[Classic_Rock_Forever] Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Accept, Tim Ripper Owens, Nirvana, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


Ozzy Osbourne's wife/manager Sharon Osbourne became a first-time grandmother this past Tuesday, April 24 when their 26-year-old son Jack and his fiancée, actress Lisa Stelly, welcomed a daughter named Pearl at a healthy 8 lbs., 6 oz.
Ozzy already had four grandchildren; two each from daughter Jessica and son Louis from his previous marriage to Thelma Riley.
It is the first child for Osbourne and Lisa Stelly, who gushed about her future husband when announcing their engagement. At the time, Sharon said, "I'm happy because it's what Jack wants, so I'm happy. And I've always wanted to be a grandma, so it couldn't be better."
Jack's sister Kelly tweeted on Tuesday, "thank you so much for your congratulations but they realy should be gonig to @lisamarstelly & @mrjacko! I am one proud Auntie!"
Added Sharon: "Today I witnessed my first grandchild being born, life changing experience. She is an angel."
Jack found fame through his family's MTV reality show "The Osbournes" and has since appeared in several other TV programs. Last year he produced a documentary about his father called "God Bless Ozzy Osbourne".
IRON MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith has told VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show" that the band might approach songwriting differently for its next album and move away from composing long, progressive-rock-style tracks which have characterized some of MAIDEN's most recent efforts.
MAIDEN's 15th studio CD, 2010's "The Final Frontier", featured 10 tracks that had an average running time of seven minutes and 40 seconds, with the shortest song, "The Alchemist", clocking in at four minutes and 29 seconds, and the longest, "When The Wild Wind Blows", lasting ten minutes and 59 seconds.
Smith tells "That Metal Show": "On the last couple of albums Steve [Harris, bass], Bruce [Dickinson, vocals] and me have written together, which is a new thing. Steve used to bringing three, four, five completed songs. But now he's doing more arranging, production, overseeing. We sit down and write, and that's reflected in the slightly different stuff."
He adds, "We've been writing longer for some reason. Maybe next time we'll do some shorter stuff — but it's difficult to look into the future too far."
The guitarist also expressed his admiration for the likes of Jimi Hendrix, FREE and THIN LIZZY and the way they approached composing new music. "They did some great singles — put things into three minutes, which is a difficult thing to do, but it can be done."
Adrian is quick to point out, however, that IRON MAIDEN will continue to do things its own way, as has been the case throughout its 30-plus-year recording history. "It's just the band," he says. "There's no outside influences. There's never been a record company in the studio with us, so we're lucky — but we kind of worked for that."
IRON MAIDEN will return the road this summer with a series of arena, amphitheatre 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".
Says Smith : "Probably two-thirds of the set is going to be [revisiting the setlist from the 1988 tour]. It's good to rediscover [those old tracks]. I like to play them slightly differently, but people know them so well you can't deviate too much. If we remember the songs, it'll be alright."
DEF LEPPARD will guest on the nationally syndicated radio show "Rockline" with host Bob Coburn on Wednesday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m. PT / 11:30 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to speak with DEF LEPPARD by calling 1-800-344-ROCK (7625). The show will be streamed on the "Rockline" web site for two weeks beginning the afternoon after the live broadcast.
For more information, visit RocklineRadio.com.
DEF LEPPARD will make a return to the United States this June with a massive summer tour which will include fellow rockers POISON and LITA FORD.
DEF LEPPARD's influential career includes numerous hit singles and ground-breaking multi-platinum albums — including two of the best-selling albums of all time, "Pyromania" and "Hysteria". Most recently, the band released their first live album, "Mirror Ball: Live & More" last summer, which rose to the Top 20 on The Billboard 200 chart. The album captures the group's legendary concert experience, bringing together live versions of classic LEPPARD hits such as "Rock Of Ages", "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Foolin'".
With 100 million records sold worldwide and two prestigious Diamond Awards to their credit, DEF LEPPARD — Joe Elliott (vocals), Vivian Campbell (guitar), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick "Sav" Savage (bass) and Rick Allen (drums) — continues to be one of the most important forces in rock music. Over the course of their career, the band has produced a series of classic groundbreaking albums that set the sound for generations of music fans and artists alike. The group's spectacular live shows, filled with powerful melodic rock anthems, have become synonymous with their name. For the past thirty years the band's concerts have become must-see events and have quickly made them an institution in the touring industry, as they continue to sell out arenas worldwide.
Former GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan says that he had a really great time at the band's recent induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame despite the fact that the group's lead singer, Axl Rose, refused to attend the ceremony and be inducted with his former bandmates.
In addition to Rose, who announced earlier in the month that he would not attend and was not accepting his induction, other missing members included original guitarist Izzy Stradlin and longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed, who still plays in the current version of the band.
For the Rock Hall induction performance, McKagan, guitarist Slash and drummer Steven Adler were joined by guitarist Gilby Clarke and drummer Matt Sorum for three songs — "Mr. Brownstone", "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City" — from the band's classic 1987 debut, "Appetite For Destruction". Providing vocals in the absence of Axl Rose was Myles Kennedy, the singer for ALTER BRIDGE and Slash's current solo band.
Sorum played drums for "Mr. Brownstone", while original drummer Adler took over for the other two songs.
In the latest installment of his weekly sports column for ESPN.com, McKagan writes, "We weren't really quite sure if we were going to play, until about 24 hours before the actual show. It was really great to play with drummer Steven Adler again after some 20-odd years. Sorum crushed it too, and Slash just gets better day after day. Gilby honored us with his presence and he has a 'feel' that fits, and once again saved GN'R's ass. Myles Kennedy came in to sing, and the dude has class and a ton of respect and humility. I like those qualities in a guy. Humbleness can let real inner strength breathe."
Stradlin issued a statement the week before the induction, thanking his bandmates, the Hall Of Fame for "the acknowledgment of our works over the years," and the fans who "have supported GUNS N' ROSES from day one."
McKagan addressed Rose's absence during the bandmembers' acceptance speeches, saying, "I don't know if it matters who's here tonight because it's about the music that band created."
Slash admitted that all the drama almost stopped him from attending, saying, "The fans are the ones who made it possible for us to get together tonight with all the adversity and everything that was going on . . . I was like fuck it, but (my wife) said 'Go and do it with the guys,' and I said 'You're right.'"
GUNS N' ROSES were inducted by GREEN DAY, who performed to open the evening's festivities. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said in his induction speech, "The first time I saw GUNS N' ROSES on MTV I thought, one of these guys could end up dead or in jail . . . The thing that set them apart from everyone else is guts, heart and soul. And most importantly, they told the truth and painted a picture of the mad world that they lived in."
MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee is featured in "Show Your Soft Side", a campaign developed to combat the alarming incidence of animal abuse in Baltimore, Maryland. Many of the more horrific cases have been perpetrated by teens, thus leading the Mayor's Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission to look for ways to change the mindset of young people who often view the maiming and torturing of defenseless dogs and cats as a sign of "toughness" or "manhood." The campaign puts forth a very different message — a message that subtly shows that "being a man" has many facets to it, including a "soft side" when it comes to animals. The goal is to reach kids early because research shows that kids who abuse animals soon graduate to even more violent crimes. Featuring acknowledged hard men of Baltimore with their pets, the campaign's posters, billboards and print ads make the point that only a punk would hurt a cat or dog.
Lee recently urged his fans to adopt, not buy, their pets. Lee and his girlfriend, singer and dancer Sofia Toufa, recently adopted a new pup Bowie, named after rock legend David Bowie because of his "crazy gray-green eyes." "We went to a couple of different shelters and we ended up over at East Valley in Van Nuys [California] and there he was, just sitting there with three other dogs," Lee told RollingStone.com about his new dog. He continued, "And we were like, 'Oh my God, we gotta get this guy a home. Who could abandon this fucking thing? This is the cutest thing on the planet. I want to kill whoever let him go."
Lee said he become inspired to speak out about adoption because there are so many homeless pets out there that need loving homes. He said, "The [shelter] is scary. It is loaded with beautiful dogs and I would highly encourage people not to buy animals from a pet store."
He added, "If you have any compassion at all, it doesn't take a building to fall on me to go, 'Hey, man, look at all these amazing pets that have been abandoned or abused.' And they have literally seven or eight days in a lot of these shelters before they get euthanized and it's like, 'Oh, man, you're kidding me? No one's come to get this dog? It's got two days left and you're sitting there going, 'If I could, I would steal all of you guys.' But I can't.'"
Although Motörhead is routinely considered one of the greatest rock bands of all time by artists and publications alike, it seems that several aspects of the band remain criminally unappreciated. Simply put, everyone always says that Motörhead rocks, which is true, but they do so much more than that.
Founded by Lemmy Kilmister after he was kicked out of Hawkwind for using too many drugs, Motörhead developed a new type of sound that was equally appreciative of the golden age of 50's rock and was also uncompromisingly aggressive in the genius simplicity of a three chord chugging attack. Needless to say, countless punk and metal bands have used Motörhead's blueprint as the skeleton for their own music. Yet despite having an incalculably widespread influence, Motörhead's lyrical precision seems to be ignored, perhaps, because the music just slams so hard. In Motörhead, Kilmister has addressed nuanced topics from the power of religion, to the corruption of politicians, to child sexual abuse, to breaking through the "Friend zone," yet in conversations, the band's sound often seems to take precedence over the band's contemplative musings.
Undeterred as always, the band has recently released a live album titled The World Is Ours and is set to join the Mayhem Tour in June, where they'll tour with Slayer, Anthrax, and High on Fire. In order to get Lemmy's feelings on the band's lyrical content, staff writer John Gentile recently sidled up to the bar next to the legendary rocker to talk about the band's metaphysical philosophy, gender dynamics, and what exactly an "Orgasmatron" is.
The last Motörhead studio album was called The World is Yours and the new Motörhead live album is called The World is Ours. Are you a believer that a person controls his own destiny?
Yeah, I suppose. As far as you can, within reason that is. You have to try to control your own destiny. Course there are some things that you can't control.
The new Motörhead live album has parts recorded in The USA, in Chile, and the UK. That's quite a cultural spread. Why do you think Motörhead translates so well to so many different cultures?
Well, it isn't the lyrics. You don't have to understand the words to get the feeling. Little Richard sung nonsense, but it was great. It's the feeling in the music that was great. I suppose that the feeling of the music is what connects to people. We're a rock band. People understand what we are doing by our sound.
It's interesting that you mention Little Richard. You once said that Little Richard was one of your biggest musical influences. You also said that when you went to see him in the 1990's, he was a big disappointment, and was not the Little Richard that you knew. Why do you think Motörhead has never let its fans down in that regard?
Yeah, it was the 90's and I went to see Little Richard. He started handing out Bibles and talking about "the children." Jesus this and that. It was a disappointment.
As for us, well, nobody ever offered us any money, so that's one part of it. Ha! But also, well, you know if you sell your soul, you've given away a certain amount of things. One of them is your integrity. I ain't selling that.
Similarly, Motörhead has a very unique, identifiable sound. They've never released, say, a rock opera or techno album. Why?
Well, cause, if you have a good sound, why fuck with it? I always thought that we sounded good. We've done some experimental pieces. 1916 is experimental. We did that track with Ozzy. Mostly rock and roll is what I wanted to do so I did it. It's what I want to do, so I still play. We'll always do what we want to do. I don't give a fuck about what other people think we should do.
Certainly, Motörhead rocks. But if you read Motörhead lyrics, you approach topics in a very unique and nuanced way. But when people talk about Motörhead, they seem to focus on your sound, rather than your message. Is that every frustrating for you?
Well, thank you for that. You know, does anyone appreciate anything? It would be nice to be more appreciated. But, it's nice to be known for anything really. Also, by now I'm used to it.
You're known as a great lover of women, but you're also known as a great lover of women in rock music. You've been very vocal of your support of Joan Jett, Skin of Skunk Anansie, and many others. In punk rock, it seems there is a disconnect between appreciating a woman's talents and appreciating her attractiveness. Can one appreciate a female musician's attractiveness without objectifying her?
Well, why the fuck can't you do it? Is that impossible? There are certainly people who have an axe to grind. Someone might be bitching about it, but I don't care. I never objectified women. I've always been honest. I treat people as I expect to be treated. Women, they're the same as me with tits. If they want to be crazy, well that's all right because I'm a little crazy myself, sometimes. If they want to play rock music, that's great, because I like to play rock music, too. You should treat people the way you like to be treated. If it's good art, then it's good art. Shit, I like women.
You've also been working on a solo album. It has appearances by the Damned, Joan Jett, Skin, and others. How is that release coming?
I've been doing the thing for seven years, when I have time between other projects. But, it'll get released eventually. Probably posthumously. Ha!
You were also a roadie for Jimi Hendrix for a period of time. Do you have any tales from that era?
Not really, cause we were all so wrecked. It was a lot of acid in those days. I was on a lot of acid in 1967 and we had a lot of what there was out there. I remember all kinds of bits and pieces, but nothing for publication. It was great to be there.
Certainly, you're a rock legend by now, but, unlike some other rock legends, you seem to be portrayed as a very human person, unlike say, Kurt Cobain or Janis Joplin. Why do you think people think of you as a person as opposed to an ideal?
People approach me all the time, but I don't always get noticed. It's 'cause when I go out, I don't have two bodyguards with me. I just go out by myself. People that go out with body guards baffle me. No one would notice them without them. It's really an attention thing, isn't it? It's a ploy to get noticed. I've never had a problem with it.
My favorite Motörhead song is "Orgasmatron," but for the life of me, I could never figure out why you titled it that. Why is "Orgasmatron" called "Orgasmatron?"
Yeah, the song is about all the things that people like to do instead of orgasms. People get political orgasms and religious orgasms and holy war orgasms. It's all shit.
See, to me, that seems to be a very political song. But, you've previously said that you don't like political messages in music.
Politicians, no, I hate them all. We're not in favor of any of them. As soon as they get in office, they all become assholes. They're all the same from Stalin to Hitler to Obama. Once they get in power, the temptation is too great. They're all corrupt or assholes or both.
So, is there any solution to that?
There is no solution.
ACCEPT guitarist Herman Frank will release his new solo album, "Right In The Guts", on June 22 via Metal Heaven.
Without any doubt, Herman Frank is one of the most prestigious German metal guitarists of the past 30 years. His dynamic compositions with their raging riffs, hooks and intelligent virtuoso solos have graced not only the works of the German cult band VICTORY, which he founded in the mid-Eighties, and MOON'DOC, but also as a member of the legendary ACCEPT in the early Eighties, appearing on a number of important songs on their classic "Balls To the Wall" album before returning to the band permanently in 2005.
After his solo debut, "Loyal To None" (2009), the Hanover resident Herman is coming back relentlessly with "Right In The Guts", his second solo album, a total metal brochure full of energy, determination and pure adrenaline. According to a press release, Frank's "compositions are impressive for the boiling mixture of rock, metal and blues influences, while his playing combines taste, technique and profound ideas. The same holds true for the musicians who joined him in the studio: Born in Sweden, singer Rick Altzi, with his distinguished rock voice, contacted Herman Frank after learning of his search for a front man. Bassist Peter Pichl was already involved in Frank's solo debut, 'Loyal To None', and is one of the most-sought-after bass players on the scene. Mamalitsidis Cristos has already appeared onstage with Herman Frank as a second guitarist and plays top-quality metal guitar. Drummer Michael Wolpers' keen sense for grooves and precision can be heard clearly and he has belonged to Frank's group of friends for years."
"Right In The Guts" was recorded at Herman's own Arena 20 studio in Hanover, Germany. Frank himself acted as composer and producer and took care of the mixing and album mastering. Frank has succeeded by implementing an astonishing variety of different tempos, levels of heaviness and forms of expression within a traditional metal frame. With the furious opener, "Roaring Thunder", and the pulsating title track, "Right In The Guts", Frank immediately shows his typical side. This is where instruments and vocals get directly to the point and leave no questions unanswered. This contrasts nicely with the rather unusual number "Vengeance", a track full of challenging finesse. It is a work that belongs on the stage as quickly as possible. As Herman Frank personally promises, "I will use every free minute that ACCEPT gives me to play in each and every club in the world that has enough power outlets for my ENGL wall of amp."
"Right In The Guts" track listing:
01. Roaring Thunder
02. Right In Your Guts
03. Ivory Gate
04. Vengeance
05. Starlight
06. Falling To Pieces
07. Raise Your Hand
08. Waiting
09. Hell Isn't Far
10. Kings Call
11. Lights Are Out
12. Black Star
13. So They Run
According to The Pulse Of Radio, Marilyn Manson has the lead role in a short film called "Wrong Cops", which will premiere as part of the festivities at the Cannes Film Festival in France next month. The movie was directed by Quentin Dupieux, whose full-length 2011 feature "Rubber" was a surreal tale about an intelligent tire that murders people. His latest movie, "Wrong", debuted last January at the Sundance Film Festival.
Manson, who recently performed with actor Johnny Depp at the Revolver Golden Gods awards in Los Angeles, told The Pulse Of Radio about his part in "Wrong Cops" and other upcoming projects, "I play a street hustler with braces on my teeth, which was an interesting, fun experience (laughs). I'm working on something with Johnny. Working on something with my friend Eli Roth also. And I'm basically just on a roll of having a good time at being bad and I just want to continue doing it."
Manson has previously had roles in movies such as "Jawbreaker" — with then-fiancée Rose McGowan — "Party Monster" and "Lost Highway".
Details on the 13-minute "Wrong Cops" are under wraps at the moment.
Manson and Depp recently teamed up to record a new version of Carly Simon's classic song "You're So Vain". The track will be included on Manson's upcoming album "Born Villain", which is due out on May 1.
Powerhouse American vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) will play a special acoustic show at Ripper Owens Tap House in Akron, Ohio on Friday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m.
Owens joined forces with restaurateur Randy Arehart to re-launch the Tap House on Waterloo Road in Akron, Ohio in October 2010 to become a "rockin' sports eatery" named Ripper Owens Tap House. Guests such as Wendy Dio, Simon Wright and Don Jamieson from VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show" were in the house that evening and it was a special event for both Owens and Arehart.
According to CantonRep.com, the Tap House "is decorated with artifacts of Owens' heavy-metal adventures, including signed guitars from PRIEST axemen K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton, Ripper's studded leather PRIEST jacket, autographed photos of ANTHRAX and PANTERA, a large collection of backstage passes and more. There's even a poster from the 2001 film "Rock Star", which stars Mark Wahlberg as a fledgling rocker loosely based on Owens."
"Our motto is that everybody needs to be treated like a rock star," said Owens.
According to The Pulse Of Radio, NIRVANA producer Butch Vig has played down reports that late NIRVANA frontman Kurt Cobain was working on a solo album before his death, and that recordings of several of the songs might exist. Ex-HOLE guitarist Eric Erlandson, who was close with Cobain, told Fuse a few weeks back that Cobain was working on material for a solo album, saying, "I heard some talk about somebody putting together some raw, rough acoustic thing . . . there is stuff that has not been put out."
Now Vig has weighed in, telling NME that Cobain was more interested in his wife Courtney Love's music with HOLE in the months before he killed himself. Vig said, "He was working on songs, but they were just in his head. He might have just played some songs to Eric . . . around that time period he only wanted to talk about Courtney's album. I never heard any of his new songs."
While there has been a NIRVANA box set released and some other collections of material, there's been little indication that any more unreleased music will surface.
Vig, who produced NIRVANA's landmark album "Nevermind", told The Pulse Of Radio he didn't want to talk about NIRVANA for a long time after Cobain's death, especially when his own band GARBAGE took off. "I mean, early on, you know, when GARBAGE first happened, I got tired of answering questions about NIRVANA," he said. "And then, you know, time goes by and I started working with Dave (Grohl, drummer) and Krist (Novoselic, bassist) about getting the box set together, you know, going back and listening to the tapes, listening to the B-sides, and all the things that ended up being on the record, and you learn to appreciate it again and you sort of have a different take on it, and we're all so immensely proud and lucky to have made that record."
Vig recently reunited with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and a special guest in the studio to record something for Grohl's documentary about Sound City Studios, the legendary, recently closed facility where "Nevermind" and dozens of other classic albums were recorded.
Vig added that Grohl intends to get the documentary released sometime in early 2013.
The last time that Vig, Grohl and Novoselic worked together in the studio was on a song called "I Should Have Known" for the latest FOO FIGHTERS album, "Wasting Light".
In all the years I have listened to rock music, I had never given Joe Satriani's solo music a solid chance. Sure, I knew he was a great talent but I favored my rock and roll fronted by a lead vocalist. In my mind, instrumentals were either filed under jazz at the other end of the record store or chirped to me in an elevator somewhere.
Reluctantly, I must say, I put in the newest DVD by Joe Satriani, Satchurated: Live In Montreal, and I found out how wrong I'd been all these years. It was that simple. Even in the absence of a singer I was not bored at all with the live DVD. Quite the opposite. In concert, Satriani's solo music is an emotional ride, up and down, both soothing and bewildering.
Satchurated: Live In Montreal was filmed at the Metropolis in Montreal, Canada on December 10, 2010 during Satriani's Wormhole Tour, supporting his studio album Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards. And the show was recorded in both 2D and 3D for DVD/Blu-ray and theatrical release (trimmed down to 1.5 hours for the movie theater near you).
It seems amazing how the man has so much energy. His other band, Chickenfoot, featuring former Van Halen-ites Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chili Pepper drummer Chad Smith, has the recognition of a Supergroup and the success of a gold debut album. And in-between all the Chickenfoot tour dates, Satriani tours in his own "G3″ guitar show, featuring some of the greatest guitarists on the planet (this year's G3 tour has the likes of Deep Purple's Steve Morse, Dream Theater's John Petrucci, Toto's Steve Lukather and the legendary Steve Vai.)
Powerline began an interview with Joe Satriani asking about his own impressions of concert DVDs — in particular, the Satchurated DVD:
Joe Satriani: The world of concert DVDs was, I think, a boon to people like me who you wouldn't find on Entertainment Tonight or MTV, or, you know, Pop radio. At first there was a funny reaction when everyone wanted to film us, labels wanted us to put out DVDs, we kind of jumped at it. So we started with Live in San Francisco, Satriani Live!, Live In Paris … Now with Satchurated. And we've had three DVDs filming my G3 concerts with numerous players. When you add in the Chickenfoot Get Your Buzz On DVD, I've had seven or eight concert films put out. But this is the first time we've put out a 3D, 7.1 Blu-ray package, plus a theatrical release.
Besides all that, how do you feel this live album is different than the previous ones?
Satriani: Besides the obvious 3D thing and it being in theaters — that's huge — but content-wise the biggest difference is that this is a concert where we played 100 percent of the new album onstage in front of people. When we filmed that night [for Satchurated] — because of time restraints — we ended up taking two songs out of the set. But we filmed and recorded us playing those during soundcheck, which is also part of the DVD package.
That part of it is sort of a new chapter for the fans who have our other DVDs. I think people understand that when you're out there touring, you're always playing most of your catalog and a little bit of a new record — getting your fans familiar with the new album. This serves the live performance really well but it can make people at home who primarily buy the DVD of the tour scratch their heads because they wind up getting versions of the same song over and over again. And basically it's your hits. There are certain songs in my catalog that the live audience demands that we play. You know, if we don't play "Flying In a Blue Dream" people walk out of the show being upset because they may see us only once in their life and they really want to hear that song. But that's at odds with the DVD process, you know. So on that particular tour — the Wormhole Tour — I kind of put my foot down and said 'Damnit, we're gonna play the whole new record live somehow' and by the time they filmed us we had some experience. We'd already been to Europe and we were coming close to the end of our U.S. run, so the show was getting to be more of a well-oiled machine. We had arranged the set pretty well. It was an intense show from a musician's point of view and emotionally very cathartic for me to go through all that material every night. So it made the DVD very unique, especially when you put it up against Live in Paris, Live in San Francisco, Satriani Live! and the G3 DVDs.
Why did you choose the Montreal show?
Satriani: It was a practical matter, actually. We were approached just a few weeks before filming, to do the film, by [filmmakers] Pierre and Francois Lamoureux. So, we only had about four shows to choose from. One of them was in New York City, which would have been a nightmare of costs — union and all sorts of other fees —  and there were other places where the shape of the venue did not allow for cameras. It just so happened that Pierre and Francois' hometown of Montreal not only had a venue that, although smaller than what we were used to, had a beautiful look and sound to it. It did afford the placement of two sets of cameras — both 2D and 3D — and it just so happened that that week we were going to be playing in Montreal. A lot of the talent that they wanted to draw from, from the film community, was available. We got what they told us were their favorite guys for camera work, lighting work, sound recording. And that team was a really stellar team and they were able to get it together for only one show. Because we only filmed one night. It wasn't like we had a whole week to put this together. It was another one of those make or break kind of things. And the audience in Montreal that night was just fabulous.
When you are a performer of any kind and you are carrying around some sort of extra emotional weight, I think you sometimes put up a wall to protect yourself. So you wind up not looking like you're troubled. You look almost the opposite. But, in fact, there was a lot going on inside and it came out through the performance.
You mentioned the word cathartic before. Was there a certain song that emphasized that word the most?
Satriani: Well, probably for me, "Littleworth Lane." When I decided to film that night, it didn't really cross my mind until I got closer to the date that it was the one year anniversary of my mother's passing away. And although leading up to it I thought I put the grieving process in order in my mind, in my heart, but the night before it all just came back. I was going to be in New York the following night, which is where I'm from, and my family was, and it was going to be my first show in New York in my whole solo career that my mother wasn't gonna be at. And it affected me more than I thought. So I wound up not sleeping the night before and showing up at the venue a bit of a basket case. It's an odd thing. When you are a performer of any kind and you are carrying around some sort of extra emotional weight, I think you sometimes put up a wall to protect yourself. So you wind up not looking like you're troubled. You look almost the opposite. But, in fact, there was a lot going on inside and it came out through the performance. I can laugh at it now because it's something my mother would laugh at. She had a great sense of humor. She loved show business and she would have been the one pushing me onstage saying the show must go on. Put all your feelings into your playing. So that's what happened that night, and I remember right before I played "Littleworth Lane" I wasn't even aware of what I said to the audience but it made absolutely no sense. Because I thought, whatever you do, do not tell people how you're really feeling. Then you'll just break down and the whole show will stop. Let's just say by the time I walked off stage I felt like an emotional wreck.
I had never seen you live, and this DVD was the first time I have seen you in concert … I was blown away. I had always preferred to see live shows with a vocalist. Evidentaly, I had missed out. Do you hear that a lot — where people say that they didn't want to see an instrumental show and then after seeing it say 'Wow, I was wrong'?
Satriani: Certainly. You know, when I started doing this back in '88, I really didn't know how to do it. I remember walking out on stage for the Surfing with the Alien show and thinking to myself, I had never played instrumentals in front of an audience before. Me and my bass player Stu Hamm, and my drummer Jonathan Mover, we really were wondering 'How is this show gonna go?' It's not a fusion band. It's not a jazz band. We're a rock and roll band. But there's no singer? so what do we do? Do you jump around a lot? How does the show actually proceed? After two weeks of doing it, I started to realize that I can just be myself. I'm basically a rock musician but you didn't have to worry that there weren't vocals. Be yourself but if it's a rock show then you get people to rock out. And I think  a lot of people like me didn't really understand it and they don't until they see it. Then they realize, 'Wow, you can fun at a show like this!' It's not all serious. It's not like going to see a jazz show or a classical performance. It is, in fact, a rock and roll show and you can make noise and have a good time, along with everybody else (laughs).
And the instrumentals seem so much different live than in the studio. When hearing "Hordes of Locusts" [on Satchurated], the solo was almost like a rock singer screaming. It almost sent shivers down my spine.
Satriani: That's great. I love to hear that. To me, the live performance is like a super high point in the cycle of writing, recording, and going on tour. I get lost in it. I can't take credit for what I do live onstage entirely, because I get lost in it. I get lost in the moment. The only way I can play well is if I surrender my emotion to the moment. Some nights are just crazy cathartic rides that I take myself on. I hope that the people in the audience get it — that they are part of it, that they are receiving it.
In the studio, do you do things in one take or is it usually more that that?
Satriani: It really depends. I can go through the catalog and tell you stories about how this particular song was the first take and the engineer refused to let me play it anymore. (laughs) That happens a lot. And then other songs I spend three hours working on some little thirty second passage but it turned out it was worth it. So you never know. You have to respect your artistic process. And if you say, I've done it once and that's the best it's gonna be, then respect it. But if something inside of you says 'I've got to play this thing until my fingers are bleeding' — well, then you've got to do it. You've got to follow your artistic urge. Otherwise you will be unhappy as an artist. I know it sounds silly but that's the only way that it makes sense. You have to follow that inner artistic direction. And sometimes it doesn't seem logical.
Throughout your solo career, did you ever consider a long-term, full-time vocalist?
Satriani: Right after Flying In a Blue Dream [1989], I actually signed a second record deal with Epic Records. By that time they had already started a process of acquiring a small label that I was signed to. They were interested in me starting a band with a full-time, lead vocalist as a second project. And we spent about a year or two trying to find that guy. And I remember during that period, this was 1990, some of the greatest vocalists around were coming out — Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam. It was the grunge explosion. And I kept hearing all these singers and it was like 'How come we can't find anybody like that?' Which is such a character. Has a great set of pipes… and it was almost as if the only people we met were trying-to-be Axl Rose clones. So after about a year or so I just gave up and I gave the money back to Epic Records and we agreed to just tear up the contract. Because it didn't seem like we were ever gonna find the vocalist we wanted.
It's too bad Sammy [Hagar] wasn't available.
Satriani: I know (laughs). That would have been perfect.
Like baseball, the music business is a game of failure. You have to kind of get used to it.
Do you think with a vocalist, the songs would have had more mainstream success?
Satriani: Maybe temporarily. There's no way to answer that. If there was any way that anybody in the industry could guarantee success (laughs), they'd be flexing that muscle. The fact is, none of us know how people are going to receive what we do. We really don't. And like baseball, the music business is a game of failure. You have to kind of get used to it.
I was going to ask you if you were a big baseball fan … because your music being used in the movie Moneyball …
Satriani: I wound up being in that film for whatever it is … ten seconds or so, in a funny twist of fate. I had starting playing the [National] Anthem right around … boy, September 10th. Right before the attacks of 9-11. I think that's when I told my manager, 'You know, I'm gonna start saying Yes to all of these requests.' So fast forward a few years and the Oakland A's had asked me to play at their pre-season game. I went out there and they gave me a misdirection as far as when to play. Because, you know, it's quite confusing out there. There's a million people walking around and basically they assign you a person, and you look at that person, and when they give you the signal, you start playing. So this guy gave me the signal a little too early and I finished the Anthem and there were 10,000 people in front of me that were all standing with their hands over their chests … they thought I played the Anthem, I thought I played the Anthem, but when I finished I heard the announcer in the stadium announce my name telling everyone to stand up for the Anthem. And then the crew came out and took my amp off the field, so the whole thing got screwed up. The Oakland A's were very apologetic, so they asked me to come back for the opening season game in two or three weeks. I said, sure. I came back for that game. Everything went perfect. It just so happens that that night is covered in the film because it was the first season where the whole Moneyball scheme was having its debut, so to speak. That team was Billy's first run with his new system. Anyway, when the director found that out, of course he called around to say we need the guy who did the Anthem that night because we want to make it as true to reality as possible. I wound up being in the film just because of that funny little mishap. I always think that's a real funny thing.
Being from New York, did you still remain loyal to New York teams?
Satriani: You know, I've done a few Anthems in San Francisco where the Mets or the Yankees have played and it's an odd thing but I'm not that crazy about baseball where I pick teams and things like that. To me, professional sports is very much like the professional music scene. The players are very much like musicians. They travel around, they play for different teams throughout their career. So getting all territorial about your favorite team is a bit over the top.
I never thought of it that way. It is kind of true. I guess, they are like musicians.
Satriani: They are, really. You find a guy who plays with the Mets for eight years and then he plays for St. Louis and then he's down in San Diego. They look at it differently than the fans do.
How do you pick your touring band? Is it different than picking a band for the studio?
Satriani: Sometimes it is, yes. Sometimes you have to pick musicians for a record that you think support the material. And sometimes you wind up with an album that is eclectic — so eclectic that you need different groups of people for different songs. And then when you go on tour, of course, you need to find a group of people who represent your whole catalog. So you may not bring your guy from your most recent record out on tour because he may be someone special only to the new material but doesn't relate to the old material. I kind of had that situation in the beginning where the very first tour I did with Jonathan Mover and Stu Hamm. They weren't on any of my albums and their temperament and musical style were not really sympathetic to what I was doing on record. They were not like rock musicians. They were more progressive and like fusion musicians. And that's not what I did on my albums. Eventually that's what led to a split because it just didn't make any sense to have them trying to represent music that they didn't actually feel sympathetic to. Eventually I wound up playing with Jeff Campitelli on drums more often than not because stylistically we come from the same place. He's been on more of my solo records as the drummer than anybody else. He can represent the different shades where I have had Gregg Bissonette on drums or Simon Phillips on drums …
Do you feel the band on Satchurated is the one you're most comfortable with?
Satriani: On that particular tour, I took a real risk where I brought in a keyboard player and that's the largest band I've ever had. I've done power trio quite a lot and then I started as the four-piece … This time around I added keyboards and I thought 'I'm going to see if it's fun playing with a five-piece band?' And it was. It was very important that we could represent the new album [Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards] on the tour. And having the five-piece band made that happen because Galen [Henson] could take over a lot of my rhythm parts and Mike [Keneally] could represent the keyboard parts that he performed on the album. I think the oddest thing was bringing in Allen [Whitman] because Allen I've known since 1980. We've been great friends. We used to play in different bands on the same bill very often in club shows around the Bay Area. And I love the band that he plays with. He plays in a band called the Mermen and they are just a fantastic band. So just to get him in the band was great. He's a very unique musician, different from all of us. His way of thinking and his way of playing is just so different. I took a chance that there would be some interesting creative spark between Mike Keneally and his style of bass playing. That's what I was looking for. I just figured there would be something unique about putting Allen Whitman together with Mike Keneally, and it really did work. When I was looking at the DVD each musician onstage is so totally different in the way that they think about music that it creates a very interesting dynamic.
You've collaborated with so many musicians? Is there a famous musician that you have collaborated with that maybe the fans aren't aware of.
Satriani: Probably jazz guitarist Pat Martino. I think most of the people that I have collaborated with has been public record. Pat is world famous in the jazz world but my audience is mainly in the rock world so they probably don't know who Pat Martino is.
You did some dates already with G3 this year. You are now touring with Chickenfoot the next few months, then G3 tour again. Is it easy to shift gears from one kind of musical mindset to another?
Satriani: Well, I'll tell you, it's exciting. And this year is the first in my career where I'm not only playing with Chickenfoot and working on a solo album but also playing three completely different G3 tours [Australia/New Zealand, Europe and then South America] and that's something that's quite unusual. It's very inspiring, to tell you the truth, because with the G3 tours, you wind up hanging out and pushing your musicianship with who you are right next to onstage every night … amazing guitar players. It has a great affect on me. And having this six weeks of Chickenfoot tour is something. I'm really looking forward to it. And by the end of the year you realize that you've absorbed a lot of grey creative energy and influence, and I'm hoping that will have a good affect on the recording the (upcoming) solo record.
And Sammy and the guys are cool with you doing your own thing and working around it, right?
Satriani: If there's one thing about Chickenfoot that you can count on is that everybody is busy with at least two other things, all the time. I mean, our drummer is out with the Chili Peppers now so we have Kenny Aronoff as our sort of unofficial new member of the band, which has been great. We've done two tours with him already.  He's a fantastic drummer and is an honorary member of the 'foot. But everyone's real busy, especially Sammy. I mean, he's got to be the busiest guy. I'm not sure he's the hardest working. He's the hardest partying, busiest guy in show business, I think. Because he always makes sure he is having a good time. Any time I tell people you can't book me now because I've got to be in South America during G3, everyone says 'Oh fine, because I've got this other thing I want to do.' It all works out.
G3 becomes exciting because you wonder, carrying it on, possibly getting guitarists like Eddie Van Halen. Guitarists like that, you usually don't see outside the setting of their band.
Satriani: I would love that. You know, about the first ten years of G3 I would contact Eddie Van Halen every time. I would contact Jeff Beck every time. And we basically got turned down all the time. But one year we came very close to getting Jeff Beck and Billy Gibbons. It was almost set in stone but the scheduling is so difficult and it's something I understand completely when we reach out to these players. It's a very difficult thing for them to do — leave their current trajectory of album tours and join us, especially if they are part of a band. In essence, Eddie Van Halen, who is just an absolute genius, for him to step out of his band must make him scratch his head. Because he's probably thinking why would I do that. I already got my own thing going, you know. So I understand. I am very understanding when I get some of the declines. It's not for everybody, let's put it that way.
I want to mention Jimmy Page because some of us never had the experience of seeing him perform live. In a setting like G3, with other guitarists, that would unbelievable.
Satriani: I think he should do it and if he reads your article, let's hope he can. (laughs)
This friday is a Montrose tribute show coming up where you are playing. Did you know [the guitarist] Ronnie Montrose [who died March 3 from complications of prostate cancer]?
Satriani: Not really. I met him only once and shared the stage with him at a Bay Area music awards and that was many years ago. I played with his drummer Denny Carmassi once and I know Denny a little bit better. Of course, Sammy [Hagar] and I are close so … when this unfortunate event unfolded I was pretty shocked and Sammy called me and asked me if I would do it for them. And so I agreed that I would be part of a tribute to Ronnie's legacy — not only for Ronnie and his family but because I know it was something very important for Denny and for Sammy. It's basically Bill Church, Denny, Sammy and myself and we're gonna play the first album. [Note: Concert for Ronnie Montrose: A Celebration of His Life In Musicwill take place April 27 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. And a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Ronnie Montrose Fund for San Francisco Bay Area Musicians through SweetRelief.org.]
Do you find a lot Chickenfoot fans crossing over to your solo stuff now, and vice versa?
Satriani: I think so. I think there's a lot of cross over there. There are quite a lot of fans of mine that probably had not paid too much attention to Sammy Hagar and I think the opposite of that is true over the years and they started to sort of cross pollinate, to a certain extent. But we're so different. I think that's why Chickenfoot is something that is artistically successful. It's an unlikely pairing of four people.
BTW, Did you ever imagine Chickenfoot being this big? It really took off. You can call it a supergroup, I guess.
Satriani: Yeah, I was always scratching my head because when we did the first record it took so long and we played together so little. We were literally recording the album and we never done one show together. And , you know, we would meet up for a few hours and then after two days there would be two songs recorded on album and then I wouldn't see them for two months. (laughs). I kept thinking, 'This can't be the way a supergroup records an album.' You know, it's crazy. To tell you the truth, I remember when we realized we had finished recording that first album and no one had actually listened to all the songs in a group. And slowly over that Christmas vacation people started to email each other saying 'Have you listened to the songs? I think it's an album.' I think we were surprised at what it was. Because, maybe in our minds, we thought if I ever played again together with Chad, Michael and Sammy it's gonna sound like it but it didn't. I think it sort of surprised all of us, what the Chickenfoot sound was.
Progressive rock outfit HEADSPACE will release its first full-length album, "I Am Anonymous", on May 22 in North America (one day earlier in Europe) via InsideOut Music. The artwork for the CD was created by Blacklake (a design team from Holland), and they took the band's original concept of a bleak war-torn landscape and created the chaotic scene for the front cover, contrasted by the innocence of a young child.
In regards to the artwork, HEADSPACE's Adam Wakeman (keyboardist for OZZY OSBOURNE, son of YES' Rick Wakeman) comments: "We wanted to try and visually capture a contrast in the chaos. The album is about the listener and their relationship with humanity — ultimately the battles fought within the mind from child to man. Although the album has references to war (through Kubler Ross' model of impending death), it's also about the turmoil that leads us to peace and acceptance... We were conscious that all the artwork had to reflect that."
To give fans a preview of their upcoming release, HEADSPACE has posted an album teaser trailer that features samples of every song on "I Am Anonymous". Check it out below.
"I Am Anonymous" track listing:
01. Stalled Armageddon
02. Die With A Bullet
03. Soldier
04. Fall Of America
05. In Hell's Name
06. Daddy Fucking Loves You
07. Invasion
08. The Big Day
HEADSPACE began as a way for Wakeman and a close circle of his musician friends to reconnect. There were no preconceptions of launching a progressive metal band, and certainly no visions of grandeur — they just played music that they loved. "We're quite open about our influences because that's the music that we love," the band comments. "There's RUSH, YES, GENESIS, a lot of bands. We even give a tip of the hat to DREAM THEATER in a few sections. That's all a part of what we are."
This impromptu collaboration amongst friends quickly turned into something more serious, leading to the official formation of HEADSPACE and the completion of their debut album, "I Am Anonymous", which will be released this psring through InsideOut Music. The band comments, "Indeed, with players like keyboardist Adam Wakeman, vocalist Damian Wilson (THRESHOLD, ARJEN LUCASSEN), bassist Lee Pomeroy (Rick Wakeman's ERE, IT BITES), HEADSPACE is destined to go in an 'unashamedly prog' direction. People may be surprised to find, however, that for a band led by a keyboardist and vocalist — at least on paper — 'I Am Anonymous' is a heavily guitar-oriented record."
Guitarist Pete Rinaldi and drummer Richard Brook round out the band's lineup, making HEADSPACE a progressive metal powerhouse in the music world.
Adam Wakeman - Keyboards
Damian Wilson - Vocals
Pete Rinaldi - Guitars
Lee Pomeroy - Bass
Richard Brook - Drums
One of the most ambitious and musically dynamic metal bands to emerge from Sweden in the past two decades, Opeth made its mark thrashing out epic-length tunes that married harsh sonic mayhem with moments of almost pastoral acoustic beauty, tossing the templates created by Pink Floyd and Metallica straight into a musical blender. The band has been making its unique brand of metal since being founded by guitarist/vocalist and principle songwriter Mikael Akerfeldt in 1990, earning a global following with its adventurous early efforts Morningrise and My Arms, Your Hearse that added melody and complex song structures to death metal brutality.
Opeth truly hit its stride with the 2000 release of Blackwater Park. Collaborating with Steve Wilson (of the equally eclectic British progressive-rock band Porcupine Tree), Akerfeldt and company have ventured into increasingly layered arrangements and sophisticated dynamics.
The band followed up that brilliant effort with not one but two albums: the ornate and ferociously pummeling Deliverance, and its somber companion piece, Damnation. Featuring Wilson playing keyboards, Damnation detoured entirely from the complex roar of the band's other work, instead indulging in the kind of reflective songwriting and lush textures that salute past prog-rock maestros without resorting to outright Pink Floyd plagiarism.
Majesty and beauty aren't words often associated with death metal, but Opeth balances the intense ferocity of its music with a surprising level of depth and emotion. The band's latest effort, Heritage, stands as another major departure. Ditching his guttural howl in favor of clean vocalizing throughout the album, Akerfeldt and the band's current line-up explore a mix of fusion-tinged guitar heroics and Deep Purple-style, Hammond B-3 rock workouts that don't stint on intensity but rarely approach the brutal fury of past recordings.
KTVU.com recently got a chance to speak with Akerfeldt at length about the inspirations behind Heritage, the band's current Heritage Hunter Tour co-headlining with fellow metal mavericks Mastodon and his forthcoming collaboration with Wilson under the moniker Storm Corrosion.
KTVU.com: The tour with Mastodon seems a very natural pairing with two bands at the forefront of heavy music. Had you played with them at festivals or had much interaction prior to this tour?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Yeah, we'd played together at a couple of festivals in Europe, but not that many times. I'm surprised it hasn't happened before, to be honest. It's somewhat of a dream, I think, for our agents and managers to get this one together. There was some discussion as to who was going to close and such and such, but we ended up doing a flip-flopping type of tour. For instance, tonight we play last and Mastodon played last in the previous city. And obviously we have Ghost opening up for us, which makes it a really nice package of three bands that have something special to offer. It's a good tour.
KTVU.com: It's definitely the metal tour to beat so far this year. It's going to be hard to top. I've only seen Ghost once since they have played just one gig so far in San Francisco, but they blew me away. And I've seen you and Mastodon repeatedly over the last 10 or 12 years and you both always deliver...
Mikael Akerfeldt: It is fun. When we play before Mastodon I always go in and check them out. All three bands are playing well and the crowd seems to like it...
KTVU.com: Heritage seems the biggest departure sonically for Opeth since Damnation. Was the absence of death metal elements -- specifically the brutal guitar riffs and your trademark growl -- a conscious aim to step away from that at the outset, or did you find your songwriting moving naturally in that direction?
Mikael Akerfeldt: More or less naturally. I felt that we couldn't really do more with that sound. I felt as a songwriter I had kind of perfected that formula and couldn't really take it anywhere else. And I didn't really want to. I tried a little bit, but it didn't really work out. I was just gravitating towards something else when I was writing this record and ended up with an album that was a bit more rootsy. I'm tired of contemporary metal production. It sounds so f---ing slick and there's a lack of dynamics. I wanted to record in a different way too. So having that in mind, I guess the songs took shape in a different way than they have before.
It's also a matter of me not listening to death metal. I haven't been listening to death metal since the early '90s. you know? Even when we did the first record [Orchid in 1994], I was more or less done with listening to metal. I didn't anything interesting was coming out. Yet we were just finding our feet and starting a career of our own, and we were a part of the whole genre. But ever since that basically, I've been gravitating towards liking this type of stuff more and more.
KTVU.com: It seems the mix of acoustic and electric guitar seems to have always been important to the dynamics of Opeth's music, but acoustic guitar became even more prominent and central on Heritage. Do you write on acoustic initially before fleshing out the arrangements of the songs?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Well,  both. I don't necessarily have to write on the acoustic guitar. I write on whatever guitar is closest to me, just pick it up and play. Sometimes I write on the keyboard and sometimes I come up with a drum thing. It's different. Back in the day, I used to write on acoustic guitar only, because I always liked playing acoustic and I also figured that if I wrote a heavy riff on the acoustic guitar it was going to sound way heavier on the electric guitar [laughs]. But now it doesn't matter. I just write on whatever's handy.
KTVU.com: Do you come to the band with fairly developed demos of the songs when recording?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Yeah. The demos are very complete. I write for all the instruments and I want to make really, really good sounding demos so that the other guys -- first and foremost -- get the full picture of the song and they they can listen to the ideas of the song. But also I want to intimidate them a little bit. I program drums and I've worked a lot with the drums, so I can make it sound like a really good drummer is playing. In a way I want to intimidate Axe [Opeth drummer Martin "Axe" Axenrot] with the drums. I want to show him 'This is my idea for the drums' and I want him to go 'Oh f---! I have to step up to the plate!'
Even if it is a bit intimidating sometimes, I think it really helps them to push themselves as musicians. And they always kind of rewrite everything anyway and play it in the way that they're comfortable with, but I like to push them a little bit. Good sounding demos make them feel that they have to deliver better and really have to work.
KTVU.com: As audible as the prog and more traditional hard rock influences are on Heritage, I also hear a good deal of early 70s jazz fusion -- before it got cheesy and damaged by funk and fusion -- in some of the material. To my ear, I can especially hear some John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra and even a little Weather Report with the electric piano figure in the middle of "Nepenthe." Is that style of music something you drew on?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Well, I haven't been the biggest fusion buff out there, to be honest. But I have lots of records. I collect records and I have some Weather Report and some Billy Cobham and some Herbie Hancock and some Allan Holdsworth. And John McLaughlin of course and Mahavishnu Orchestra and all that kind of stuff. And I do like it, but I've never listened to it so much that I would get inspired to write a whole album like that. I like fusion in small doses if you know what I mean. It can be a bit tedious for me to listen to sometimes. But I do like it. And it's funny that you mention Weather Report, because we Alex Acuna playing percussion on our record...
KTVU.com: That's right. I noticed that he was listed in the credits, but had forgotten that connection.
Mikael Akerfeldt: Yeah, that was fun to have him there.
KTVU.com: I watched a recent video interview you did for Roadrunner Records and was intrigued by one of your responses. I think the question was something about what your practice regimen for guitar was like, and you said something to the effect of "I focus more on songwriting and not so much on the 'wheedlie wooo.'" I think the term I've always used is "wheedlie wheedlie" when referring to noodly guitar soloing, but I knew exactly what you were saying. You're obviously a very accomplished guitarist and the intensity of the playing is a big part of Opeth, but do you reign yourself in at times? This album has lots of these short bursts of Allan Holdsworth-style soloing, but they are generally pretty brief. Do you see those moments as the times to solo, but that it has to be in service to the whole song? 
Mikael Akerfeldt: Of course. That's much more important. I did have aspirations of becoming a lead guitar player. The technical aspect of playing guitar really intrigued me in the early days. But I have kind of grown away from that, because in the band I have Fredrik [Akesson, Opeth's other guitarist] who can play all that kind of s--t. So it's really liberating for me to be able to just step back and be the songwriter and singer. I mean, I love playing lead guitar, but I'm much more of a slow hand. I like Gilmour and Hendrix and Clapton and Page. Those kind of guys, you know? I can hear my own style when I'm playing slow. I can here it's me. I can recognize myself as a guitar player.
But there needs to be a purpose for the fast runs. So most of the guitar solos on the album are Fredrik's solos. We really worked hard at making them sound like they made sense. There's not a guitar solo just to have a guitar solo. It has to kind of lift the song to a new level during the solo. It can't be in there because "I'm the lead guitar player and I want to have a f-----g solo in the song!" That never happens. We'd rather have no solo than one that doesn't mean anything. For the song "Nepenthe" for instance, I just told him "Maybe you should try and play a bit like Allan Holdsworth here." And for the song "Slither," I said "I think we should have a Blackmore type of solo here" and he's like "Ok!" And for "The Devil's Orchard," I said "We should do some kind of Gilmour-esque type of solo here?" And he said "Sure!" So it's very liberating to me to have musicians of that caliber around me that I can just tell them anything and they will understand what I mean and they will make that idea come true. But personally, I prefer the slow leads and I love playing those kinds of things. If I ever shine as a guitar player, its when I can play those long slow notes.
KTVU.com: You've mentioned record shopping as a favorite pastime in other interviews I've seen. Were there any particular albums you've acquired that had an impact on the sound of Heritage?
Mikael Akerfeldt: There's a bunch. I mean, I buy records I already have because I trade and sell records sometimes in order to fund the stuff I really want to buy. So when I do, I try to buy records in good condition and I always listen to them. And I had a bunch of records that I had to listen to just to check the condition. It was regular hard rock stuff like Alice Cooper, Kiss, Mountain, Grand Funk and s--t like that I was listening to a lot. I guess it rubbed off on me a little bit, but generally I have all my influences stored inside me for the most parts. But I've stumbled across many new interesting bands through my record collecting, but I can't really remember if anything pushed me in a certain direction during the writing.
KTVU.com: Given the intricacy of Opeth's music, do you generally stick with a specific, rehearsed set list for a whole tour, or do the songs change from night to night?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Generally we are a little bit of both. Lately we've been going out on a limb a lot. We might not have practiced a song as much as we should have, but we'll be like "Let's just play it tonight" just to get it over with. Because that's the best practice, just to play it live. But on this tour, we are sticking a little bit to the same set list because there's such a strict time thing going on. We have to play exactly one hour and ten minutes. The first couple of shows we went over by five minutes every night and our tour manager was saying "You have to do something! You have to change" because people are getting pissed or whatever.
So now we have a set list that's perfect for the timing and it also happens to be perfect for us. We love playing these songs that we're playing and it really showcases all of the aspects of this band. Its a lot of new material and some very calm songs and in the end we play three rather heavier songs. By doing that, it kind of shows that we're quite versatile. It almost sounds like a different band. As a spectator, I think that would be interesting. I'd like to think that we come across as interesting at least.
KTVU.com: From what I've read, this tour is focusing more on post-Blackwater Park albums. If that's the case, was there particular reason?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Well, that's not completely true. For a long time we played songs from our third record and onward, so My Arms, Your Hearse and Still Life. We had actually not played a lot of music from Blackwater Park for some reason, though we played every song on that album live and even did a short tour playing all of the Blackwater Park record. But now, since we put out the Heritage record, we've picked other songs that fit together with that concept. It would feel strange for us to play songs like "Devil's Orchard" and "Nepenthe" and then play "Deliverance" in the middle.
To fans, maybe it wouldn't be strange, but for us it feels strange, because it's a different mindset. It just feels completely different. I wasn't aware that it was going to feel so different jumping between the new songs and the old songs, but it really does. So we're trying to pick songs that fit together with Heritage. And then in the end, we finish the show with some of the older, heavier songs. So it's really hard to jump between the different frames of mind I find, so that's why we're doing it this way.  
KTVU.com: Cover to Royal Albert Hall DVD is a winking nod to the Deep Purple album Concerto for Group and Orchestra. Your music has always struck me as something that could really work with a larger orchestral ensemble.  Have you considered trying that kind of collaboration or do you have plans to do that in the future?
Mikael Akerfeldt: I've thought about that, but it is very intimidating to me. To have guys and girls in an orchestra that can read sheet music and are so much better than we are, they might f-----g roll their eyes at my ideas [laughs]. I have been thinking about that, but it would be such a massive project. Besides, I'd have to find someone who I can trust and get along with on a musical level to write down the sheet music and to arrange everything together with me for a string orchestra or whatever we were going to have. So yeah, it would be interesting, but it is such an ambitious project I feel intimidated just thinking about it. But I can see that happening. I just have to get a different confidence maybe.
KTVU.com: One aspect of your concerts I've always enjoyed is the contrast between these dark, brutal epics you play and your hilariously deadpan stage banter. I've had more laughs at Opeth shows than at all other metal bands' shows combined. Do you think much about what you are going to say? Is it all off the cuff? And is that a way to provide some comic relief to the intensity of the songs?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Well, I don't really think about what I say. Sometimes I can say stupid things. People will kind of remind me afterwards, like "What the f--k did you say there?" and I'm like "Uh, I don't know. I can't remember." I have some type of sense of humor, but I think what makes it funny is that it's unexpected. People don't expect that ... well, now they do when they go to the shows. They're like "Tell a f-----g joke Mike!" and then I don't know what to say.
But I think the fun thing about what I'm saying -- if you write it down, it's not really funny -- it's just that in that situation and because it's a bit unexpected, it becomes funny. People are more used to going to metal shows where the front man is doing the cliche type of talk, like "Get your horns in the air!" or "You guys are the f-----g best!" That kind of stuff. I can't really find that in myself. I can't do that and keep a straight face. I think it's f-----g ridiculous, you know? So the way I am onstage when I talk between songs is a bit of a distorted and boosted version of me offstage I guess. And that's all it is. I'm not really funny like a comedian. But sometimes the vibe is right and it becomes a fun situation. I especially like to make fun of myself and the band members and metal in general.
KTVU.com: I was able to get a listen to the self-titled debut of Storm Corrosion, your collaboration with Steve Wilson. It has the feel of a true duo album with you two in a studio full of instruments. Were you augmented by outside players?
Mikael Akerfeldt: No, it's just the two of us actually. We created these songs from scratch, just sitting in his studio. I usually came in with some type of guitar lick that set the song off and then we just filled in everything from that. There are outside players, but not during the writing process. It was just me and him. We made a demo version of the record that, again, was a very good demo. And then we switched some of the synthetic instruments -- like the strings that we had recorded on keyboards -- we switched to real strings.
So there's a string section recorded for the record. And we also had Gavin Harrison, the drummer from Porcupine Tree, play just a very little bit of drums. There's not a lot of drums. And we had a flute player, one of Steve's friends, but I can't remember his name. Apart from that it's just me and Steven. I play guitar and little bit of bass and I sing. Steven does keyboards, bass and sings and some percussion. And that's it.
KTVU.com: Did you share responsibility as far as the lyric writing? Did you just write the parts you ended up singing on the album?
Mikael Akerfeldt: Even if I know the English language fairly well, it's still my second language. So when it came to lyrics, we never even discussed it. Steven wrote all the lyrics apart from a snippet of the one song which was mine and that was it. I love the lyrics. I don't really know what they're about. I guess since he wrote the lyrics, also he ended up singing a bit more than I do. I only sing on the opening track "Drag Ropes," which is also going to be the single. We have a video for it.
He sings on the rest. I did some backing vocals here and there. He's very good at coming up with vocal lines and he had the lyrics, so it just happened that way. I love his voice. It was never a question of like "Ok, you've written three lyrics, so I'm going to write three. And you sang on three songs, so I'm going to sing on three." It was just a matter of trying to compose a nice song. There were no egos involved.
KTVU.com: It is very interesting material. I wasn't sure which direction it was going to go, but I like the ambient, ethereal quality to the songs.
Mikael Akerfeldt: I think regardless of what type of expectations you have, once you hear it, it will make sense.
KTVU.com: Steve Wilson just came through town recently with a solo show at the Fillmore and you have the Heritage Hunter tour going on into next month. With your busy schedules, do you see yourselves taking Storm Corrosion out on the road or will it remain a studio project?
Mikael Akerfeldt: I think it will be a studio project. We've been asked if we're going to tour, and we always say "No no. We can't really do that." Partly because it's complicated to bring music like that to life onstage. We'd need a bunch of musicians to help us out or use backing tracks, which I hate, so that's not an option. We don't really have time. I don't want to become part of a big touring machine with anything else than what I'm already doing. I'm touring so much it's ridiculous, so I don't have the time or the need. Even if I love the music of Storm Corrosion, it might be good for the commercial aspect to tour, but I'm not interested in making this a commercial product. I just want it to be good music.
Opeth plays with Mastodon and Ghost at the Fox Theater on Friday, April 27, 8  p.m. $29.50.
German thrash metal veterans DESTRUCTION were honored with their own star in Quito, Ecuador yesterday (April 25). DESTRUCTION bassist/vocalist Schmier states, "Pretty fuckin cool to see they appreciate fuckin German metal high up here in the Andes mountains!!! It shows again: the Latin American metal scene is the best in the world! Thank you, motherfuckers, for your support!"
DESTRUCTION is scheduled to perform tonight (Thursday, April 26) at Estadio Chaupicruz in Quito with VENOM and OBITUARY.
DESTRUCTION will embark on the North American "30th Year Anniversary Tour" in May with support from WARBRINGER, VITAL REMAINS (who will be alternating each night) and PATHOLOGY.
DESTRUCTION recently commenced work on its 30th-anniversary album. The CD is due later in the year.
Inspired by IRON MAIDEN, MERCYFUL FATE, MOTÖRHEAD and VENOM, DESTRUCTION was formed as KNIGHT OF DEMON in 1982. The band's original lineup included vocalist and bassist Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer, drummer Tommy Sandmann, and guitarist Mike Sifringer. They soon changed their name to DESTRUCTION and released a demo titled "Bestial Invasion Of Hell" in 1984.
"Day Of Reckoning", the latest album from DESTRUCTION, sold around 800 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 58 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.
"Day Of Reckoning" was the first album to feature DESTRUCTION's new drummer Vaaver (INDUKTI, ex-UNSUN).
Swedish metallers CULT OF THE FOX will release their second studio album, "Angelsbane", in November via Rock It Up Records. The CD will contain 10 new tracks and cover artwork from Anna Björklun (who previously worked with the band on their debut album, "A Vow Of Vengeance").
Formed in 2007, CULT OF THE FOX recorded three demos — "Kitsunetsuki" (2007), "The Power We Serve" (2008) and "The Sea Beneath The Sand" (2010) — before releasing its full-length debut last year.
CULT OF THE FOX has shared the stages with such bands as RAM and PORTRAIT.
Daniel Fritze - Drums
Peter Svensson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Erika Wallberg - Guitar
Magnus Hultman - Lead vocals
Former ARCH ENEMY guitarist Christopher Amott has finished mixing his new solo album and will master the effort on Friday, April 27 for a tentative summer release. He says, "There's been a few delays, but that's what happens when you strive for perfection! Can't wait to release this one — I am really pleased."
Amott in March issued a statement explaining that he left ARCH ENEMY to pursue his solo career. He said, "I'm gonna continue to be very active in music, working with all kinds of styles — this does not rule out metal."
ARCH ENEMY recruited 26-year-old American guitarist Nick Cordle (ARSIS) to replace Christopher.
Christopher Amott started his career in music in 1995 as a founding creative force and guitarist in ARCH ENEMY. In this context, he is known for his tastefully technical guitar work and memorably emotive playing style.
After garnering his early success, Christopher had the desire to express himself on a personal level in the same genre. At this time he began writing albums under the name ARMAGEDDON. Christopher wrote and recorded three albums over the next few years as ARCH ENEMY grew into an internationally recognized act, with his compositions featuring his own vocal stylings on the last album. This would be Christopher's first foray into singing and a spark of inspiration for his later musical ventures.
In 2008, Christopher began to consider his creative options as a mature musician. He began writing songs of an entirely different atmosphere, which saw his guitar playing focused less on technical ecstasy and more on a chord-based blues rock ambience as a foundation for more prominent vocal and lyrical ideas. These compositions developed into his next solo project; the album would be called "Follow Your Heart", released under his own name in 2010.
Veteran San Francisco Bay Area metallers DEATH ANGEL will make their 1987 debut album, "The Ultra-Violence", available as a 25th-anniversary reissue after more than 10 years of being out of print. Guitarist Rob Cavestany says, "Digitally remastered but not altered, it sounds leagues better than the original pressing yet retains every ounce of vibe, character and feel that we put into our first record.
"To coincide with this release we will be performing the full album in its entirety this summer on tour in Europe. Perhaps even select dates in other parts of the world… We shall see where this takes us.
"Hope you enjoy this blast from the past as we go 'old school' and bring Bay Area thrash in its most primal form from 1987 to 2012. Join us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of 'The Ultra-Violence'!"
"The Ultra-Violence" track listing:
01. Thrashers (Cavestany, Dennis Pepa) (7:09)
02. Evil Priest (Cavestany, Osegueda) (4:53)
03. Voracious Souls (Cavestany, Osegueda) (5:39)
04. Kill As One (Cavestany) (4:57)
05. The Ultra-Violence (instrumental) (Cavestany, Dennis Pepa) (10:32)
06. Mistress Of Pain (Cavestany) (4:03)
07. Final Death (Cavestany) (6:02)
08. I.P.F.S. (Cavestany) (1:54)
DEATH ANGEL has joined forces with SEPULTURA, KRISIUN and HAVOK for a North American tour, which kicked off on April 10 at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana, California.
DEATH ANGEL will release a DVD entitled "A Thrashumentary" later this year. According to a press release, "A Thrashumentary" is a combination live video and documentary, all wrapped up in one thrashing DVD. The footage was directed by Tommy Jones (SOILWORK, KATAKLYSM) and mixed by Chris Clancy of The Studio. The film gives the viewer an in-depth look into one of the longest-running thrash acts out of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for turning out historic thrash bands such as METALLICA, TESTAMENT and EXODUS.
"Relentless Retribution", the latest album from DEATH ANGEL, sold 2,700 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 10 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. The band's previous album, "Killing Season", opened with around 2,300 units back in March 2008. This number was in line with the performance of its predecessor, "The Art of Dying", which registered a first-week sales tally of around 2,100 back in May 2004.
Guitarist Adrian Galysh, whose previous releases have been mainly instrumental fare, has enlisted former YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, ROYAL HUNT and ULI JON ROTH singer Mark Boals to contribute vocals to Adrian's new album. While the CD is currently in pre-production, listeners can still expect Galysh's tasteful guitar work, with hard rock and world music influences, to be heard throughout.
Described as "a virtuoso of modern electric and acoustic guitar techniques" by 20th Century Guitar magazine, Galysh has been dazzling southern California audiences for over a decade, whether he's backed by his band or as sideman for ex-SCORPIONS guitar legend Uli Jon Roth.
Boals, whose career started with stints in SAVOY BROWN and TED NUGENT, is noted most for his vocal work with neoclassical guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, appearing on four studio albums, including the hard rock classic "Trilogy".
Galysh and Boals have worked together before, performing in Uli Jon Roth's band during a 2011 tour. Galysh says of the opportunity to write and record with Boals, "Mark Boals is one of my all-time favorite singers. I clearly remember first hearing him on Yngwie's 'Trilogy' album, and being blown away by how strong and unique his voice was. I've been fortunate to have been able to perform with both my favorite guitarist, Uli Jon Roth, as well as favorite vocalist, Mark Boals, and am thrilled to have him on my new record."
Galysh's new album, tentatively titled "Tone Poet", is expected to be released in the summer.
For more information, visit www.AdrianGalysh.com.
According to The Pulse Of Radio, SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR frontman Corey Taylor recently sat down with actor John Cusack for a "Rogue On Rogue" interview at ArtistDirect.com. Taylor complimented Cusack on his portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe in the new film "The Raven" before getting into a discussion of the connections between film and music. Taylor said, "There's a parallel between something like the murders in the film and things that have happened in heavy metal over the years where the music is blamed for inciting violence. Someone's fiction and work is taken and twisted in such a weird way. You played that so beautifully in the movie, John. When they first tell Poe something he's written is the impetus for a murder, I could totally relate to the look on your face. I thought you did that really well."
Cusack responded, "The reason people respond so much to artists who write about channeling any of the darker, more shadowy forces out there — or those things in us — is probably because they don't feel a sense of authenticity in their lives . . . people realize we all have a shadow and dark side, and it's healthier to explore it than it is to deny it."
"The Raven", which opens on Friday (April 27), is a fictionalized account of Poe's last days, in which the author is asked to help solve a series of grisly killings patterned after his short stories.
Taylor is currently recording a new double album with STONE SOUR and will head out on the road in the U.S. this summer with SLIPKNOT on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour.
PHILM — the Los Angeles-based experimental post-hardcore triumvirate featuring drummer Dave Lombardo (SLAYER), guitarist/vocalist Gerry Nestler (CIVIL DEFIANCE), and bassist Pancho Tomaselli (WAR) — will play a special CD-release show on May 15 at The Ciper Room in West Hollywood, California.
PHILM will release its debut album, "Harmonic", on May 15 via Ipecac Recordings.
"Harmonic" track listing:
01. Vitriolize
02. Mitch
03. Hun
04. Area
05. Way Down
06. Harmonic
07. Exuberance
08. Sex Amp
09. Amoniac
10. Held in Light
11. Dome
12. Killion
13. Mezzanine
14. Mild
15. Meditation
The song "Area" is now available for streaming using the <>SoundCloud player below (courtesy of Terrorizer magazine).
"When people hear about my involvement in PHILM, they automatically assume that it will compare to SLAYER's sound," explains Lombardo. "They couldn't be more different. I have scaled down my drum set to a four-piece, reminiscent of the drummers from the late '60s that influenced me. Each song is unique in itself, I like to refer to it as 'rhythmic emotion.' It's almost like taking all the heavy songs of the '60s and bringing that era to a modern plateau, then blending them with the modern trance and psychedelic sounds of today."
"We decided to record Harmonic in the intimate setting of a home, with various vintage recording equipment," says Lombardo on the band's debut album. "The music was written collectively in an improvisational manner, unlike the majority of recordings I've done before. This was very important given this is my first recording where I'm carrying the title of producer and performer. The album achieves a dense, unholy convergence of tones and discords. We also touch on haunting, desolate, ambient sounds. Our music tends to be written in a manner where we never know the outcome until we listen back to what we recorded. A harmonic journey."
While there are elements of metal detected throughout PHILM's sound, the band manages to also incorporate such other styles as jazz, ambient, hardcore punk, experimental, and funk into its unpredictable, cacophony-heavy style. An obvious reason for this multi-genre amalgamation can be directly linked to the gentlemen that play alongside Lombardo in PHILM — Tomaselli is a longtime member of funk rockers WAR, and Nestler fronts prog metallists CIVIL DEFIANCE. Add it all up, and you get the wonderful world of PHILM.
In an interview with AOL's Noisecreep, Nestler stated about PHILM's formation, "Dave and I first got together in 1997 to start an original band. We later regrouped between SLAYER's scheduled tour dates in late 2009, playing some upstairs jams at the Rainbow in Hollywood. We then decided to restart our band. Pancho had met Dave a few years back at one Dave's drum clinics and we decided to invite him in."
Regarding PHILM's sound, Nestler said, "The music of PHILM is channeled through the many different influences of drum and bass, expressionism, and underground that ranges via ancient and indigenous to street. There are many different things that Dave and I have been into that have contributed to the vision of PHILM. Pancho's highly skilled bass playing, chordal color and shape have helped expand the overall sound instrumentation and groove. Dave Lombardo's drumming goes without comparison, except that it might be said, to quote Pancho that 'it's like playing with the seven, not four, horses of the Apocalypse behind you.'"
PHILM officially took form in late 2010 with a handful of tour dates and an early four-song demo that quickly began to make the rounds of in-the-know music critics. Noisecreep said the band "has crafted a crunchy, thrashy, yet thoroughly unclassifiable sound" and the OC Weekly said of the trio: "PHILM's ability to melt down metal influences and mix them with the elements of funk, ambient jazz and punk... is potent and has left audiences wondering how so much noise could emanating from just three musicians."
Ipecac Recordings is the brainchild of Greg Werckman (former label manager for the legendary punk label Alternative Tentacles) and FAITH NO MORE singer Mike Patton, who played with Lombardo in the eclectic supergroup FANTÔMAS.
PHILM will take part in an online chat via Yowie on Tuesday, May 1 at 1 p.m. PT. More information is available at this location.
Video footage of PHILM performing on May 29, 2011 at the Roxy in West Hollywood, California can be viewed below (courtesy of Metal Assault).
For more information, visit the PHILM Facebook page.
HARTMANN, the band led by former AT VANCE singer Oliver Hartmann, will releas its long-awaited fourth album, "Balance", on June 1 via Avenue Of Allies. The CD was once again mixed by Sascha Paeth (AVANTASIA, EDGUY, EPICA, KAMELOT) at Gate Studios in Wolfsburg, Germany.
According to a press release, "Balance" "once again offers melodic rock music with a modern approach on the highest international level backed by a top-notch production. The songs, mostly written by Oliver Hartmann himself, cover a wide variety of moods and showcase the whole range of the musical genre, always focusing on catchy melodies and expressive choruses. Highlights include the irresistible mid-tempo opener 'All My Life', the cleverly arranged rocker 'You Are The One', the relaxed tune 'Dance On The Wire', the diverse 'Fall From Grace', the power ballad 'After The Love Is Gone' and the atmospheric track 'From A Star'. In addition to the original material, 'Balance' includes a stunning cover version of the TEARS FOR FEARS smash 'Shout'."
Hartmann first appeared on the international music scene during the late '90s as the frontman of the heavy rock outfit AT VANCE. During his successful time with the band, they recorded four albums and Oliver became an internationally well known and highly respected singer. Since then his powerful voice has been heard on rock operas such as AVANTASIA, AINA and GENIUS and on many productions by well-known international rock acts like HAMMERFALL, EDGUY, HELLOWEEN, LUNATICA, RHAPSODY, SOUL SELLER and EMPTY TREMOR.
"Balance" track listing:
01. All My Life (3:56)
02. Like A River (4:06)
03. You Are The One (3:53)
04. Fool For You (4:07)
05. After The Love Is Gone (5:27)
06. Save Me (4:59)
07. Fall From Grace (5:09)
08. From A Star (4:54)
09. Dance On The Wire (4:25)
10. Shout (5:35)
11. Time To Face The Truth (3:11)
12. The Best Is Yet To Come (5:04)
Oliver Hartmann: vocals, guitar
Mario Reck: guitar
Armin Donderer: bass
Dario Ciccioni: drums
Additional musicians:
* Jürgen Wüst: organ on "Fall From Grace"
* Xaver Fischer: keyboards on "After The Love Is Gone"
* Tiffany Kirkland: backing vocals on tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12
In "Swinging American Style: Texas F*ck 'Em", rock 'n roll drummer Phil Varone invites viewers to have a raw inside look at the actual life style of real swingers who are regular, everyday people who happen to love couple swapping.
The voyeuristic movie is the first in a "swinging" series from adult entertainment leader Vivid. It's available online at Vivid.com today and will be available in stores across the country on May 1.
The swingers were assembled by Varone, the notorious rock drummer formerly of SAIGON KICK and SKID ROW. Varone claims he's had sex with over 3,000 women.
As sexual ringmaster, Varone varies the theme of the popular card game Texas Hold 'Em as he gives viewers an all-access peek at the lives of real swingers exercising their sexual freedoms right now in America. Varone's voyeuristic directing style allows the viewer to feel as if they were standing in the same room watching and being part of all the action. Knowing that most people have little experience in front of a camera other then personal home video, Varone says "less is more when trying to capture the true lives of real people." A taboo activity for many, to others swinging is a rewarding way of life.
"Swinging American Style" goes behind locked doors to show viewers what happens when like-minded couples and singles come together to explore their sexual desires and fantasies. The movie reveals how they find each other and what really happens when they get together, with no secrets left unexplored, says Varone.
"Swinging is alive and thriving in America. Anyone who has been thinking about joining in shouldn't hesitate as there are increasingly more of us who want to share our sensuous sides with you, and this movie gives you a pretty good idea of the fun that we are all enjoying," he says. Varone selected swingers Maia, Kristal, Sherri, Jessica, Jerome, Ryan and Kevin to join him in the movie.
Over the years Varone has been branded as a sex addict and has appeared on VH1's "Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew" show. "They've got an addiction claim for everything you can do, but I never considered myself a sex addict because sex never screwed up the rest of my life or my ability to function at a high level," Varone says.
Varone has appeared on many TV shows, including "Miami Ink", "Californication", "NUMB3RS", "Oprah", "The Tyra Banks Show", "The Today Show" and many others.
In 2010, Phil responded to ex-SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach's claim that Varone's decision to pose nude for the cover of the December 2010 issue of Playgirl magazine is "further proof that the name 'SKID ROW' has completely lost all credibility, cool, accuracy and is now devoid of all meaning in every way." Varone told the New York Post, "I'm grateful and proud of my time in SKID ROW and sorry [Sebastian] feels that way." Playgirl representative Daniel Nardicio defended Varone: "This coming from a man [Bach] who preceded David Hasselhoff in 'Jekyll & Hyde' on Broadway? Now that's the epitome of uncool."
Varone joined SKID ROW in 2000 — about four years after Bach parted ways with the group.
California's most passionate and articulate exponents of hardcore THE GHOST INSIDE will release their third album, "Get What You Give", on June 19 via Epitaph Records. The CD, produced by Jeremy Mckinnon of A DAY TO REMEMBER, embraces THE GHOST INSIDE's powerful and affecting sound that merges insightful and introspective lyrics with charging drums, lightning fast riffs and devastating breakdowns.
"Our new album is musically, lyrically and vocally our best album to date," says frontman Jonathan Vigil. "After spending two years on the road following the release of our last album ('Returners'), we've developed a true sound for our band. We really pushed ourselves to the limits to create something we can honestly be proud of and to prove that in life, you're always going to 'Get What You Give'."
"Get What You Give" is nothing short of the band's most dynamic and explosive material thus far, an album that embraces the authenticity, dedication, perseverance and the most literal adherence to the core values behind the band's craft. Formed in 2007, the quintet's two prior releases — the breakthrough album "Returners" (2010) and their first full-length, "Fury And The Fallen Ones" (2008) — laid down the promise and potential that has now been fully delivered with their Epitaph Records debut. Tracks like "Dark Horse", "Engine 45" and "Outlive" are anthems that are built for crowd participation in the live environment, where THE GHOST INSIDE takes pride in giving all of themselves over to the crowd. Lyrically, the songs tackle a wide variety of topics, from addiction, to self-sacrifice.
Having shared the stage with the likes of BRING ME THE HORIZON, PARKWAY DRIVE and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, fans can catch their riveting live performance on tour all summer long on the Vans Warped Tour.
"Get What You Give" track listing:
01. This Is What I Know About Sacrifice (1:29)
02. Outlive (2:35)
03. Engine 45 (4:12)
04. Slipping Away (3:13)
05. The Great Unknown (3:10)
06. Dark Horse (3:20)
07. White Light (4:50)
08. Thirty Three (3:07)
09. Face Value (3:50)
10. Deceiver (3:07)
11. Test The Limits (4:18)
South Carolina-based extreme technical death metallers NILE will release their seventh full-length album, "At The Gate Of Sethu", in Europe on June 29 and in the U.S. on July 3 via Nuclear Blast Records. The follow-up to 2009's "Those Whom The Gods Detest" was once again produced and mixed by Neil Kernon, who has previously worked with NEVERMORE, CANNIBAL CORPSE, QUEENSRŸCHE and DEICIDE, among many others. The CD artwork was handled by a true genius of darkened visuals, Seth Siro Anton (SOILWORK, PARADISE LOST, SEPTICFLESH).
Commented NILE mastermind Karl Sanders: "Seth Siro Anton has designed the cover. I have been a fan of SEPTICFLESH a long time, and as Seth expressed interest, I knew that he would deliver a great job. I would say his work is easily the best we've ever had. He has captured the darker side of the sound of NILE and reflected the music and ideas, the heart and soul of NILE are forming. Seth is a very talented man and understands exactly who we are."
Added Seth Siro Anton: "It is no secret that I admire the powerful stylistic lines of the magical symbols that still transmit the aura of ancient Egypt, preserving in time the ancient mysteries. Also, I am fascinated from the final frozen moment of the flesh captured in an eternal sleeping stasis, at the completion of the mummification process. So, with a great pleasure I accepted the challenge, to visualize the new masterpiece of NILE, 'At The Gate Of Sethu'."
In a recent interview with CobraMetal.net, Sanders stated about "At The Gate Of Sethu", "Well, we started [working on it] in May of last year (2011) after we finished our European tour. We worked on that fucking record for 10 months straight, to the exclusion of all else. (Laughs) Long hours, every day."
Regarding the new album's concept, Karl said, "It's in similar territory to other NILE records in that a lot of it stems from Ancient Egyptology and sort of has underlying modern themes tied in. We haven't abandoned our identity and I don't believe you should fuck over your fans. If your fans like what you do, and you change too much of what you do, fans don't like it. What matters to me is when I'm out on tour and I meet the actual fans and they share their thoughts…those are the people that I listen to. There's a lot of new ideas within the realm of what we do that we tried to incorporate. We studied real hard on the guitar and have lots of new riffs and musical ideas. There are a lot of surprises on the record."
When asked if fans can expect any guest appearances on the new NILE CD, Karl said, "Jon Vesano is all over this record. (Our former singer and bass guitarist who we're still good friends with.) Jon did some guest vocals on "Those Whom The Gods Detest" and it made us realize all over again all the things we really liked about Jon's vocals. We wanted to incorporate some of his insanity. [laughs] He's wicked, man. He knows how to channel that inner possession. He finds a way to summon it. It's great stuff."
French black metallers MERRIMACK will release their new album, "The Acausal Mass", on June 22 via AFM Records. The CD was once again produced by Tore Stjerna and Sverker Widgren at Necromorbus Studio (WATAIN, DESTRÖYER 666, OFERMOD, PORTRAIT, UNANIMATED, SETHERIAL) in Stockholm, Sweden.
"The Acausal Mass" track listing:
01. Vestals Of Descending Light
02. Arousing Wombs In Nine Angels Pleroma
03. Gospel Of The Void
04. Beati Estis Cum Maledixirint Vobis
05. Hypophanie
06. Obstetrics Of Devourment
07. Worms In The Divine Intestine
08. Abortion Light
09. Liminal Matter Corruption
According to a press release, "The Acausal Mass" is "a milestone of orthodox and brilliant black metal, balancing malicious underground spirit and wickedly simmered maturity."
Theory tells that tragedy is a form of drama based on human suffering that invokes in its audience an accompanying catharsis or pleasure in listening. MISERATION's newest album, "Tragedy Has Spoken", follows this path musically and lyrically.
The theme of the third album of these Scandinavians can be described as sum of the major tragedies of mankind's history. Lyrics for "Tragedy Has Spoken" have been written by Pär Johansson (SATARIEL, TORCHBEARER, THE FEW AGAINST MANY) and band's lead singer Christian Älvestam (SOLUTION.45, TORCHBEARER, ex-SCAR SYMMETRY), and address the diversity of tragedies. Some of which have taken the guise of accidents or natural disasters, while others were carried out with human hands and intent. Behind all this there is to find an imaginary architect, a fictive entity — something powerful, aware, far above the manmade concepts of good or evil: the nature of tragedy itself.
Musically, MISERATION expand their view on forward-thinking, vicious death metal by integrating new instruments to the mix. There still is to find what caused the quality and sustainability of "Your Demons, Their Angels" (2008) and "The Mirroring Shadow" (2009), but in 2012 there is more than technical, intricate death metal with a good dose of melody. "Tragedy Has Spoken" was recorded using 8-string guitars, which gives the wall of distortion a certain distinctive flair. In addition MISERATION are incorporating folk instruments such as the Indian harp Esraj, the Persian hammered dulcimer Santur, sawblade, organ, mandolin and piano, as well as Mongolian throatsinging. Music and lyrics are globally and far beyond standard practice, so there is a lot to discover!
The cover artwork for "Tragedy Has Spoken" was created by acclaimed artist Pär Olofsson (IMMORTAL, ABYSMAL DAWN, IMMOLATION, THE FACELESS) and can be seen below.
The first track from the new album will make its online debut on May 9.
"Tragedy Has Spoken" release dates:
* June 29: Germany, Austria, Switzerland + Digital
* July 2: Rest Of Europe
* July 3: North America
* July 4: Scandinavia
MISERATION's sophomore album, "The Mirroring Shadow", was released in November 2009 via Lifeforce Records.

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