. Here Come The Red
04. War Calls Us
05. The Blackest Of The Black (interlude)
06. Kingdom
07. Rack The Slide
08. Death And Pain
09. A Question Of Honor (interlude)
10. Judgement
11. The Sons Of Fenris
12. From Down Below
13. Let Them Try
14. Will You Stand With Me (outro)

Commented Pohl: "'Kingdom' is our statement. It's a big 'fuck you!!!' to all the people who can't stand loud guitars and aggressive singers. That's us…raw, heavy and loud"
We recently posted part of our exclusive interview with Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, in which he claimed that the upcoming Ministry album is one of the "top 50 records of all time by any band." Luckily, that was only one of Jourgensen's golden moments during the interview. The Ministry mastermind also shared his thoughts on the current state of the Republican Party.
"It's ridiculous. They're knuckleheads," says Jourgensen. "They're just ridiculous, they're panderers, they're hypocrites, they're liars. My only suggestion is to just hold your nose and just hit Democrat across the board. Lets get these idiots out of Congress. They're all knuckleheads. All the people running for it are knuckleheads and they're not electable – Obama is."
Jourgensen continued, "I'm gonna do everything I can to get voter registration up this year and to support the Democratic Party – even while holding my nose. I'll do it because of the alternative. These Republicans, especially these rookie knuckleheads, these Tea Party f—s. No! I'm not dealing with it. I'll go toe to toe with them in any way, anytime, anywhere. I'll have a cage match with these f—ers! I'll slam Marco Rubio (Republican State Senator) to the f—ing ground wearing a lucha libre mask from Mexico.
"I'm sick of these people, man," Jourgensen emoted. "Their ideas are just so rehashed and not working and old and they're racist. That's the only reason Obama gets so much crap. It's because these people are racist. They just don't like the idea of a black President and that freaks me out in this country. After all the civil rights stuff and and how far we've come – to really freak out at having a black President. Really? Give me a break. Just leave him alone, let him govern. That's not what they [Republicans] do, they don't govern. They just bicker and attack everything and everyone and 'Less government! No Government!' C–t! C–t! C–t! C–t! These people are knuckleheads. That is not a policy, that is suicide."
Stay tuned for more golden moments in our full interview with Ministry's Al Jourgensen.
Canadian musician/producer Devin Townsend (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, STEVE VAI, LAMB OF GOD, DARKEST HOUR, GWAR) played four shows in London in November 2011 dedicated to his tetralogy album concept — a great journey through Devin's different states of musical moods — which he started in 2009 with the albums "Addicted" (2009) and "Ki" (2009) and finished with last year's "Deconstruction" and "Ghost". The concerts were professionally recorded and filmed for a unique box-set release, which he has decided to call "By A Thread".

Speaking to AOL's Noisecreep, Townsend stated about the upcoming multi-disc package, "I submitted the mixes for the audio and we just finished the cover. I think the entire project is like a 10-disc set or something ridiculous. . . We're going to do the four DVDs, four audio discs [CDS], one of bonus footage, and because the shows are too long to fit the encores on the audio discs, we have a disc of just the encores. . . There's bonus material from 'Ghosts' and 'Deconstruction'. We did a bunch of PUNKY BRÜSTER stuff [Townsend's 1996 project] and for 'Addicted' [concert] we did a bunch of old catalog stuff, just to flesh it out. So the people that come to the show are not just feeling ripped off that we played for 55 minutes and then buggered off."

Devin also spoke about his next project, which he will begin recording next month after completing his appearance at Australia's Soundwave Festival. "I'm doing this record called 'Epicloud'," he said. "Over the course of the full record, there's sort of new agey stuff, jazzy stuff, really heavy stuff. We basically cover the gamut. 'Epicloud' is the first record that I felt confident enough to include all those things on one record so it goes between melodic hard rock to schizophrenic heavy metal to country to really ambient stuff and it's all in one place. I'm using a gospel choir, a string section and a horn section for this one as well. On 'Deconstruction', I got to use the Prague Philharmonic and really go far into making an absurd album as over the top as possible and on 'Epicloud' I'm trying to take the same advantages to make some things musically very pleasing, as opposed to just claustrophobic."

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT released "Contain Us", a special tribute box set for its epic quadrology ("Ki", "Addicted", "Deconstruction" and "Ghost") on November 29, 2011 in North America. "Contain Us" was designed and created by Man Alive's Tom Bejgrowicz (who also conceived the classic and must-have MISFITS "Coffin" box-set) and is the ultimate collection for every diehard Devin fan. The standard box-set is priced at $80.00 while the hand-numbered box with the 10" and a lithograph drawn and autographed by Devin is $100.
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN vocalist Greg Puciato has responded to a fan-submitted question regarding homophobia in metal. The question and Puciato's answer, as posted on Greg's official web site, GregPuciato.com, follow below.

Question from "Anonymous": "Greg, I am a huge fan of your work with DILLINGER and a metal fan overall. I am also homosexual. WHOA, right? My question is this — metal fans seem to pride themselves on being outsiders and letting anyone into their fold, yet homophobia is still huge in metal. Why is this exactly? It seems in this day and age especially, this mentality would have dissipated but sadly, it hasn't. What is your take on this?"

Greg Puciato: "I really think masculinity insecurity issues are the problem, and listening to testosterone-charged music and putting on a tough-guy front enables the people with those issues to live in a sort of constructed 'man suit,' helping them to feel more adequate in their gender/sex role confusion. It masks the fact that they probably need therapy to deal with whatever went wrong in their transition from boyhood to manhood. Combine that with lack of education and culture, two things that we have a massive problem with in the U.S., and there you have it.

"It grosses me out. I think the younger generations are obviously progressing, everything progresses with time, but it's annoying to wait for the world around you to play catch-up when you're already on that level.

"Understanding of homosexuality is one of the largest humanist issues of our time. Well, that and educating people about the evils that organized religion have perpetuated in society. Those two things go hand in hand, really.

"It's frustrating that the United States leans so much on Christianity politically, a religion that teaches at its fundamental core complete intolerance toward homosexuality. Every time a candidate endorses Christianity or uses it as a tool to get votes of Bible-Belt states, he's saying 'go fuck yourselves' to all of the gay population. The problem needs to be dissolved through different angles. Proper education and culture exposure will catch everyone up, but again, waiting is annoying…. and I totally see what you are saying about the comical false masculinity that is unfortunately prevalent in metal and hip hop and country. It's not a coincidence that homophobia is most rampant in those three genres, and that those genres are primarily embraced by low-income groups, groups that have low exposure to quality education, and almost no exposure to travel or different cultures. Punk and hardcore ethics have always been more refreshing and progressive, however, which is partly why we as a band feel more aligned with those movements than with 'metal' as far as mindset.

"Sorry I'm rambling… too much caffeine to type this very coherently, but it is something I actually feel fairly passionately about, so I'm glad you brought it up.

"I scroll through most of these [questions], but this I felt I needed to say something about.

"If we ever do a show that I feel is gonna have an overtly high level of homophobes in the audience, I promise to wear a shirt that has a picture of a dude sucking a cock on the front of it or something.

"Funny how the same people who would act violently offended by that would probably cheer if there were two girls making out or going down on one another onstage.

"Like I said, fucking insecure babies trapped in man bodies. Masculinity insecurity issues. Hopefully they'll all have gay kids."
Drummer Roland Navratil has left LEAVES' EYES — the German/Norwegian band formed by ex-THEATRE OF TRAGEDY singer Liv Kristine Espenaes Krull and members of ATROCITY — for "private reasons" and has been replaced by Felix Born.

Commented Felix: "I am really happy to announce that I am the new drummer of LEAVES' EYES. As I got the offer to do a jam session with the band, I was highly motivated, because I love their music. The combination of grooves and nice melodies is exactly what I appreciate being a drummer. During the jam session, I realized the fact that I wanted the job even more, because I felt very comfortable with the whole band. I am really happy about joining LEAVES' EYES and I am looking forward to seeing you all on the road soon!"

Added Liv: "Felix convinced me straight away through his way of playing, for both [my solo band] as well as for LEAVES' EYES. He is a highly talented drummer, probably one of the greatest talents in Germany, in the studio as well as on stage. He is a fresh breath to our music."

In other news, Greece's Rock Overdose recently conducted an interview with Liv Kristine Espenaes Krull. During the chat, which can be streamed below, Liv discusses plans for LEAVES' EYES' next studio album — which she says will be heavier than last year's "Meredead" — her next solo album, and the forthcoming CD from ATROCITY.
Miami purveyors of hard rock TORCHE will release of their third album, "Harmonicraft", on April 24 via Volcom Entertainment. The bandmembers produced the CD in their hometown studio, Pinecrust, and delivered the finished recordings to Kurt Ballou of CONVERGE for mixing.

A song from "Harmonicraft" entitled "Kicking" can be streamed below.

Led by vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks (formerly of doom dropouts FLOOR), Jonathan Nuñez and Rick Smith (also members of the grindcore outfit SHITSTORM) and new guitarist Andrew Elstner (former vocalist/guitarist for St. Louis' RIDDLE OF STEEL), TORCHE has been steamrolling the underground-metal scene since its 2004 inception and made big waves in 2008 with the release of "Meanderthal", their second full-length album. With outlets like Pitchfork, Spin, Paste and Stereogum piling praise upon the band for their super-heavy-yet-totally-accessible brand of melodic metal, TORCHE soon found themselves on top of the underground metal heap, not to mention plenty of year-end lists, most notably grabbing the #1 spot on Decibel magazine's "Top 40 Albums Of 2008."

TORCHE's collection of singles, aptly titled "Songs For Singles", was released in September 2010 via Hydra Head.
Sonic Cathedral's Robin Stryker recently conducted an interview with keyboardist Martijn Westerholt and vocalist Charlotte Wessels of Dutch symphonic metallers DELAIN. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Sonic Cathedral: Let's talk a bit about the elephant in the room before moving on to sunnier topics. Honestly, DELAIN fans expected a new album in early 2011. We saw the studio reports from a Dutch farmhouse (along with cameo appearances by roving cows and cats), but then we didn't hear anything further about the album for nearly a year. What happened?

Martijn: I expected the same thing back in 2011. (laughs) What happened is that Roadrunner, our record company, went through a major reorganization. They were sold to Warner Music, and a lot of people left the company, were fired or restructured, etc., which meant for us that the guy who signed us and assisted us with our album process from the record company side was fired. They needed a new A&R manager for us. There was none in Holland, so it was quite a search to get the new structure working. In the end, we had a new management, which also is the A&R and artist relations with Roadrunner. That took a lot of time, which meant that the whole album process was on hold as well. So we lost a lot of time there. It was very frustrating, but we didn't have any control over this. So yeah, it's just how it went, and we had to deal with it.

Sonic Cathedral: DELAIN had done a major headlining tour in the spring of 2011, where fans got to hear a couple of tracks — "Get The Devil Out Of Me" and "Milk And Honey" — from the upcoming album. How much did playing those songs live affect what you ultimately recorded?

Martijn: Well, that's a very good question, actually, because, to our surprise, it did affect the process. We only played them live to give the fans something new. We wanted to share with the fans what we were making at the moment, and those two songs were still in the making. But when we played live, we really noticed what worked and what didn't work, and what triggered a response and what didn't trigger a response. And we used this knowledge in the further development of the songs. It was not intended, but it was very interesting to see. It also made us try that with other songs. Normally, we don't play the songs together when we write. We don't play them with the whole band, because you don't work with the whole band in writing the music. At least we don't. But we experimented with a lot of processes while writing songs, and one of those processes was playing live. It was very, very interesting. But there were also processes where we just started from scratch with writing. With this, it was very interesting to have a sneak view of how a song works, or how it doesn't work. So yeah, I think we're going to do that again with songs ... to not be afraid to play them, even if they are not finished yet.

Charlotte: Playing live did influence me a lot. When working on the previous album, it's no secret that I really love working with backing vocals. Usually, I really used loads and loads and loads of them, and sometimes it was kind of problematic when I had to perform live. I thought, "Okay, so what vocal am I actually going to sing?" And what do you do with all those extra vocals that make up a big part of the music? I personally don't like to have loads of stuff on backing tracks. So I think for writing the melodies and writing the lyrics, I might have chosen to be more direct in a way — to have the lead vocal be the one strong thing. The backing vocals should be there to make the song better, but the song shouldn't need them to be complete. When you need less stuff on backing tracks, I think it will make the live experience more of really a live experience. Not that I have something against the backing tracks. In this genre, sometimes you have 100 tracks of keys and, well, we only have one keyboard player. (laughs) There's nothing illegal about it, but I just like to do as much as possible live. So within the vocals, I tried to have it that way — to have the lead vocals stand out and be the only thing that matters [vocally], and all the rest is extra. This is kind of a way in which live shows influenced the writing also.

Sonic Cathedral: You have described the process of writing this album as having gone into much more detail before entering the studio, including a writing camp in Stockholm. Would you tell us about that?

Martijn: We also experimented with the people we wanted to work with. We never worked with a producer before … I was the producer with the previous two albums. At this time, we wanted to work with a very good producer. Let's be frank. I'm a musician, I'm not a producer. This producer team consisted of three people: Jacob Hellner, who was the producer of RAMMSTEIN, and also Fredrik Thomander and Anders Wikström, who are very well known for their co-writing work with artists like SCORPIONS, 'N SYNC, and all kinds of things from very hard music to very poppy music that is totally on the other end of the spectrum. We went into the studio with them in June. Indeed, not to record, but just to look at the material we had and see, "Okay, what do we have here? What works and what doesn't work." Then we went through all the songs, and they told us what was their impression about it. They also came up with solutions for particular problems. It was very, very interesting, but also sometimes difficult for me, because I was not used to working with so many people at the same time. We were working with seven people in one room, writing a song. That was really something that I had to get used to, because normally I was used to doing it alone. But I learned a lot from it, and that is something I always like in a production. Every time, with every album, you learn so much because they are very good.

Sonic Cathedral: Charlotte, if I understand correctly, you had both a larger role and a different role in writing "We Are The Others". Would you tell us a bit about that?

Charlotte: When we started out with the first record ["Lucidity"], Martijn basically had written all the material, and I came in and wrote some lyrics and vocal lines. But from the very beginning, our collaboration was always very good, so it kind of naturally grew. With "April Rain", I was already there from the beginning when Martijn was actually writing the music. So the good thing about that was I didn't only have to adjust to the music, but the music could also adapt to me. But we were still very much working in separate stations — like Martijn would work on something, I would work on something … already on the previous record I would work with Guus Eikens, who has been writing with us for a very long time ... and it would really be like a back-and-forth. So I would work with Guus, Martijn would work, and we would come together, and sometimes it would be the three of us. But there was a lot of working on separate islands. What I really like about this album is we started out working in that same way, but … and this was also very much influenced by some remarks from Jacob Hellner, who said, "You've got to create this one identity." And he said that he could really hear that we were working on separate stations. So, what we have basically done is sitting together with no idea whatsoever about what we were going to write, and to just come together with the writing team and say, "Okay, we're going to write a song. In what kind of mood are we?" Or where we had a little bit more songs, "We have these songs. What kind of songs do we still need?" And then we started writing from scratch, all of us. This is a challenge because, usually when you work on your separate island, you can think of ten ideas, remember the best one, and take that to the writing session. But now, basically, this only works if you throw any idea that you have into the group, and this is a challenge, of course. It's like being in your underwear, in a way, because you have to really share your creativity within a group. But the songs where we managed to write together with all of us, I think they turned out to be the most interesting songs on the record. We still have some songs that were written by other combinations or other teams — some songs were just written by Guus and me, and some songs were still written by Martijn. But I think there is this much more balanced combination of identity on this record. I think it turned out to be really interesting, and it's been difficult here and there. As you can imagine, we first wrote with our writing team — with Martijn, Guus, me, and sometimes Oliver. We had those songs ready, and then we went to Sweden and were there with Jacob, Fredrik and Anders. So we were six people in a room working on these songs, and then you have to agree with six or seven people about what is going to happen with a song. This is what I think Martijn called "a process from hell" here and there. This is just really complicated because, not only do you have different opinions about what is good or not good, but also different taste. So we really had to find a way to achieve what is best for the song … the song would really be central in these writing sessions. In the end, I think it worked out really well. I'm just really happy and proud of the songs that we have now, and I'm also really happy about my own involvement in the process. I'm just proud as hell of the result of all this, even though it's been challenging here and there.

Sonic Cathedral: "We Are The Others" is anticipated for a March 2012 release date. Any hints as to whether it will be the earlier or later part of the month?

Martijn: I'm afraid it will be much later even, because when we finished the album … in fact, the exact week we received the master … we heard that Warner Music didn't want to release us because they just don't get metal. They just don't get it. They bought Roadrunner to get this metal DNA into their body, I would say. I have the feeling … I don't know because I'm not in the organization itself … but I have the feeling that they are still searching for the right working method. The Roadrunner company wants to release us, and there are several people within Roadrunner who are working to release us nonetheless. So actually, for us it's a nightmare. You finish your album, and then you don't know when the release is. But you know that fans are waiting for it. We were so satisfied with the album, and also our producer was satisfied. But some executive nut-case just doesn't get it, and decides, "Well, let's not release it." Other people do get it, and right now, they are talking about how and when to release it. It's a nightmare! We don't have control over it, and at the moment, we can only wait. What we are doing right now is what we always do as a band, which is to take initiative into our own hands. That means we are not going to wait for those people. We're going to play those new songs, and we're going to make everything ready so that, if they are done with their struggle, we can release immediately. We have a lot of support within this Roadrunner company — people who are giving us tools to move forward with a single and the planning. I still have hope that we can release in the spring, but at the moment I'm just not sure. And that is very frustrating. You're actually the first DELAIN outsider to whom I'm telling this, so it's kind of a scoop. But yeah, I'd rather have had a more positive scoop for you.
Frontiers Records has announced the return of good-time rock 'n' rollers TRIXTER; the band's first new album in 20 years, "New Audio Machine", will be released in North America on April 24.

Featuring TRIXTER's original lineup, "New Audio Machine" was produced and engineered by Chuck Alzakian (ELTON JOHN, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, TESLA) and includes songwriting contributions by SKID ROW's Snake Sabo and Rachel Bolan and STYX's Glen Burtnik.

Commented TRIXTER frontman Pete Loran commented, "After all these years playing and recording with this band, I would say I am most proud of this record!" Lead guitarist Steve Brown added, "'New Audio Machine is everything TRIXTER was and everything we are now. I can't wait for the world to hear it!"

"New Audio Machine" track listing:

01. Drag Me Down
02. Get On It
03. Dirty Love
04. Machine
05. Live For The Day
06. Ride
07. Physical Attraction
08. Tattoos & Misery
09. The Coolest Thing
10. Save Your Soul
11. Walk With A Stranger
12. Heart Of Steel (bonus acoustic track)

Formed in Paramus, New Jersey in 1984, TRIXTER's self-titled debut album attained gold status (reaching #28 on The Billboard 200 in 1990), and spawned three minor hit singles: "Surrender" (#72), "One In A Million" (#75), and "Give It To Me Good" (#65). Despite the fact that none of the singles made the Top 40 or garnered much radio airplay, the videos for all three tunes were in heavy rotation on MTV (especially "Give It To Me Good", which was #1 on the channel for several weeks). A follow-up effort, "Hear", came out in 1992, but failed to reach the same commercial heights. The band recorded an album of cover songs, "Undercovers", in 1994, which garnered little commercial success, and TRIXTER broke up shortly after its release.

TRIXTER announced the reunion of its original lineup in 2007 and has since played a number of shows, including the Rocklahoma festival in 2008.

TRIXTER's current lineup features Pete Loran on lead vocals and guitar, Steve Brown on lead guitar, P.J. Farley on bass and Gus Scott on drums.
German progressive death thrashers NONEUCLID — who feature in their ranks members of DARK FORTRESS, TRIPTYKON, OBSCURA and REVAMP — will debut their new lineup this coming Sunday, February 19 in their hometown of Landshut, supporting DARK FORTRESS and DIABOLUS DUST.

After singer Bruce amicably quit NONEUCLID recently, the band will continue as a compact four-piece — guitarist Morean will take over vocal duties as well from now on.

Says Morean: "We tried different candidates, and my band mates encouraged me to try out for the part myself. Even though for me it is the next big challenge in this band, since my guitar parts and the vocals rarely have anything to do with each other — they hardly ever take place in the same key, rhythm or, at times, even tempo — I am honored and excited to continue Bruce's heritage in this band, and we are ready to open the next chapter. Stretching our brains to the utmost to play our complex and at times insane music has always been the modus operandi for us, so in that sense nothing's changing."

"We want to thank Bruce for the years of pleasure and madness we had together, for being a trooper and a good friend, and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours."

NONEUCLID is taking on the future head-on; besides expanding the symphonic repertoire, as they did in 2008 with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra and recently with Orchester des 13.Tons in Germany, plans for a club tour later this year are currently in the making.


Morean - Guitar, Vocals
V Santura - Guitar
Linus - Bass
Seraph - Drums

In 2010 NONEUCLID received an invite from Tom G. Warrior to play at the Roadburn festival. In November of the same year, a second symphonic project "Transition Metal" was premiered in collaboration with newly founded Orchester des 13. Tons, conducted by Ulf Klausenitzer. In additition to a brand new work for orchestra and metal band, music of Richard Wagner and NONEUCLID were interpreted in different versions by both band and orchestra.

A DVD of "Transition Metal" and a studio CD with "Transition Metal" and "Black Vortex Cathedral" are currently in the making. Further orchestral and other unusual collaborations are in the works.
Progressive atmospheric death metallers 7 HORNS 7 EYES will release their debut full-length album, "Throes Of Absolution", in North America on April 24 via Century Media Records. The CD, which features a guest appearance by guitarist Jeff Loomis (ex-NEVERMORE), has been many months in the making.

The cover artwork for "Throes Of Absolution" was created by Travis Smith of Seempieces (OPETH, DEVIN TOWNSEND) and can be seen below.

The track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. Divine Amnesty
02. Phumis: The Falsehood of Affliction
03. The Hill Difficulty
04. Cycle of Self
05. Delusions
06. A Finite Grasp of Infinite Disillusion
07. Vindicator
08. The Winnowing
09. Regeneration

7 HORNS 7 EYES previously released a digital single, entitled "Convalescence", which can be purchased on iTunes. In addition to the title track, the single also features two tracks from "Throes Of Absolution" ("Vindicator", "The Winnowing").
Mediaskare Records has announced the signing of Auckland, New Zealand's ANTAGONIST A.D. The band's new album, "Nothing From No One", will be released this summer.

Formed in 2006, ANTAGONIST A.D. has been steadily building up its reputation in the international hardcore community, touring countries like Australia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and more alongside bands such as HAVE HEART, PARKWAY DRIVE and EARTH CRISIS.

"Mediaskare is a great label with a great reputation," said ANTAGONIST A.D. vocalist Sam Crocker. "We know their bands are hard-working, 'real' bands that actually tour and make music. Less gimmicks & more heart — which is what we are all about. The music is paramount — first and foremost, before any hype/spin/fashion/faux industry bullshit."

The band recently entered the studio to begin recording "Nothing From No One" and will be documenting its progress via a series of video updates on Mediaskare's YouTube channel.

"The new album steps in a more personal direction than our previous releases," added Sam. "There are still the usual themes you can expect from ANTAGONIST A.D. with songs about animal rights, consumerism, and apathy, but where it differs is dealing with anxiety, depression — feelings of alienation. I think for me, being from a tiny town on a small isolated island at bottom of the world I really started to feel that isolation — the lyrics have been a lot more therapeutic than anything I have written before."
Finnish technical death metallers DE LIRIUM'S ORDER (DLO) will release their third album, "Veniversum", on March 16 via DLO Productions, distributed by Inverse Records.

According to a press release, "Veniversum" is "not to be taken lightly — its compelling sounds, myriad instruments, and incredible solos combined with unprecedented musical madness leaves you puzzled and wanting more.. will you survive this blasting inferno?"

"Veniversum" track listing:

01. Autistic Savant
02. .44
03. Maximum Sentence
04. Seppuku
05. The Gravity of Crime
06. Schizophrenic
07. My Kingdom from Baekdu
08. The Aftermath

DE LIRIUM'S ORDER's "twisted riffs and trashing talent have built the band strong cult following, and with over 800,000 views and moew than 3,000 followers in YouTube, DLO's Ukri Suvilehto is himself a wonder child among the modern death metal drummers."

Recent Activity:



Post a Comment