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Like most metal fans, I became familiar with Vinny Appice when he replaced Bill Ward in Black Sabbath. Just like Ronnie James Dio did a tremendous job filling Ozzy Osbourne's shoes in Black Sabbath, Vinny similarly did a great job filling Bill Ward's shoes. Like Dio, he did not try to imitate his predecessor, but went for a more original style that was nevertheless able to fit into the unique Sabbath style. Vinny drummed his way through classic Sabbath albums such as Mob Rules and Live Evil. When Ronnie James Dio first left Black Sabbath in 1983, he took Vinny with him, forming the band Dio. During his tenure with Dio, he recorded such legendary metal classics such as Holy Diver, The Last in Line and Dream Evil. He would leave with Dio bassist Jimmy Bain to form World War III, only to be called back to Black Sabbath to record their reunion album Dehumanizer. After Dehumanizer, Dio and Appice would reunite Dio into the first half of the 90s. By the second half of the 90s, Vinny found himself in Sabbath (again) with Ozzy singing instead of Dio. In the 21st century, Dio and Appice would find themselves back in Black Sabbath again, only for this lineup to be called Heaven & Hell. While many metal fans (including myself) were happy to see this lineup reunite, it sadly would be the last time, we got to witness the legendary Ronnie James Dio on stage, as he was to pass away with cancer soon after. While Sabbath has reunited with Ozzy recently, Vinny has kept busy with his new band Kill Devil Hill, which features Pantera bassist Rex Brown. Kill Devil Hill's band is very modern, very heavy and very loud. More information on the band can be found at the website http://www.killdevilhillmusic.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/KillDevilHillMusic
Although Kill Devil Hill is Vinny's main focus, he finds time to play with Big Noize, an all-star heavy metal band that includes Joe Lynn Turner (of Deep Purple and Rainbow), Carlos Cavazo (of Quiet Riot and Ratt), and Phil Soussan (of Ozzy Osbourne and Billy Idol). Big Noize plays songs from that quartet's musical era. Likewise, Vinny and his brother, legendary drummer Carmine Appice (of Vanilla Fudge, Catcus, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, and Ted Nugent) tour together in a group called Drum Wars. The two play many classic songs they had previously drummed on and combine several drum duets and solos. More information on Drum Wars can be found at http://www.drumwars.com/
Despite playing with many hard rock and metal legends, Vinny also played with non-metal musicians early in his career before he joined Sabbath. In fact, Vinny's career started off with one of the most famous musicians in the world: John Lennon. After Lennon, he would go on to play with Rick Derringer and Ray Gomez. In this candid conversation, we talk about this early part of Vinny's career. In addition, we look at the classic time with Black Sabbath and Dio as well as focus on the current stuff with Kill Devil Hill, Drum Wars and Big Noize. I want to thank  Lisa Walker for setting up the interview between Vinny and I. Most of all, I want to thank Vinny for taking the time out to do the interview and allowing me to use several pictures from his website: http://www.vinnyappice.com

Jeff Cramer: Was it your brother Carmine who encouraged you to pick up your sticks?

Vinny Appice: Well, he didn't actually encourage me. He's 11 years older than I am, but there were drums in the house. And so when I started to hang around the house, there were these drums and I started banging on 'em, and that got me going. And then he used to rehearse in the house with his bands, you know the local bands, in Brooklyn, New York, so I was around like a little kid. How old was I? Eight years old, nine years old, and there's a band playing the living room. How cool was that?
JC: Yeah.
VA: And so that kind of got me going and got the fever going. He would show me a couple things when he was around, and then eventually he suggested to my parents that I go out for drum lessons, and then I wound up going to the same drum teacher as he did, a guy in Brooklyn, Dick Bennett. So it was kind of influence from all the drums being around that I started that way.
JC: One of the things that, many people don't realize is that in your early stages of your musical career you got to play with a guy that most musicians would kill to be able play with: John Lennon.
VA: Yeah.
JC: Let's talk about John Lennon.
VA: Okay. Well, when I was about 16-17, I was in a band – it was a funky rock band with horn players.
JC: Was the band like Blood, Sweat, and Tears and early Chicago?
VA: We weren't into that so much. We listened to a little of that, though. It was more James Brown, that kind of stuff, and then we wrote some original stuff. The guy producing us, who was a really good friend of the guitar player, was Jimmy Iovine. So Jimmy Iovine brought us into the Record Plant Studios, and recorded us and produced our demos. We did about five songs. The owner of the Record Plant heard that, and he signed us for a management deal, and he gave us a room upstairs in the Record Plant studios in Manhattan on the third floor to rehearse in all the time. It was like our room. It was really cool.

So one night, they called us and said, "Listen, we have to put some handclaps on this song that John Lennon's doing. Can you guys come down here?" So we went down there and they were recording, "Whatever Gets You through the Night," with Elton John and John Lennon. And John was there. We're like, "Oh, my God. Oh, it's John Lennon. Holy shit." So, we did the handclaps on that song, so whenever you hear that song, that's –
JC: That's you guys.
VA: – that's me on there.
JC: [Laughs] That was probably the first official recording debut of you.
VA: Well, yeah. Like something that was released, yeah.
JC: Right. Well, that's quite a start.
VA: Yeah, that's a start. I wasn't on the drums, but at least it was with a major, major, major, major person. So that was that. And then John wondered who we were, and Jimmy said, "Well, they rehearse upstairs." Like, "Where'd these nine guys come from all of a sudden?" And then a couple days later, John would come and hang out, listen to us rehearse, and he liked hanging out with us.

We wound up playing pool up there, so he asked us to do a gig with him, and we did a gig at the New York Hilton. A live gig it was. We played, "Imagine," and "Slippin' and Slidin'" with John, and we went on with jump suits and all this weird makeup and stuff, some masks. And so the whole week before, or two weeks before, we were in a van with John, going around Manhattan. He fitted us for jump suits. He wore the jump suits, too. His was red. Ours were black. And we made masks of our face and all this cool stuff, but we hung out with him doing all that. And then we wound up doing three videos with him, some of 'em which made it onto his DVDs, and then he wound up producing a singer, the wife of the owner of the Record Plant, and we did eight songs with John as a producer.
JC: And at the same time the next guy who would enter your life would be Rick Derringer.
VA: Yeah, and see, the Record Plant back then – this was like in 1975-1976 – it was obviously a good place to hang out. And because everybody recorded there – Aerosmith, Rick Derringer, J. Geils Band were big – and there were so many bands. So Rick happened to hear Jimmy Iovine playing our stuff, and he walked in and said, "Who's that?" He goes, "Oh, that's the band, and that's –" "Who's on drums?" "That's Vinny Appice, Carmine's little brother." "Oh, wow, wow."

Then I ran into Rick there, and he said he liked what he heard and he was gonna put a band together. He asked, "Can you give me your number and I'll give you a call when I put this together?" So that was the connection for Rick Derringer. And then about six months later, Rick called and wound up forming a band, and that was my real first professional thing, you know? Making an album and going on tour. So it was a good place to meet all these people, make connections.

JC: I understand during that time from Derringer, because I've read from Kenny Aaronson[who played bass the same time Vinny was drumming for Derringer], that you were opening for everybody, like Aerosmith, Frampton on when he was recording "Frampton Comes Alive."

VA: Yeah. Frampton, I don't remember. That might have been after I left, but we did open for Aerosmith on the Rocks tour for about six weeks, so that was like really major. And then the interesting thing was we played a lot of club shows with bands that are huge now. It was co-headlining Derringer and Journey. Derringer and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

JC: Journey and Tom Petty opened for Derringer, wow.
VA: Yeah. And then Boston, we opened for them, and they were just a band from Boston, as the record says. They didn't really know what to do on stage. All of a sudden, they were kind of a club band and now all of a sudden they're playing arenas. So they would sit and watch us play. We opened for them and learned not necessarily from me, because it was new to me, but from Rick. Rick was a pro, you know? [To hear a sample of a live version of Rick Derringer and Vinny in action as they played "Beyond The Universe", click here.]
JC: Right.
VA: And, God, there were so many different bands. We played with Mahogany Rush. We played with Jeff Beck. Yeah, we played with a lot of people.
JC: You and Danny Johnson would leave Derringer to form Axis.
VA: Yeah. We stayed with Rick about two years, and then we were young and crazy and we just thought, "This is not getting bigger, so let's go off on our own," because we had a band called Axis right before Derringer. That was in Louisiana. That's where Danny Johnson's from, and Jay Davis was the bass player. So I went down there before, and we were playing clubs and writing and things like that, and that's when Rick called and Rick took Danny, the band, along with me.

So down here, we wanted to spread our wings, so we left and got back together with Jay Davis on bass. Got a deal through RCA Records, and we all moved out to California and recorded the album with Andy Johns producing. And that album came out, and that's the album – and then we did a little tour, but we didn't have any management that was – we had managers, but they didn't really push it, and they didn't know what was going on, so it didn't work out with them. But that was the album that Tony Iommi heard when they were looking for drummers for Black Sabbath.
JC: Yeah, because I've heard the Axis album, and it is a little heavier than the Derringer material, you know?
VA: Yeah, yeah. It's heavier and it's got a cool drum sound. ["Armageddon" is an excellent example of the heavy and cool drum sound Axis has. Click here to listen to a one minute sample.] Yeah, it was a good record, actually, and that's the one that got me in the door with Sabbath, so that was pretty cool.
JC: Now, I heard, and maybe you can confirm this, that Ozzy also tried to approach you at the same time, before you agreed to the Black Sabbath invitation.
VA: Yeah, well, I was still in Axis. This was like '78-'79, and I got a call from Sharon Osbourne, and she said, "This is Sharon. managing Ozzy. We heard about you. We'd like to fly you to England and see how it works with Ozzy." So I'd have to fly to England, and I hadn't been out of the country except for Canada at that point, so I was a kid. I was probably 20 years old, and I heard Ozzy was crazy at that point. He was still drinking and being Ozzy [Laughs].

And I asked my brother, I said, "You know, got this offer, and I don't know. Is he still nuts?" My brother said, "Yeah, he's pretty crazy." So I turned it down, and I didn't wanna go to England at that point.
JC: Okay. So this was the studio lineup (Bob Daisley/Lee Kerslake), not the live lineup (Rudy Sarzo/Tommy Aldridge).
VA: This was the first album band. Yeah, yeah, this was at the very beginning. And I turned it down, and then like a month later, I got a call when I got back in town. I was away doing a photo shoot for Ludwig Drums at that time, and I got a call from my wife that somebody from Black Sabbath called. I went, "Oh." So, I wound up calling back and they were in town in LA, and I went down and met the tour manager, Paul Clark. And everything was cool, and then he called Tony. Tony came in the room. He had the Axis album, and he goes, "Yeah, I really like it. It's really good. You play good, and why don't you come down to rehearsal tomorrow?"

So they told me to come down to the SIR studios on Sunset it was, and I went down and I put my drums in my car, '67 Mustang, they all fit in there, my little drum set, and went down and play with Black Sabbath. And then they said, "You're in."
JC: Now at that point, they were in the middle of the tour because Bill Ward had just left the band at that point.
VA: Yeah, they were in the middle of the Heaven & Hell tour, which was pretty successful because the album came out and did really well. So they were playing all the big sheds. And in the middle Bill left. He didn't wanna – everybody was just a little nuts back then so I don't know what his reasons were.

But he just left, and they had to cancel the gig in Denver and they came back to LA and they said, "We gotta find a drummer," so luckily, I was in the right place at the right time. And then we rehearsed. We had about four or five days off, and then we went to Hawaii and played Aloha Stadium with 30,000 people. That was my first gig with them, so talk about a little pressure.
JC: [Laughs] Yeah. I was listening to Sabbath's Live Evil in preparation for the interview and I have to say, when comparing you to Bill Ward, you do fit the Sabbath sound, but you aren't playing like Bill. You have a more straightforward across the beat type of feel. Tony Iommi said the same thing himself in his autobiography, that you were more precise than Bill.

VA: Yeah, Bill played – when you asked Bill about drumming, he would describe himself as a percussionist, and if you listen to a lot of the parts on those Sabbath albums, you can hear what he's talking about because Bill didn't play four-four or a beat through a lot of the songs. He did when necessary, and then he played a lot of Tom and percussion kind of parts, which was really cool. I mean those things, parts like that are creative and – because anybody can play in four-four beat through a song. But thinking of other parts to play, that's where creativity comes in, and it's a little bit more musical when it fits right, and that's what Ringo did a lot. People don't think Ringo's a good drummer, but he had some great parts, great drum pieces.

So when I came in, I was a little bit more straight forward and more precise. The interesting thing is when Tony, Geezer, and Bill play together, and Ozzy, they've been playing together so long, they are sometimes out of time a little bit, don't come in together, and that was the whole Sabbath sound. So it wasn't right on the beat all the time. I didn't come from that era, so I was a little bit more on the clock, so to speak. But I did learn to really lay it back playing with Tony and Geezer and not have to rush and make it sound bigger.
JC: So, okay, then from the Heaven & Hell tour you went onto Mob Rules and then into the Live Evil album, which has that infamous whole deal about the mixing of the album.
VA: Yeah, we recorded the Mob Rules and then after that, the band, we went on tour again, and everything was cool. But then it started to turn a little sour between Tony and Geezer and Ronnie, and things weren't as pleasant as they had been. And then it was decided we'd do a live album, so on that Mob Rules tour toward the end, we started recording all the shows and putting them together for a live album. And then once that was finished, we were at the Record Plant studios in LA, and we were mixing it, so a lot of times what happened, they'd say, "All right. Start time is 2:00," and Ronnie and I would get there at 2:00 and everybody else would get there later. It was just all over the place, so they'd get there later and we'd get there earlier. But it came out and the press said we were going in and mixing our vocals and drums louder than everything else since we were there by ourselves, but that wasn't true.

We just went in and when – the same thing – whoever was there, like, "Let's start so we don't waste time." So it was more of it got blown out of proportion, because who would do that? "Hey, Ronnie, let's go in and out put our drums and vocals loud." That ain't going happen. Besides, then if that were true, Tony and Geezer can come in and go, "Hey, the drums and the vocal are a little too loud. Mix it down a little bit." It could always be changed, so it wasn't like it was set in stone once you put the levels up. It just got blown out of proportion.
JC:And from that, you and Ronnie left to form Dio at that point. I have to ask, when Ronnie split, did Iommi and Geezer tell you to go as well?

VA: Well, actually, what happened was Ronnie had a record deal through Warner Brothers, and his intention was stay with Sabbath, obviously, and when he got time, he was gonna do his own solo record, which was pretty much Ronnie James Dio and friends. He would have like Cozy Powell on there, and people he'd played with over the years, some guy from Kansas, Kerry Livgren was his friend from Kansas, the band Kansas. I was gonna play on it, maybe Jimmy Bain. So it was like that was the intention.

But then when Sabbath started to go south, he realized, "Well, you know what? I'm just gonna form my own band," so he decided that instead of a solo record with friends, he would like to put a band together, so he asked me. He said, "Look, I'm gonna leave Sabbath. I'm gonna put this together. Do you wanna play drums?" And then at the same time, Tony and Geezer asked me if I wanted to stay with them. So I had to make the decision, and I decided to go with Ronnie because he was a little easier to work with, being from LA. We both live close to each other and it was just an easier choice as far as continuing with a career.

And I thought it would be more exciting – "Wow, a new band with this great singer. Wow, this could be cool," – and I thought it would be a lot more exciting starting from below where we were with Sabbath. And, of course, it would have been amazing with Sabbath. But I thought this would have been more of a challenge, so I decided to go with Ronnie.
JC: Yep.
VA: And then we put the band together, and then we tried a number of different people. One of them was Jake E. Lee on guitar, he came down and we played.
JC: Really?
VA: It didn't work out with Jake. Ronnie wasn't happy with the sound, or I don't know, but a lot of times, it's just me and Ronnie at rehearsal. Ronnie would be on the stool playing bass and I'd be playing drums. We actually came up with the song, "Holy Diver." We had some of the parts, and then Ronnie and I would just jam. And then finally it was decided he wanted to have an international band, and so, with everybody from being from the US, it'd be cool to have international players. He'd always been associated with British players and he thought it would be cool, so that's why we went over to London and we hooked up with Jimmy Bain, and then Jimmy turned us on to Vivian Campbell.

So we wound up hooking up with Jimmy and Viv, and then we went in one night and jammed. Then we went, "That's it. That's cool."
JC:; Mm-hmm. Now those albums Holy Diver, The Last In Line are classics and I know Ronnie felt the same way because those albums were always a huge part of his set list to the very last day.
VA: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, Holy Diver, we went in just having a good time. Once Viv and Jimmy were in the band, about a month later, they came over to here and everybody lived at Ronnie's house except me. Yeah, I had my own place. Then we rehearsed in the Sound City complex and then right across the parking lot was the studios, so we'd write four or five songs, drag all the stuff over the parking lot to the studio, and then we'd record. So we were having fun. We were having a ball. And then make good music and that album just became a classic. We didn't know what we'd done. We was just having fun making music.

Both those albums, yeah, Holy Diver was really the cool one.
JC: One thing, though, out of all the people who played with Dio, the one who seems to have the most hostility toward Dio is Vivian Campbell. No one else who worked with Dio has that much animosity as Vivian does. I mean I've interviewed Craig Gruber, before Ronnie's death, and he had nothing but nice things to say about him. Sounds like something really bad had happened between the two.
VA: Yeah. Well, it was chalked down to business, there was a lot of business decisions that weren't the best for the band, and as far as the way things were cut up and stuff, so Viv had a problem with that, and Viv was more hostile toward fighting and getting what he wanted. So, he didn't see eye to with Ronnie. Eventually, that got worse and worse and worse until Ronnie said, "I'm gonna get rid of Viv. I'm gonna get somebody else."

I didn't think it was a great decision, because Viv was part of that band, part of the magic, and a great guitar player, but it was Ronnie's band. So, yeah, it just got worse and worse and worse until one day, it was the bubble burst, boop, Viv's out. So that was crazy. But they didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things, and didn't work together. It was more down to business. It wasn't a musical thing. It wasn't like Dio was gonna start playing disco songs, you know?
JC: Then you guys went on with Craig Goldy, to do Dream Evil, although I did notice on Lock Up The Wolves, there is a bunch of songs that were credited to you, even though by that point you and Jimmy Bain are credited on several songs, but by that point, you guys aren't even in the band anymore.
VA: No, but Lock Up The Wolves, we wound up writing – I rehearsed with the band and we wrote all the stuff that we wrote together, and so all my parts were there and my drumming was there, and, actually – and I think Simon Wright will tell you the same thing – that he copied some of the drum parts that I had because there were certain things that I played and he wound up playing the same thing, so I wound up rehearsing and writing with the band for the whole time. Just about when we were gonna go in the studio, that's when I left, I left the band.

And Jimmy was there, but not as long as I was, so I forgot when Jimmy was actually not there.
JC: What made you leave Dio at that time?
VA: Well, it was a little different people in the band. It was like Rowan Robinson, Teddy Cook. And they were all young, and it was like, "Wow, this is like an underage band almost." It was like, "Jeez, it's not the same band that I'm used to with Viv and Jimmy and Claude Schnell." So it was so changed that I thought maybe now it's time that I leave and I was hooking up with my buddy, Jeff Pilson. He had a band called War and Peace. And he was putting something together and I thought, "Okay. Let me hook up with him and try spreading my wings a little bit here." So that's what I did. So I decided to leave.
JC: Right. And there was that World War III album.

VA: Yeah, and that led to World War III. The thing with Pilson didn't work out, and then I ran into Jimmy Bain and Jimmy said, "Hey, I got this thing playing with these guys. You might be interested." They had a deal on Hollywood Records, they were just about to go in and do a record, and the drummer they had wasn't really cutting it. They were going, "Jimmy, you think you can get Vinny?" So Jimmy called me, and then I hooked up with Jimmy and I listened to it. And I go, "Wow. This is cool stuff, man. I like it."

So I wound up going and meeting the guys and really liked the guys, Mandy and Tracy G, and wound up playing on the record and just really playing on the record, and they wound up booking a tour, so I wound up playing on the tour. Yeah, we were trying to get that band going. That was a cool band. I liked that band. I still like that album. World War III is a pretty good album.
JC: Around that time, I guess Ronnie had called you back to Sabbath somewhere around that time, and stuff, after Cozy Powell didn't work out with them.
VA: Yeah. They started doing the Dehumanizer album in 1990 or '91. And they were working with Cozy, and it was taking forever and it wasn't working out really smoothly, so at one point, Cozy hurt himself. He was riding a horse and he broke his pelvis, so he couldn't play for a while so they thought at that point, "You know what? It's not working out. Why don't we call Vinny, get Vinny back in the band and see how it goes?"
JC: Now I have to say, I really love that drum sound on Dehumanizer.
VA: Yeah, I know. Me, too[Laughs]. That was recorded. Those weren't even my drums. Those were just some rented Tama kit and I remember it was black. And then Mack, who did some of the Queen stuff, he was producing it, so we just put it in a room and the room was pretty live, and then he had some serious overhead mikes on it. I don't know what kind of mikes they were, but they were really, really, really expensive mikes. And then he just got all the brightness and all the punch from those mikes, and the sound of the drums on there are really up front.

Interesting thing is when it came time to mix an album, we were in Wales. We did all that stuff in Wales. That's where we did The Devil You Know, too. And mixing sometimes gets boring when you're not playing and you gotta sit there. So after a while, I said, "I'm gonna go home and you guys are more than capable of mixing it without me," so I left. So Tony, Geezer, and Ronnie were there mixing, and they were really concerned that they wanted to make sure the drums are loud, make sure they're not too low. And then when Ronnie came back and played it for me, I went, "Holy shit. I should leave more often." They were louder than if I were there. If I was there, I'd probably say, "Maybe the drums should be down a little bit. They're popping out."
JC: The other thing about it was at this point, this was your second album with Iommi and Geezer. It wasn't Bill Ward, but your playing had more of a Sabbath sound. It sounds like you and Geezer are now more in sync with each other.
VA: Yeah, we got to know each other pretty well, all the stuff we've done. It's not like playing with people for a long time and then you don't see 'em for 20 years. I saw him way back when I was a kid, and knew they were who they were at that point, but we played together, like, within three years the three times, and so we got to know each other really well. And then when it came time for the Heaven & Hell stuff, the later stuff, we were really comfortable with each other. Everybody was relaxed and we played great together. There was a lot of jamming going on and we felt comfortable. Me and Geezer locked in. We know how we both play, so it was pretty – I would say the word "comfortable." We got to know them really well.
JC: Right. Now, of course, on Dehumanizer, it looked like the old things started all over again. Was there problems before or was it when they decided to do the whole Ozzy thing?
VA:There wasn't any problems before, but until Ozzy decided he's gonna do one show and call it his retirement thing, and Sharon wanted Tony and Geezer to play on it, and wanted us to open for Ozzy, basically, open his show, or go on before Ozzy. And Ronnie didn't wanna do it. Ronnie said, "No, I'm not gonna do that," and Tony and Geezer wanted to do it, so that became a conflict, and then Ronnie said, "I'm leaving," and I'm doing the last show. I think the last show is in San Francisco, and then I'm in the middle, again. Now what do I do? [Laughs] Do I leave and go with Ronnie and leave these guys where they can't play the gig?

So I sat down with Ronnie and said, "Look, I don't wanna choose sides or anything, but what's the best thing to do here? I don't wanna leave 'em –" and you know, Ronnie was a gentleman. He said, "Finish the tour with them. Don't just jump ship and leave 'em hanging." So he was very considerate and gave me good advice. So then I worked it out with the managers and all that stuff, and so I was gonna do the show. And then we needed to have a singer, so we contacted Rob Halford, who was in Arizona, and Rob was in town. We were in town playing, but we had a night off the night before the gig, so interestingly enough, we wound up calling Rob on the day off and we set up a rehearsal place somewhere in Arizona, Phoenix, and Rob came down and we went over all the stuff we were gonna do, which were new songs that I never played, so it was a little nerve wracking.
JC: Yeah, I've seen that set list that you played with Rob.
VA:Rob didn't know all the lyrics, but he was able to rehearse and go through it. And then the day of the show, he had to use the teleprompter, and then the teleprompter broke and he had to look for the lyrics on the floor. And because there were songs we never did with Ronnie, and it was like, "Oh, shit. Not only is Rob doing 'em, cold, we're doing 'em cold, too." We had never played these song before. But it all worked out all right. He did a fantastic killer job. He sang great. People loved it and the fans loved it and everybody was happy about the gig. They would talk about continuing with Rob, too, but that didn't happen. And then at the end of that, I went back with Ronnie and we started our next phase of Dio, which was the Strange Highways album and all that stuff.
JC: Two things before we get back to Dio, I've heard only two rumors around Tony Martin during the Dehumanizer thing.
VA: What about him?
JC: I just wanted to see if maybe they were true or not. Martin has claimed this, although I haven't heard it confirmed by Iommi and Geezer. One of them is that at one point they were having so much trouble finishing the Dehumanizer album that Tony Martin was even considered back for a little bit.
VA: No, I don't think so. I mean there were a couple of issues that came up, but I don't think it got to any point of Tony Martin coming in.
JC: The other rumor is that Tony Martin claims to have been asked first before Rob for that show, but couldn't get a Visa in time.
VA: No, I don't know. That could be. I'm not sure, because we were in the States maybe when they found out Ronnie wasn't gonna do it and the first guy they called was Tony Martin. I don't know if that's true or not.
JC: Right. I got you. Just because, as a fan who reads a lot of Sabbath stuff, I've heard these two stories from Tony Martin. There's been no confirmation by Iommi or Geezer. Anyway, you went back to Dio with Tracy G. I take it you recommended him during Strange Highways from working on World War III.
VA: Yeah. We were putting Dio back together and then we were looking for a guitar player, so I told Ronnie about Tracy G, and then Ronnie said, "Okay. Let me listen to what he's got." So he listened to it, and Ronnie, he liked it, so Tracy became part of the band, in the band, and we recorded Strange Highways – what was the other one –
JC: Angry Machines.
VA: But he wasn't received that well because he played a lot heavier than Vivian, a different sound and all that, and he didn't play exactly the solos that Vivian played, so a lot of the fans didn't like Tracy too much. In fact, a lot of fans hated him. He was darker and heavier than Viv, so when he came to the band, it changed it up a little bit.
JC: You know Strange Highways and Angry Machines were similar to Dehumanizer. I couldn't tell if that was the new musical direction that Dio just simply wanted to go and Tracy was just following orders. Or was the new musical direction the result of what Tracy brought to the band?
VA:Yeah, I mean Tracy came and we wrote all the songs. It was just a little different sound. He has a darker and heavier tone – which, at the time, the music scene was into, but that's what happened. But the fans, they wanted more of the old Dio stuff, sound with more melody and stuff.
JC: Right. because I also know that Dio is no longer writing fantasy lyrics by that point. They were more, I guess earthy or street.
VA:Yeah. Yeah, we started experimenting a little more, too. We'd done one song in a different time signature. We were really experimenting and trying to find our niche.
JC: Right. And around that time, again, you would be called into that same battle again between Sabbath and Dio when they called you as sort of a standby for Bill Ward.
VA:Well, what happened was I was on tour with Ronnie, like Angry Machines, we were playing clubs, small places and stuff. It was quite a different tour for Dio. And it was at that point, I got a call from Sharon, again, and it was like, "Vinny –" actually, sorry, even backing up before then, I think – I don't know what year it was. Maybe it was '97-'98 when they did their first reunion in Birmingham. And I got a call one day, and it was Sharon's office, Sharon got on, "Vinny, this is Sharon. Hi, can you – the guys are doing a show at Birmingham, NEC on the weekend." This was like Monday or something. "Could you come to England?"

I said, "Well, when?" She goes, "Well, today?" [Laughs] I said, "Okay." That's what you gotta do in this business, so I wound up getting on the plane, hopping on the plane. It's funny because that day I planned to fix my sprinklers and go to Home Depot and buy some sprinkler parts, and the next thing I know, I'm on the plane going to England, going, "Holy shit."

So I got on the plane and went over there and they were doing a DVD. They were doing an album which became Reunion, and they were doing a live show all in one night. I'm like, "Oh, man." And they sent me over all the Sabbath catalog and everything and I had to look through the songs they were doing. And, again, they were different songs than I was used to. So I had to listen on the way over on the plane. I had to make out charts, all this stuff. I finally got there at the hotel and it was still uncertain if Bill was gonna do the gig or not.

So Bill was there, but they were having the same issues that they were having now, I guess. And so Bill – it was up in the air, so I kept listening to songs. Finally, they – and time was running out to rehearse. So finally it worked out with Bill and so I was there and I didn't really play. I was just hanging out, and that's the last time, actually, I saw Cozy Powell, and was able to hang out with him a little bit.

So what else happened? So then after that, I went back with Dio, and then it came down to we were on tour and then they were doing the reunion tour and Bill had a medical problem, so they called me and said, "Look, do you wanna come play this thing?" And I said, "Well, I'm on tour with Ronnie," but we were doing clubs. We were doing really small places with Dio and so I thought, "Well, at this point, maybe I should go do it." It was a lot more money and it was a way bigger event. I thought at this point, maybe I should do it, so I decided to do it.

But I didn't leave Ronnie just hanging. We brought in Simon Wright. Then a couple days at rehearsal, and showed him the parts and sat with him and guided him as much as I could for the next three days. I left and flew to England, so that's when I played with Ozzy and the band the first time, so the original Sabbath which was cool. It was really cool playing with Ozzy. And it was thrilling playing in that band with those – that was the band, the real – it was thrilling playing with Ronnie, but this was the original old Sabbath band. It was like really cool.

So that's how I wound up filling in for Bill. And then that was in Europe. We did about four or five weeks in Europe, and then when that was finished, there was a break, and then they were gonna do the States. So they took a break. And then when they did the States, Bill was better. He was able to play. But they wanted me on the tour anyway. Sharon wanted me on the tour in case Bill couldn't play. So that was the weirdest tour I ever did.
JC: I know. You mostly sat there waiting.
VA: Yeah, I sat there and waited and waited, and it was crazy. You know, in a tour, you get into town and just everything is like a real gig, except you're not playing.
JC: Right. But you were paid well for it.
VA: Yeah, I was paid well, and it was very comfortable.
JC: Yeah, because I had a job where I really got paid well, and I really didn't do much. I know the feeling.
VA: I would rather be playing.
JC: Yeah, same thing. I'd rather be doing something, but like you, it was weird to be paid to be sitting there.
VA: Yeah. But that was a weird tour, but Bill was fine. Bill was cool and he did the whole tour. And then I just hung out. So history's always repeating itself. And then with Heaven & Hell, Heaven & Hell started with Bill Ward, too. It didn't work out, again. "Let's call Vinny. Have Vinny come in," and we moved along and became Heaven & Hell.
JC: Sabbath got together this year without Bill Ward. Were you called originally before they got Tommy Clufetos on drums?
VA: No, no. No, I wasn't, not at all.
JC: Okay, let's go back a little. What did you do between Sabbath and Heaven & Hell, at that period? Let's talk about that.
VA: I took some time off and did different things. And then in, like, 2003, started playing with an all-star band.
JC: Was that Big Noize?
VA: No, that wasn't Big Noize. It's just called the Hollywood All Stars. It was Carlos Cavazo from Quiet Riot, Jimmy Bain, he and Chaz West on vocals from Bonham. And before that, I just kind of took some time off and then I did a lot of sessions, local sessions here and there and played with some friends and just reflected on, "Okay, what's next?"

So then the All-Star thing, we started doing gigs. And then I played with George Lynch a little bit, and then we kept the All-Star thing going until 2006. So for about three years putting around. And then 2006 is when I got a call from Heaven & Hell saying, "The guys want you to come over and play with them." So, "Oh, okay."
JC: That was also –
VA: I hopped on a plane, again, and there I was.
JC: [Laughs] Well, it was also good because, I mean, even though you guys couldn't know– I mean no one could know that this was your last chance to play with Ronnie, again.

VA: Well, Ronnie was kind of a little bugged I left – when I left Dio for Sabbath years ago and stuff, but we talked it out and then it was cool. We hung out, and we had a good time. And it was like old times, again. And with everybody, it was a really good time. So it was planned to do another album and hopefully, another tour after that. But we didn't know he was that sick.
JC: Yeah. I saw you guys at what was the last gig, the Atlantic City gig. Then, again, Ronnie looked great at that and didn't look sick. I saw Heaven & Hell twice and, again, we talked about this earlier in the interview, the longer you stayed together as a band, the  tighter you were getting. I mean, not only was Ronnie great on his last gig, the band itself was even better on that last gig.
VA: We were playing great. We were playing great together. It was really cool. The interesting part of the whole thing was in 1980, when I joined Black Sabbath, the first song we played at SIR Studios was "Neon Knights," and that was the last song we played that night in Atlantic City. That whole journey with Ronnie and all the music started with one song and ended with the same song. How weird is that?
JC: And also, because "Neon Knights" was a last minute addition. It came because Sabbath didn't think they had a fast tempo song on the album, so they thought of that song on the fly.
VA:A lot of times, we opened with that song. The beginning earlier years, we opened with that song, but the later years, it wound up being the encore. So it strangely wound up being the last song we played with Ronnie. Crazy.
JC: Right.
VA: A wonderful journey.
JC: Okay, now, since Lisa brought us together, we must talk about Big Noize.

                                    VA: Well, Big Noize was – I ran into Joe Lynn Turner at one of the NAMM shows. I've been doing this All-Star thing and I'm good buddies with Phil Soussan for years, and Carlos, of course. So I said to Joe, "Hey, man. We got this thing going on. Would you be interested?" And he said, "Yeah."

So we put it through an agent with some gigs and we rehearsed and did the gig, and we had a good time. It was fun. We did a whole bunch of shows and it was fun playing all the old stuff from everybody's past. The fans seemed to really dig it and like it. It was cool. It was a good band. So we did that for when there was time on and off.
JC: Well, I saw Big Noize last year at the M3 Festival.
VA:Oh, yeah.
JC: One interesting thing is that you had this huge drum kit with Heaven & Hell. I remember at the Atlantic City gig, you do this drum solo where there are these toms above your head and in order to use those toms, you have to take one hand to reach it and another hand to hit it with a stick. Now, you got a much smaller drum kit when you were playing with Big Noize.

VA: Oh, yeah. Now I'm with Kill Devil Hill. There's a new album that came out that we're touring, and we do a fly out date, so we wind up playing on different gear, and the drum sets are really small. I don't care. I don't care. If there's one tom on there, I'll make it work. I love playing. I believe in what I'm doing and whatever it takes to get this thing going, that's what we're doing. If you're in a big band like Heaven & Hell, you can afford to bring everything with you. But with Big Noize, Kill Devil Hill, it's a different thing. It was fun with the big giant drum sets and everything moving and pulling 'em and it's fun with the little drum set, too. It's actually a challenge. Okay, I got this little set. One of the shows with Kill Devil Hill last month, I said – it came time for the drum solo, so I got the mike in front and I said, "You wanna hear a drum solo?" They went, "Yeah." I said, "You want me to play these shitty little drums here?" They said, "Yeah." Because it was just like a shitty little kit. And I remember playing on 'em, and it was a really good solo. I enjoyed it, the show, so in the end, it's for the fans that are there, and it makes you enjoy it if you love playing.
JC: Now before, we go into Kill Devil Hill. With Big Noize, Sebastian Bach is now gonna be your substitute singer for the upcoming show.
VA: Yeah.
JC: With Sebastian, are you still gonna be playing the Joe Lynn era of Rainbow, or are you gonna do Skid Row this time?
VA: No, with Sebastian Bach, we're gonna be doing some Skid Row stuff because, if Joe's not singing . . . I mean, whoever's in the band, we're gonna do that.
JC: Now I know Joe Lynn can sing the Dio, Ozzy and Quiet Riot stuff. I know he's that versatile as a singer. I'm curious, how is Sebastian doing everybody else's stuff?
VA: Joe did good, man. He did really, really good. I enjoy playing his stuff. He became busy, so he's unable to play with us right now and it didn't work out. So we decided, "Well, let's see if we can get somebody else." and we approached Sebastian Bach, and he said, "Yeah, I'd love to do it." So we met together. Now we haven't rehearsed yet, so we're gonna be doing that soon, too. It's cool with us, too, that we can bring in other singers with names and it makes it interesting, too. And it's not like we're going on a major tour. We just doing gigs here and there. My main focus right now is Kill Devil Hill.
JC: Okay. Then let's focus on Kill Devil Hill. How did that get started?

VA: Okay. Well, it started from, coming out of Heaven & Hell, I always wanted to have my own band, so that was my dream. I always played in bands that were established for people that were established, so it was my dream to have my own band. So I wound up starting to put it together, and started with some drum tracks I had. I recorded thirteen drum tracks, different tempos, different speeds. But when I had the surgery in my shoulder, I couldn't play, so now what do I do?

So I started listening to these tracks and they were really good, really great sound. And I had Jimmy Bain come down, the bass player from Dio, and he started putting some bass on, and we arranged it more into a song, some of these fills and tracks. And then heard about this guitar player Mark Zavon, and he lives close by, so I invited him down and we worked together, "Let's see how it goes."

And he came down and we started coming up with songs with these things, these drum tracks. This is cool. And he played me a song of the singer Dewey Bragg, and soon as I heard it, and I went, "That's the guy, man. We're gonna put the band together. That singer's great. He sounds really cool, modern." That's what I was hearing.

So Dewey came down. He started singing on some of the stuff, and it really worked out good. So eventually we kept writing songs and then it didn't work out with Jimmy, so we wound up with a different bass players and then it wound up with I heard Rex was looking for something new, and I called Rex. We go back from when we played together with Pantera, Black Sabbath, on a lot of those European Festivals, so I called Rex, played him the stuff. He loved it. He put his bass on it. Then we got some managers to get us a deal. And then we finally recorded a record and it just came out last month and it's doing great. We got some great reviews. Then we're doing all sorts of gigs coming up. It's good, and my heart's into this. My heart and soul are into this baby. [To hear a one minute sample of Kill Devil Hill's "Strange", click here.]

JC: Okay. And the other thing that you have is [laughs] for the first time, a drum rivalry between your brother Carmine.
VA: Yeah, well, we did it a long time ago. It's called Drum Wars. We did a thing like in the '90s where we did six or seven clinics together for Sabian cymbals. And it went over so well that we decided, "Let's do a DVD of one of the gigs." So we did the DVD of the gig and then we did all these interviews, which were kind of funny. But we didn't have time between the schedules to really put anything together. We did a couple gigs here and there, and that was it. So now, we really wanna play together, so we put this together. Drum Wars is the music of Vinny and Carmine, so we have like four drum duets that we play together, and they're kind of like a battle.

The drums face each other on the stage and then most of the time. And we have a band, and we do a couple of drum pieces, then we bring a band up and play "Holy Diver" and "We Rock", a couple Dio and Sabbath songs, and then we do another drum piece. Then Carmine plays a couple of his songs. Then we play a couple songs together from our histories and then we do a couple solos each –short solos. And then we do a big battle at the end, and we end with "Crazy Train." We go crazy playing against the song while our band holds down those accents and stuff. So it's a really good show. We're playing, actually, this weekend in Tennessee.
JC: Oh, great.
VA: So we're getting a lot of gigs with that next one, and we both enjoy it. We enjoy playing together. We'll probably write some stuff, too, maybe put out a mini CD or something like that.
JC: What's your general drum kit? What type of drums do you currently play?
VA: Well, right, I'm with d drums, and me and Carmine are all on the same company, d drums. I've moved over to Istanbul cymbals which is a new – they've been around for a long time, but they're getting more rocked out now. And so we're both using Istanbul, great cymbals, really great sound. And then Vic Firth sticks and then Evans drum heads. And so it's all great stuff and great people behind it, and they really support what we're doing and it makes it easier for us to do stuff together, and that's important, too. We need support, you know?
JC: Two remaining questions: What's your recommendation for anyone in the industry? You've been in it for a long time. You've been there since '74 and you're still there today. Most drummers' career is like five years and then it's over.
VA: Well, you gotta be dedicated. You gotta live, breathe, and drink this stuff. Just like I said both times, I got a call one day, "Hey, can you come to England?" And that's it. Most people go, "Oh, my God. I can't come. I'm working," and this and that, and luckily, I never really worked a regular job. But you gotta be dedicated. You gotta go out there. I just did a little stuff with Dave Grohl, and he was saying how they used to just eat lettuce sandwiches with Nirvana when they first started. Go in the store and buy the loaf of bread and some lettuce, and put it in a sandwich.

So you gotta just play from your heart, believe in what you're doing, and give the best. And if it doesn't work out, at least you gave it your best, and that kind of thing.
JC: Right, and as someone who's still got a few more years before he can play drums before an audience, what would you recommend to me? Just give me a mini drum lesson.
VA:I would just …the trick to the drums, it's great to learn how to read some and learn what the note values are and all that stuff, and reading. You can pick things up quicker that way. The cool thing is to try to play musically. Play to the song. Play from your heart.

Try to develop a sound. It's hard to do, but try to develop a sound. But, you know, mess around with tuning the drums, see what sound you like best and … it's hard to develop a sound. You can't practice it, but you can try, and eventually, you might be able to come up your own sound, and that's important. Not many people have that.

And then just practice. You gotta be flexible and easy to work with, and you gotta give it your best the whole time. I don't care if I'm on a small drum set and there's ten people in the audience, I play to huge audiences with huge drum sets. But if it's the gig with a small drum set and it's ten people show up, I'm gonna play the same. I'm gonna kill it as much as I can. So you gotta have that kind of attitude, give it 110%.
Earlier in the year, MÖTLEY CRÜE entered drummer Tommy Lee's studio called The Atrium in Calabasas, California to begin recording a new song, "Sex", that will be released to coincide with the band's upcoming summer co-headlining tour with KISS.

Written when the band was together during their residency in Las Vegas last February, "Sex" is the first studio track from the CRÜE since their June 2008 release of "Saints Of Los Angeles".

"Sex" will debut on Friday, July 13 on SiriusXM and be available on Tuesday, July 17 — three days before the tour begins.

Speaking to VH1 Radio Network's Dave Basner in March, MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist and main songwriter Nikki Sixx stated about the band's new track, "It sounds very much like it's off of the first record [1981's 'Too Fast For Love']. And that was definitely on purpose. I've been writing very simple riffs for the last year and focusing on how these riffs would work for Vince [Neil, vocals], basically, and took it in the studio with Tommy and Mick [Mars, guitar] and the thing just came alive."

MÖTLEY CRÜE's latest studio album, 2008's "Saints Of Los Angeles", sold 99,000 copies in the United States during its first week of release. The CD was CRÜE's first studio album since 2000's "New Tattoo", which has sold over 200,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band's previous studio effort with all of its original members was 1997's "Generation Swine", which debuted and peaked at No. 4 on The Billboard 200, and has sold more than 300,000 units.

"Saints of Los Angeles" was loosely based on the band's memoir, "The Dirt", which was published in 2001.

MÖTLEY CRÜE's "greatest-hits" collection, suitably titled "Greatest Hits", was released on November 17, 2009 via Eleven Seven Music/Mötley Records.

CRÜE performed its classic 1989 album, "Dr. Feelgood", in its entirety on Crüe Fest 2, the sophomore outing of the band's summer festival tour, to celebrate the record's 20th anniversary.

Eleven Seven Music/Mötley Records re-released "Dr. Feelgood" on September 21, 2009.
In a matter of three years, the German metal band Accept has brought itself back to metal prominence. With the perfectly gruffy voice of Mike Tornillo (ex- TT Quick) and the production acumen of producer Andy Sneap, the band has put out two very strong albums — Blood of the Nations (20120) and Stalingrad (2012) — with a sound reminiscent of their early years.
Now, to promote the newest album, Stalingrad, the band will embark this Fall on a North American tour titled the Teutonic Terror Attack with German thrash stalwarts, Kreator (see tour dates here).
Powerline recently spoke to co-founder/guitarist Wolf Hoffmann about the impact of the Stalingrad release and preparing to take the latest material on the road.
The songwriting on Stalingrad tackles some controversial subjects, like the bombing of Dresden [during WWII]. How did the songwriting on this album come together? Did you write any of the lyrics?
Wolf Hoffmann: No, I didn't write the lyrics but I had input into some of the subjects, like Stalingrad and Dresden, for instance, from ideas that were born early on. We knew we wanted the song "Stalingrad" early on and we kind of thought 'Shit, that's such a fascinating story and such a historical event of huge proportions.' So many people died there and so many people's lives were lost and changed forever. We thought what other events are there that come close to that — and then we started thinking about doing something on Dresden. That was an event that was quite shocking and significant back then, around the same time, World War II. Then we gave up on the idea of doing a whole lot more songs like that because we didn't really want to do a concept album or anything like that. It didn't sound like an Accept thing to do: a concept album. We're not like Dream Theater or something. So there were only two songs — maybe a couple others — that I really had any sort of input into as far as the lyrics are concerned. There are other songs where [vocalist] Mark [Tornillo] wrote all the stuff himself — where we basically just gave him the song and said, 'Hey, come up with something.'
Did you have a connection to Dresden? Any relatives in Dresden?
Hoffmann: I did not but I always heard the stories and, man, if you see some of the historical footage about it, it's totally gruesome.
As far as this being the second album with Mark Tornillo, do you find things getting a lot easier?
Hoffmann: About the same, to be honest. I mean, the main challenge is always to come up with the music and some sort of title idea or hook line idea that's really catchy and really grabs you. And once that is done … that to me is always the hardest part, and obviously somebody's got to write the lyrics for the verses and stuff. That's really, in my mind, not that big of a deal but that can be difficult as well, you know. But, anyhow, we leave that to Mark nowadays.
Isn't it amazing how Mark has just fit right in?
Hoffmann: It is totally amazing. And it is even more amazing how people sort of embraced him.
Well, metalheads did know about him and he did have his fan base with TT Quick. He's a decent guy, a good singer and he slips right in that Accept mode.
Hoffmann: Yeah, he was sort of known in the U.S. in some circles and stuff but, you know, when you go to Russia or Europe, people have never heard of him. So it really comes down to how he can he deliver the stuff onstage and how does he come across on the album — and people love it.
Have you ever written music on tour?
Hoffmann: Never. Never ever. It's really hard to do it sort of on-the-side. I have to immerse myself. I have to go into a different state of mind, clear the schedule, turn off the phone and really get down into it. I just can't do it while I'm running and gunning and doing a show. It's just not happening that way for me.
Any surprises for future live shows? Are you going to play any songs that may surprise the fans?
Hoffmann: Well, there are so many songs that we have to play already and then we are gonna throw in some of Blood of the Nations, obviously — there's, like, three or four new songs — and that's pretty much all the time we're gonna have. The only thing I can see that we may be doing is rotating some songs in and out of the set. We've done that in the past. Throw in the odd song here or there that we haven't played all that much. We like it. It keeps us on our toes.
Once something works really well, you really hate to break it up just for the sake of breaking it up, especially with the crew and lighting guy, where everything becomes sort of a machine that seems to work. It's really tough to say 'You know what? Let's change it all around because we feel like it' or we want to please some odd fan here or there. You got to think about the greater good sometimes and keep the show running well for the majority.
Can you talk a little about the upcoming Teutonic Terror Attack tour?
Hoffmann: We've been on the road with this new album, just coinciding with the release date. We did about a month in Europe and we are going out in the Fall again to do a massive tour in the U.S., co-headling with Kreator, another German band, and it's going to be called the Teutonic Terror Attack. Anyhow, it's a good heavy metal dose from Germany. Two German metal bands.
Kreator have been a round a long, long time. Not quite as long as we have but I think together we are both representative of German metal in a certain way. They are more the Thrash end of things, obviously, and we're more the power metal or the melodic metal or whatever you want to call it. At this point I don't know what we're called.
Some have called you Traditional Metal now.
Hoffmann: Traditional metal at this point, yep.
And you have been called speed metal before.
Hoffmann: Speed metal, we kind of founded the genre by accident.
You really think by accident?
Hoffmann: Not really full accident but we really didn't want to make a career out of it. We thought it was fun and that was it and other people took it and made a genre out of it.
Well, Balls to the Wall really changed things for you. For one, it wasn't speed metal. But it received quite a positive reaction. The new album Stalingrad has, too. Were you surprised at the immediate reaction of the new album?
Hoffmann: I'm pleasantly surprised. A lot of people say this is as good or maybe even better than Blood of the Nations which is a small miracle to me because Blood of the Nations has been so well-received that we wondering how we could possibly come up with something that's even on par with it. It could have been, hell, we were just lucky or just at the right time and at the right place or whatever. You are always afraid that you can't top it or come up with something as good but I guess apparently we did.
It is as good, if not better. You've got into a groove here where you have a take-no-prisoners attitude.
Hoffmann: This is our time. This is our moment. We shouldn't think about it too much and just let it rip, you know. That's what the attitude was when we started to write this stuff. We said, 'Let's not think about it too much. Let's not change anything. Let's just keep on doing what we're doing.' It worked well last time so why change a winning formula. Let's do another album that's similar but not too similar. More songs along the same lines and let's use the same producer.
Talking earlier about what a blessing Mark was, coming at the right time — what about [producer] Andy Sneap? He nails it, doesn't he?
Hofmann: He certainly does. He's certainly a big part in all this. He calls us up and says 'Hey, I've been a big Accept fan all my life. I want to talk to you. I've heard you're making a new record. I want to work with you.' I mean, how often does that happen in life? Like, never. And just at the right time, the right guy walks in and he turns out to be perfect. We didn't have to talk to anybody else. We didn't have to audition anybody. Like Mark, both of those guys walked in at the right time, and they're just dead-on.
It does help that Andy is a big Accept fan, and the kind of Accept he loves is the Breaker/Restless and Wild era. He knew the fan favorites.
Hoffmann: Exactly. So he made sure he is getting more of those. He just steers us in the right direction. And that was very important. Probably more important the first time around with Blood of the Nations because I believe the songs we wrote this time were right on the money from the beginning, much more so than last time, where we weren't quite sure with what Accept should sound like after such a long break.
It almost feels as exciting as it was back in the Breaker/Restless and Wild days.
Hoffmann: To us it feels like it did back then. It's almost like a new beginning. We have to prove ourselves. Even though people say 'You are these legends' — yeah but it doesn't feel like that to us. We still feel like excited kids and we're anxious to get the record as good as we can. That's kind of the spirit that we had back then as well. So it feels almost like a new beginning. I'm very happy where we are and I hope we can keep this going for a very long time. Keep that freshness going.
You always wonder when a band comes out with a new album that they will experiment and change directions.
Hoffmann: No, I don't think we are going to make that mistake ever again in our lives. We've been there done that, [where we] tried to change directions. Life is too short and we just want to do what we want and have fun. We kind of know where we fit in now. And it's a lot easier to say that now than it was back then. Because now we have this long history and we know exactly what fans love about Accept. It would be foolish to try anything radical nowadays. We know where we stand and where we belong.
And metal has made a resurgence here in the States, too.
Hoffmann: Yeah, it's happening. I think it's totally happening. There's certainly a renewed interest here in the States. I can tell. I mean, it's always been kind of strong in Europe all along. And we have dedicated fans everywhere who still want to hear our stuff. Europe's got a different taste as far as music consumption is concerned. They like what they like, whether it's in-fashion or out of fashion. It's almost funny sometimes when I go back, I hear songs that you would never even hear back in the States. You remember that song, it was huge in the '80s but nobody plays it here. Even cheesy radio pop hits like Roxette or something (laughs). And people still like Manowar in some countries.
Yeah they do (laugh).
Hoffmann: People [like you] are chuckling and laughing [about that] here. And I wouldn't say they are strong everywhere but there are certain countries where they love Manowar, which is bizarre, but they do.
I was watching the "Balls to the Wall" video recently and it was a lot of fun seeing the band onstage —  how you guys stayed and moved together during parts of the song. And the band is still kind of choreographed onstage.
Hoffmann: Nowadays we do it more spontaneous, gut feeling kind of stuff. I really wouldn't call it choreographed 'cause we really don't talk about it anymore. It's just [bassist] Peter [Baltes] and I do what we do, and we do what we feel like, and it ends up looking like we thought about it. I don't know, man, it's in our blood. We've been doing it for so long. You can't help it. It feels like we need to do it at a certain time, things we start to do automatically.
I've seen Accept play arenas and clubs, and I know playing arenas can be more beneficial, but I enjoy seeing Accept playing the clubs.
Hoffmann: I'll tell you what I enjoy. I love playing clubs when they are halfway decent as far as the stage and the whole production is concerned. I hate those clubs when nothing is right and circumstances are so bad you got to call them right onstage and you can't do your thing properly.
As far as the United States is concerned, the House of Blues-type venues, they're almost perfect for us. We get a good stage but yet the audience can be really close to you. You get that intimate atmosphere and you also have decent lights and decent sound.
Another German band, Scorpions, are on their farewell tour. They've said they are going to tour for several years and that's it. You'd think Accept would be the perfect band to open for the Scorpions.
Hoffmann: We would love to play with the Scorpions but can you believe after all these years, we've never been on the same stage as the Scorpions? Maybe they are afraid of us. Maybe we are the Teutonic Terror … (laughs) I don't know. I wish we could make it happen, especially now since they are announcing their retirement, and we're just getting started, this would be a perfect time to have a show together.
North American syndicated rock radio show "In The Studio: The Stories Behind History's Greatest Rock Bands" salutes Sammy Hagar on the 30th anniversary of "Three Lock Box" and the 25th anniversary of his knockout solo album "I Never Said Goodbye".

After years of struggle as the downcard rock palooka who could take a punch and never go down, Sammy Hagar answered the bell in the Eighties and came out swinging. In 1982 Hagar scored a technical knockout with his first mainstream hit "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy" from his solo album "Three Lock Box". By 1987, coming off the hugely successful VOA album with the highway anthem "I Can't Drive 55", the newly installed VAN HALEN lead singer would score his highest-charting solo album ever, "I Never Said Goodbye", with the powerful No. 1 rock ballad "Give To Live".

Hagar tells "In The Studio" host Redbeard how touched he is that the song's message has spoken to so many of his fans: "I've gotten thousands of letters of people that their mother, father, brother, sister or best friend or the person themselves have written to me, [saying], 'You saved my life' or 'You saved my friend's life' or 'It saved my daughter's life' or 'It saved my son's life.' That song, I can't tell you [how] that means more to me than any song I've written."

The Sammy Hagar "In The Studio" program will air on radio this weekend on over 50 radio stations across North America.
Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden's Metalshrine last month conducted an interview with guitarist Oscar Dronjak of Swedish melodic metallers HAMMERFALL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metalshrine: How long are you gonna keep touring for the latest album?

Oscar: Including Metaltown [festival, where the interview was conducted], there are seven or eight more gigs. The last one is at the end of August in south of Sweden at Helgeå festival. We're actually taking a break for two years or at least a year and a half. The plan is that this year nothing happens after August and then we're taking all of next year off. No gigs and the plan is for a new record to come out in 2014. I'm gonna write a book about HAMMERFALL and that just got finalized a couple of days ago. We've been talking about it for a while. We're celebrating 15 years as a recording artist this year and next year we're celebrating 20 years as an existing band, so there's a lot to write about. We've done a lot of fucking stuff that people might be interested in reading about. I thought I was gonna write it from my perspective, they way I look at the time spent with HAMMERFALL.

Metalshrine: Are you gonna get help from someone else?

Oscar: Of course… well, not in that way. I'm writing it myself. I would never consider getting help for that… well, maybe I would, but I don't want to. I like writing and I'm pretty good at it when it comes to putting it into words. Then we'll see what it's like to write a whole book. I think that if you enjoy doing something and you're not totally off… I'm getting help from the publisher, of course, but then I think it'll work. That's how we started HAMMERFALL. It was just "We believe in this 100% and screw everything else!" and it became something.

Metalshrine: Is it just for the Swedish market?

Oscar: It'll be written in Swedish and that's the basis for it, but we've talked to the publisher and they're also aware of that we have a broad fan base in a lot of countries, so they wanna translate it to English as well, but that's not happening now. First off I guess they wanna see how it does, but I think it should be translated to German, too, because we have a pretty big market in Germany too and we've talked about it, but that's all.
Following their recent return visit to our shores as part of the mammoth Soundwave Festival bill, Massachusetts metal mainstays Shadows Fall are back with their seventh full-length Fire from the Sky. The record is their first to be produced by Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz since the band's original studio release, 1997's Somber Eyes to the Sky, which also featured original frontman and current All That Remains vocalist Phil Labonte. Mightily dreadlocked vocalist Brian Fair spoke to Loud about the creation of the new album, how the combination of metal and hardcore has become more widely embraced during the past 15 years, whether he was considered to become Killswitch Engage's new singer and more.

Q: I understand the band is between tours at the moment. How are things going?
A: Yeah, we just got back from a headlining run as well as a run with Fear Factory, then the festival dates in the UK, Download, the Metal Hammer awards and all that. It's going well.

Q: Good to hear. I understand you were actually sharing a bus with Fear Factory during that tour.
A: Yeah totally man, we were sharing everything actually; our backline, our crew, the bus. We just kinda teamed up and made it as simple and easy as possible, and it was a blast.

Q: That's obviously a reflection of the economy as well, and how expensive it is to tour these days.
A: Yeah, as gas prices go up you try and keep the ticket prices low for everyone else, because they're also suffering from the economic times that we're in. So you have to find a way to have the package you want with the bands that make it worth it for people to come out, but in a way that the bands can still afford to survive out there. So that takes some work. But at least metal's always been alive, the music, so people still come out and support the tours. It was a really good turnout and we had a really good time. We had some younger bands with us, so it was a cool package of newer bands and then us and Fear Factory, who have been doing it for over a decade.  

Q: Shadows Fall was in Australia earlier this year, but you've obviously released the new album since then. When are we likely to see the band here again?
A: I would hope so soon. Hopefully we can come back and play some either headlining or just longer (sets) as part of a tour package. The festivals were amazing and Soundwave was as always incredible shows, but trying to pack all the songs into like a 30-minute set gets tougher when you're on your seventh album. So hopefully we can come back over, do some proper shows and play some full sets.

Q: On the topic of the new album, can you tell us about the lyrical approach that you adopted there?
A: Well, each song kinda has its own vibe, but there was definitely an overall kind of theme of the record... Corruption, chaos, the apocalypse and things like that. The music that the guys were writing just had this really eerie, dark vibe, so that kind of inspired the lyrics to fall that way. Like the title track is about a star going like supernova, just devouring the planets and just destroying everything its way. So it was cool to me to write in almost like a fictional way for the first time, because usually our lyrics tend to be more philosophical or personal. So for me to write like that, do something different, was interesting. It's not like a big concept album or huge theme, but there's definitely a vibe that's there.

Q: Do you ever envision Shadows Fall doing a fully-fledged concept record if you came across an idea or topic that inspired you to such an extent that you'd want to head in that direction?
A: If there was something that inspired me enough to write that many songs about one subject, I might be into that idea. But it's just that each song usually inspires like its own kind of train of thought when I'm writing. If it's a really aggressive song the lyrics tend to head that way. So I'd hate to try and like force a theme in the song that just wasn't fitting, just to follow some sort of storyline. But one day if I had enough material that all (was able) to follow that same sort of direction that'd be cool, but we'll see.

Q: Do you feel like the lyrical approach you've adopted on this album may have a more universal appeal then?
A: I'm not sure, that really remains to be seen I guess. But they are ideas that everyone can kinda relate to at this time. There's a lot of turmoil in the world, whether it's political upheaval, or economic upheaval, and even environmental and the earth itself. I think people can maybe relate to those ideas and themes, those current events that have a major impact on the world.

Q: How much, if at all, has the band's songwriting approach changed during the course of seven albums?
A: We've kept the same basic format. Usually Matt (Bachand, guitars) or Jon (Donais, guitars) will come with like a rough home recording of some riffs that all tie together. So we usually work on that for a bit and jam on it until we have kind of an outline, a skeleton, and then I'll start chipping away at the vocals from there. So that part has stayed the same. But what's really been different is taking the time to just re-write and have the home studios that we all have (where) we're all able to work on ideas maybe a little more… Just spend a little more time on it individually. So that's probably helped to tighten things up quickly and by the time we get in the studio, we really have the songs pretty much nailed down, with just room for experimentation from there. So that part is pretty much the same, but you just learn more with each record and we've kind of learned more about each other's (writing style) from just playing together for so long. We start to sort of either anticipate what they're going to do or almost like read their minds at this point, you know?

Q: Indeed. I'm sure you've developed your own form of shorthand after so many years of working together.
A: It's all kind of its own language too. Like when we're talking about riffs, you do like the riff-speak where you're trying to talk riffs out, you know? (laughs) You definitely start to know, anticipate what the next guy, what they're going to bring to the table. So it's become a pretty organic process for us because we've been doing it for so long.

Q: From a musical perspective, have the band's influences changed much during the past 15 years?
A: I think we're constantly inviting and just absorbing new ideas and new influences individually. But I think what we do well together is always going to have that basis in just old school, classic metal as well as thrash metal. We want those new ideas that are coming from our individual influences to kind of shape where it heads with each album. 'Cause I know we were definitely… Like I was listening to a lot of bands like Quicksand and a lot of early 90s hardcore and I think that influences the way that I approached the vocals on this. So I think whatever you're listening to at the time of the record definitely finds its way in. But I think overall with our sound, you're always going to hear that same sort of original influences with like Maiden, Testament and early Metallica. But I think each of us bring some other stuff that we've been listening to that definitely makes its way into the process.

Q: In what ways do you think your vocals have improved or evolved during that period?
A: It's definitely just getting more and more comfortable and confident within your own voice. Definitely on this album especially, I was willing to really try a lot of different things. Some of that had to do with Adam D's influence as well, with him as producer. He just had these great ideas about vocals. Or he just kind of makes you look at things in a different way and try things with maybe a different approach or step up from your normal type of melody or something like that. So that helped me expand even further. It just hopefully, with time you just kinda get better and better at what you do, find your strengths and just make the most of what you got.

Q: The band hasn't worked with Adam as producer for more than a decade, although you've obviously been long-time friends. Do you think it was a positive thing to record a series of albums without him before eventually deciding to work together again in that capacity, just to keep things fresh?
A: Yeah, I think for us it definitely, like doing something like working with him for the first time on a full, whole record was definitely what made this album stand out a lot and also kinda re-energized us. It also shook up our norm, just to break up the routine and bring in a new perspective and that's really what Adam does. He's known us, not only as musicians, but we've been friends forever, so he really understood where we were at musically. But he had never worked with us in that way, so he was really coming in with a fresh set of ears and hearing things that we may not be able to get from our own material. He had tonnes of great ideas and he's a great guy to work with. He somehow manages to make you work super hard and long hours, but always keeps it entertaining enough where it doesn't feel like pulling teeth. It was definitely a good time in the studio.

Q: You have a lot of history with Killswitch Engage. Were you considered to be their new vocalist prior to Jesse Leach re-joining the band (laughs) and what are your thoughts on him being back in the fold?
A: (Laughs) I don't think I was ever in the running there, but Jesse was really the only option that really would have worked out (laughs). It was perfect timing for him to come back; I was lucky enough to see their first show with him at the New England Metal Fest and it was just amazing. It's great to hear him sing the Howard (Jones) tunes too, just hear his own little twist on those songs. Yeah, just stoked; couldn't happen to a nicer guy and it's just awesome that it happened, that he got to have this sort of resurrection, a second chance with those dudes. I think a lot of it came from working together with Times of Grace, he and Adam were back on that same page again. Plus I don't think I could hit the high notes on the Dio cover anyway (laughs), so they'd have to find someone who could do that.

Q: (Laughs) Back to the topic of fusing metal with hardcore, you've mentioned in past interviews how during Shadows Fall's early years, combining the two genres certainly wasn't anywhere near as widely accepted as it is today. Obviously the band weren't the first to do so, but what are your recollections of those days and how it's become far more widespread during the past decade-and-a-half?
A: Yeah, I think it definitely was not… The lines were more defined back then as well. Now, it's become so blurred in terms of just so many crossovers between different metal sub-genres that it's hard to keep things in black and white when it used to be that way. It used to be where like a hardcore band definitely tried to have that one particular sound and metal bands did too. When bands like Converge and VOD early on where starting to mix some of those things, some people were totally loving it because they always listened to both. But some people were totally, like just trying to keep those ideas separate. To me, it was just a natural progression when heavy music just went that way. It started out with a hardcore band getting a little bit more technical as you become better musicians and then maybe you listen to some of the metal in a different way. Then all of a sudden those ideas just cross over. Nowadays it's a pretty standard thing, but in those early 90s, it was definitely at the beginning of that process.

Q: Do you think that being among the first American bands to do that has helped you stay fresh and vital within the metal scene, while other bands mixing similar styles have come and gone in the meantime?
A: I think one of the important things is that we've always stayed true to kind of like our core sound and just really tried to stay as the band we started out as. I think a lot of times, a lot of bands that are kinda sticking to such a formulaic approach do what they think is supposed to be the metalcore sound or whatever they call it. Whereas we've always just tried to write great metal tunes, keep the musicianship as a huge part of our sound and never take away the guitar solos or only start writing three-minute tunes. And I think maybe that's just what's allowed us to kind of keep doing what we've done and not have to fall into place with whatever was happening at the time. We were just kinda out there before, showing what we were all about.

Q: Do you keep up much with what's new and "cool" in heavy music? Do you seek out the latest deathcore band that's building a buzz?
A: I usually keep up just from touring, just from a lot of the new bands; I hear their new stuff when we travel. But when I'm at home I probably listen to more non-metal stuff or the classics, rather than anything that's like new. There's always some band that you hear for the first time (on tour) that I get into. But these days, I pretty much stick to the classics or just try and listen to different types of music, 'cause I don't want to start hearing a lot of what's happening now and having that affect the way that we write. I just want to stay in my own little musical bubble (laughs).

Q: (Laughs) Any famous last words?
A: Just that we're stoked about Fire from the Sky finally coming out worldwide. It took a little while, so hopefully you like the new record and we're hoping to get back out on the road and back out to Australia very soon, so hopefully we'll see everyone.
New Jersey thrah metal veterans OVERKILL will play a special show at the legendary punk rock concert venue 100 Club on August 9 during this year's Olympic Games in London, England.

Commented OVERKILL singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "Thrashing at the Olympics this summer is something we are all looking forward to; this is quite the unique opportunity! Being part of a world event at a legendary club and doing what we do best. I think the good money is on OVERKILL in the 'headbanging 400'... TO BRING HOME THE GOLD! See you in London! Let the games begin!!!"

OVERKILL's new album, "The Electric Age", sold 6,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 77 on The Billboard 200 chart.

OVERKILL's previous CD, "Ironbound", opened with 4,100 units to enter the chart at No. 192. The effort landed at No. 4 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 "Electric Rattlesnake" video was directed by Kevin J. Custer (HATEBREED, TESTAMENT, SUFFOCATION), who previously worked with OVERKILL on the "Bring Me The Night" video.

"The Electric Age" was recorded and mixed at Gear Recording Studios in New Jersey, owned and operated by OVERKILL bassist D.D. Verni.

OVERKILL is Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (vocals), D.D. Verni (bass, backing vocals), Derek "The Skull" Tailer (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Dave Linsk (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Ron Lipnicki (drums).
Canadian metal innovators VOIVOD have set "Target Earth" as the title of their new album, to be released before the end of the year.

VOIVOD drummer Michel "Away" Langevin has unveiled the band's new logo which will be used on the upcoming CD. Check it out below.

"Target Earth" was recorded in January at Pierre Rémillard's (OBLIVEON, CRYPTOPSY, KRISIUN, MISERY INDEX) Wild Studio in a small town called St-Zénon in Quebec, Canada. The follow-up to 2009's "Infini" contain the band's first music to be written with new guitarist Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain (MARTYR) following the passing of original axeman Denis "Piggy" D'Amour in 2005.

Several photos from the recording sessions can be found on the band's Facebook page.

According to a posting on the page, fans can "expect something in the vein of 'Nothingface' with some elements from the other albums. It will be a classic VOIVOD album."

Regarding what the new VOIVOD songs sound like, Mongrain said in a recent interview, "As a VOIVOD fan since I am 12 years old and early rise of VOIVOD in late '80s and everything, I think… I'm in conflict of interest right now. [Laughs] I like the old stuff as much as the new stuff, so I think it's a blend of everything. It's really a team work and Blacky [Jean-Yves Thériault] is back on the 'blower bass' — he's got the original sound — and we're having a blast jamming, improvising and writing. I think it's working pretty good."

On the topic of the lyrical themes covered in the new VOIVOD tracks, singer Denis "Snake" Bélanger said, "The song we played [on the recent European tour] ['Kaleidos'] is about conspiracy involving drugs and the FBI… [Laughs] It's hard to describe because we're kind of early in the process. There's another song called 'Target Earth', which is more like a spacy, conspiracy, controlling the information around the world. The main thing is the 'war' of information. You know, somebody Osama Bin Laden is dead, someone [else] says he's not… It gets to a point where everybody has his own story and nobody is sure what the truth is. There's people above everything controlling the information."

In an interview with Exclaim.ca, Away stated about VOIVOD's forthcoming studio album, "It's more in the progressive metal vein, so it's reminiscent of the 'Dimension Hatröss' era."

VOIVOD debuted the "Target Earth" title track during their April 12 concert at the Roadburn festival at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. You can watch fan-filmed video footage of their performance below.

VOIVOD 2012 is:

Denis "Snake" Bélanger - Vocals
Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain - Guitar
Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault - Bass
Michel "Away" Langevin – Drums
Due to reasons beyond the band's control, Los Angeles cyber metallers FEAR FACTORY will not take part in the inaugural "Shockwave 2012" tour, which was scheduled to kick off on July 6 in Seattle, Washington.

Commented the band in a statement: "We are truly disappointed not to be part of the Shockwave tour. We send our sincerest apologies to all our North American fans planning to come out this summer, but we will be back. Please look for FEAR FACTORY headline dates in August."

Added Shockwave organizers: "It is with great disappointment that we have to make this announcement. With the recent departure of VOIVOD from the Shockwave festival lineup, as well as low advance ticket sales, we have decided to pull the plug on the Shockwave festival.

"For purchases made with a credit card, your card will automatically be refunded. All other refunds are available at point of purchase.

"We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused."

Other bands that were scheduled to take part in "Shockwave 2012" included VOIVOD, CATTLE DECAPITATION, MISERY INDEX, HAVOK, LAST CHANCE TO REASON and THE BROWNING.

Affected dates are as follows:

Jul. 06 - Studio Seven - Seattle, WA
Jul. 07 - Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC
Jul. 09 - The Republik - Calgary, AB
Jul. 11 - Pyramid Cabaret - Winnipeg, MB
Jul. 12 - Station 4 - St Paul, MN
Jul. 13 - The Rave - Milwaukee, WI
Jul. 14 - The Opera House - Toronto, ON
Jul. 15 - The Armouries - Windsor, ON
Jul. 18 - Club Soda - Montreal, QC
Jul. 20 - Northern Lights - Clifton, NY
Jul. 21 - Town Ballroom - Buffalo, NY
Jul. 22 - Reverb - Reading, PA
Jul. 24 - Revolution - Amityville, NY
Jul. 25 - Palladium - Worcester, MA
Jul. 26 - Empire - Springfield, VA
Jul. 27 - Alrosa Villa - Columbus, OH
Jul. 28 - Mojoe's - Joliet, IL
Jul. 29 - Tebala Shrine - Rockford, IL
Jul. 31 - Summit Music Hall - Denver, CO
Aug. 02 - Nakai Hall - Window Rock, AZ
Aug. 03 - The Marqee Theater - Tempe, AZ
Aug. 04 - House Of Blues - Hollywood, CA
U.S. doom legends SAINT VITUS have released the following statement:

"Due to a recent health issue, SAINT VITUS will no be unable to make the show in Greece on Saturday July 7th. [We] apologize to the the fans and the promoter, but one of the band members was advised against flying anywhere for a couple weeks. All other shows will go on as planned as there are no flights involved."

SAINT VITUS' new album, "Lillie: F-65", was released in North America on May 22 via Season Of Mist.

The band's "Let Them Fall" video was produced and directed by Michael Panduro of Siegfred Productions (CEPHALIC CARNAGE, ROTTEN SOUND, NO AND THE MAYBES) for Scion A/V and shot in Copenhagen, Denmark.

SAINT VITUS recently released a seven-inch single featuring "Blessed Night", a track from "Lillie: F-65". The B-side is a live version of classic VITUS tune "Look Behind You", recorded in December 2010 at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland.
Barbara Caserta of Italian web radio Linearock.it conducted an interview with former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach after his June 22 performance at this year's Gods Of Metal festival in Milan, Italy.

As previously reported, Bach "lost" his microphone while spinning it around in the air during the opening song of his Gods Of Metal concert. Bach and his band briefly stopped the show while his microphone was getting fixed and restarted the set a few minutes later.

Speaking about the incident, Bach told Linearock.it, "It was funny, because I ran out there. My [In-Ear monitor] wasn't working; it snapped off. My monitor man snapped it back on, and then I ran out there and I missed the first word, 'cause I was fucking around with my ear. Then I was [spinning] the mic around and the cord shredded. I was like, 'How is that possible?' It's happened, like, once or twice [before], but in 25 years. I'm lucky that the microphone didn't hit anyone; I don't want anybody to get hurt. But I don't understand in physics how you can whip the mic so hard that the cord shreds. The mic didn't come off the cord — the cord shredded."

Bach lat month released a video for the song "I'm Alive". The clip is one of three videos (alongside "Kicking & Screaming" and "TunnelVision") that the singer filmed on June 28, 2011 in Hollywood, California with director Devin DeHaven of Fortress Entertainment (PAPA ROACH, WHITESNAKE, METHOD MAN, TALIB KWELI).

"I'm Alive" comes off Bach's new album, "Kicking & Screaming", which sold 6,600 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 73 on The Billboard 200 chart. The singer's previous CD, "Angel Down", opened with 6,400 units back in November 2007 to debut at No. 190.
Acclaimed metal drummer Richard Christy (CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED, ICED EARTH, DEATH, LEASH LAW, CONTROL DENIED, BURNING INSIDE) is one of a number of musicians who have come out in support of LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe, who is facing possible manslaughter charges in the Czech Republic.

Blythe, 41, is accused of causing the fatal injury that occurred at LAMB OF GOD's May 24, 2010 show in Prague. The singer apparently either pushed or struck a 19-year-old fan named Daniel N. who had come on stage, and that person died 14 days later of bleeding in the brain.

Speaking to Loudwire, Christy stated about Blythe's ordeal, "It's such a bummer to hear about that. Randy is such an amazing guy. All of those guys are really good friends of mine. I actually toured with them in 2004. Right when I got the job with Howard [Stern], we had a week off from the radio show and I went to see them at Ozzfest and they asked me if I wanted to travel with them. I went on tour with them and hung out. I was kind of their assistant drum tech for that week. I even jammed on the song '11th Hour' with them during a soundcheck in Canada. It was so much fun. They're just great guys, really down to earth. I feel so bad for the whole band and for Randy. I hope it gets cleared up really soon. You know, it's going to make bands not want to play the Czech Republic anymore. Plus, when people get on stage, you have to be careful now. You never know what they're going to do, you have to think about their motives. It's scary these days because of the Dimebag [Darrell; PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist who was killed on stage in 2004] incident. It's an unfortunate thing. I really hope Randy gets to come back to his family soon and everything gets cleared up."

The crime of which Blythe is being accused is punishable by up to ten years in prison, according to popular Czech news web site Novinky.cz.
Czech web site Blesk.cz conducted an exclusive interview with LAMB OF GOD manager Larry Mazer about the ordeal of the band's lead vocalist, Randy Blythe, who has been jailed in Prague, the Czech Republic, where he is accused of causing the death of a fan at one of the group's shows. Blythe was arrested on June 27 and is facing manslaughter charges in connection with a 2010 Prague concert at which he allegedly shoved a local fan off the stage. The man, who is said to have stormed the stage three times during the show, reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage that resulted in his death 14 days later.

[BLABBERMOUTH.NET would like to thank Martin Lipták for his help with the Czech-to-English translation of the interview below.]

Blesk.cz: What is the latest on Randy Blythe's release?

Larry Mazer: "I have no idea. The bail [in the amount of $200,000] was posted Tuesday morning [July 3]. We tried to make bail on Monday, but everything took a bit longer to be processed. Randy should be released immediately. His lawyer told us so on Saturday [during a court hearing]. In the U.S., he would have been. You post the bail and you're free."

Blesk.cz: How long will Randy stay in jail?

Larry Mazer: "I was told that it may take up to 20 days — that the investigator may require more time to investigate the case."

Blesk.cz: How have the other bandmembers reacted to this whole ordeal?

Larry Mazer: "Everybody is shocked. It's absurd. It seems like a bad joke that Randy is sitting in your jail. He did nothing wrong. He is innocent."

Blesk.cz: Were you aware that a Czech fan of LAMB OF GOD died two years ago shortly after attending the band's concert?

Larry Mazer: "Nobody had contacted us in the last two years. My contact information is publicly available, but I never heard from the family [of the deceased fan]. We did not even hear anything about it from the concert organizer. Nobody called us to let us know."

Blesk.cz: When did you first find out about the fan having died after allegedly sustaining injuries at the LAMB OF GOD concert?

Larry Mazer: "Last Wednesday [when Randy was detained at the Prague airport]. The organizer of the concert at Abaton [the club where the 2010 concert took place] now says that the Czech police contacted him three months after the boy died. I do not understand why no one got in touch with us to let us know. The boy was in a coma and then he died, and we never heard from anybody."

Blesk.cz: The Czech police say that they contacted the American authorities...

Larry Mazer: "No one told us anything. Do you think that I would send the band to the Czech Republic to play a concert knowing that something like this could happen? No way!"

Blesk.cz: According to the police, Randy shoved the Czech fan off the stage...

Larry Mazer: "There is one video from the concert [see below] where you can see someone jumping into the audience. But it wasn't Randy that pushed him. The security guard shoved him off the stage."

Blesk.cz: In the video you can see both Randy and the security guard pushing the person off the stage...

Larry Mazer: "But there is no footage of the man falling to the ground. He fell into the crowd, but you can't see that in the video."

Blesk.cz: Is it common for LAMB OF GOD concerts to be so wild?

Larry Mazer: "It's typical for rock concerts. People want to have fun. But nothing like this has ever happened at a LAMB OF GOD show before that I am aware of."
LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe's attorney Martin Radvan and clerk Tomáš Morysek spoke to Blesk.cz about the singer's continued detention in Prague, Czech Republic, where he is accused of causing the death of a fan at one of the group's shows. Blythe was arrested on June 27 and is facing possible manslaughter charges in connection with a 2010 Prague concert at which he allegedly shoved a local fan off the stage. The man, who is said to have stormed the stage three times during the show, reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage that resulted in his death 14 days later.

"[Randy] was in complete shock [when he found out about the fan's passing]," said Morysek. "For two whole years he never knew that someone had died after the band's concert in Prague and he had no chance at all to deal with it. I am convinced that if he had known about it, he wouldn't have shied away from facing criminal prosecution."

Blythe remains in custody in the Pankrác Prison in Prague even after his manager posted 4 million Czech Koruna bail (approximately $200,000), as set by the court last Saturday. But the bail system in the Czech Republic is not as rapid as in the U.S.

Although bail has been posted, the decision to release the singer is still subject to appeal and so it will take some time for the state prosecutor's office to give approval.

"In every other country, the accused would have been released once the bail had been met. Unfortunately, this does not apply to Czech Criminal Procedure Code," added Morysek.

According to Morysek, Blythe is slowly getting used to his stay behind bars. "There's a Mongol with him, so Randy is learning some Mongolian phrases from him and the Mongol is picking up a few English words," he said. "But he hasn't complained about anything. We already went to see him twice. He is still quite confused about the whole thing."

The crime of which Blythe is being accused is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Once released from custody, Blythe — whose passport will not be taken away — is expected to immediately leave the Czech Republic and fly back to the U.S. where he won't be considered a fugitive.

"The court, which decided the conditions of the bail, did not provide a condition that Randy will have to stay in the Czech Republic," Morysek said.

DISTURBED's David Draiman and GWAR's Oderus Urungus are continuing to speak out in defense of LAMB OF GOD vocalist Randy Blythe, who has been jailed in Prague, the Czech Republic, where he is accused of causing the death of a fan at one of the band's shows in 2010. Blythe was arrested last week at the Prague airport and charged with manslaughter in connection with a 2010 Prague concert at which he allegedly shoved a local fan off the stage. The man, who is said to have stormed the stage three times during the show, reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage that resulted in his death 14 days later.

Blythe faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Although he posted the Czech equivalent of $200,000 in bail, the decision to release the singer is still subject to appeal and so it will take some time for the state prosecutor's office to give approval.

Draiman: "The only thing [Randy] is guilty of [is being involved in] a horrible accident. Someone comes up on stage, they get thrown back into the pit. [I've] done it a hundred times myself. The fault should be in the hands of the venue security who were supposed to ensure that no one got up there. It's a dangerous thing to try."

Oderus: "I LOVE Europe and its many pleasures and fully support Euro metalheads. What I am concerned about is the lack of outrage. There should be shows, protests, and continual harassment of the authorities until Randy is free. There should be a mob of metalheads outside the jail where he is being held, 24-7, so when he gets out he can see with his own eyes that he has not been abandoned. All of the video of the incident shows it for what it truly was… a tragic accident. Fucking let him out already!"

A number of other rockers have come to Randy's defense, with many of them citing the 2004 shooting death onstage of PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott as the reason why musicians are so defensive nowadays about fans invading the stage.

Draiman's bandmate and drummer Mike Wengren told The Pulse Of Radio not along after Dimebag was shot that his death had cast a shadow over live performing. "I think one of the most scariest things is, you go up onstage, and there's this energy transfer between the band and the crowd, and you almost feel invincible. You feel very empowered. Never in a million years would anyone ever think something like that was even possible, and I think it just caught everyone off guard. It's pretty scary."

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH bassist Chris Kael simply tweeted, "Everything changed on December 8, 2004. #stayoffthestage #FreeRandyBlythe," while ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian wrote, "It's complete and utter bullshit for him to be treated like a criminal for something he didn't do. Now fans can see firsthand why there's no stage diving anymore. Especially in the post-Darrell world we live in . . . Of course it's sad that this person died, it's a tragedy, but it's not Randy's fault."

LAMB OF GOD had been touring Europe in support of its latest album, "Resolution", when Blythe was arrested. The band canceled the rest of its shows and returned home to Richmond, Virginia on Sunday (July 1) — all, of course, except Blythe.

LAMB OF GOD's publicist, Adrenaline PR, issued a statement on June 30 stressing that "under no circumstances was there a fight of any kind involved [during LAMB OF GOD's 2010 concert]. This incident deals with a fan that three times during the concert jumped the barricade and rushed Randy during the performance. It is alleged that the third time, security was not able to reach him and that Randy pushed him back into the audience where supposedly he fell and hit his head."
Former EXHORDER and current TROUBLE frontman Kyle Thomas is one of a number of musicians who have come out in support of LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe, who is facing possible manslaughter charges in the Czech Republic.

Blythe, 41, is accused of causing the fatal injury that occurred at LAMB OF GOD's May 24, 2010 show in Prague. The singer apparently either pushed or struck a 19-year-old fan named Daniel N. who had come on stage, and that person died 14 days later of bleeding in the brain.

Writing on his Facebook page, Thomas (pictured below) said, "To my friends, acquaintances and ones I don't know well in LAMB OF GOD and their families, I am flabbergasted and feel for you. Something's rotten in Denmark. They are doing their best to punish him without due process.

"Bail posted? FREE RANDY BLYTHE."

He continued, "The Czech police claim they contacted American authorities. In this day and age, how hard is it to start an Internet campaign against the alleged killer of your child? You'd better believe I would run myself into the ground before waiting two years in hopes that the band would return to the scene of the crime. I call bullshit as well.

"If Randy did something wrong, surely he should atone for it. The fact that they all walked right back in to the Czech Republic screams that no one was aware there was a problem.

"I feel bad the kid died, but security failed more than once here. Why did he keep bum-rushing Randy? I would not have wanted to take chances either.

"It's awful any way you slice it. He should not be a scapegoat for an untimely death that would never have happened if this kid could have followed the rules. There's no accountability anymore."

The crime of which Blythe is being accused is punishable by up to ten years in prison, according to popular Czech news web site Novinky.cz.
Helsinki, Finland-based gothic metallers THE 69 EYES are putting the finishing touches on their 10th studio album, "X", in Stockholm, Sweden for a late September release through RCA/Sony Music in Finland and Nuclear Blast in the rest of Europe and North America. A single, "Red", will precede the full-length CD in August.

The cover artwork for "X" can be seen below.

Commented THE 69 EYES lead singer Jyrki69: "The cover is pure goth 'n' roll: a psychedelic mirror image of old wild animal bones with our X-tagram projected over all. It's good, evil, magic and voodoo all together! Something to stare at when tripping on the album."

"X" was mixed by Stefan Boman (THE HELLACOPTERS, BULLET). "The sound is the most melodic, yet melancholic, we've ever had," says Jyrki69. "Listening to the pre-mixes have been giving goose bumps to everyone here. This is the best THE 69 EYES album ever done!"

Regarding the album title, Jyrki69 said, "We've never really celebrated anything, not that we've been playing 20 years or so (vampires don't count decades). Thus this time we thought to celebrate a bit: the new album is entitled as tenth in Roman numbers, it'll be called 'X'."

THE 69 EYES will film its first video in three years later this month in Gothenburg, Sweden with Patric Ullaeus of Revolver Film Company, who has previously worked with DIMMU BORGIR, LACUNA COIL, IN FLAMES, SONIC SYNDICATE and KAMELOT, among others.

To coincide with the new album release, THE 69 EYES will also launch its own vampire-style red wine, simply called as "Red," which will mainly be distributed in Sweden and Finland.

While waiting for the album, the Helsinki vampire enthusiastic can go to listen to singer Jyrki's DJ skills as he hosts his goth'n'roll club nights in Barcelona's Undead club on July 7 and Fangtasia II event in New Orleans on July 21.
Valerie Bastien of RockSource360.com recently conducted an interview with HALESTORM singer Lzzy Hale. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

RockSource360.com: "The Strange Case Of..." came out [in April]. That's very exciting. What comes to mind when you think back on the writing and recording of this album? What has been the fans' response for far?

Lzzy: Well, not to sound redundant , but it was very strange! Haha! It was very challenging and freeing at the same time to work on this record. I discovered a lot about myself while writing it, and I'm so proud of the final product. The fans response has been amazing thus far!

RockSource360.com: Lzzy, I love the girl with an attitude vibe in the song "Love Bites (So Do I)". What is the biggest misconception about women in heavy metal and who is your favorite female role model?

Lzzy: I think a lot of people don't realize the guts it takes to be a woman in rock... We have to carve out our own path, and make our own rules, because there are none. We have to go against everything society has told us we should be, embrace our power.... AND still hold on to our femininity somehow! By far my favorite role model is Pat Benatar.

RockSource360.com: I love the lyrics in "Beautiful With You". Tell us about how this song relates to image problems and low self-esteem so many girls deal with, How does self-love and acceptance impact your life and why is it so important?

Lzzy: Believe me, I don't always feel like a rock star, and there are times when I look in the mirror and scream. Especially emotionally. I used to hide a lot of my feelings of insecurity and powerlessness, and just wouldn't reach out to someone because I thought it meant that I was weak if I did. I wanted people to see that it's OK to need a shoulder sometimes, and to have those "ugly days" and to let down your guard. We're human and we're not perfect... don't let those thoughts in your head rule your life and prevent you from opening yourself up.

RockSource360.com: You're very pretty and feminine in a male-dominated environment. I like how you can let the girly side of you come out through your hair style and clothes for example. Where do you like to shop and how do you choose your concert outfits? What is the best part of being a woman?

Lzzy: Thank you! It was always important to me to be a fuckin woman on stage, not a girl trying to be a man. I make most of my own outfits, swipe them from video shoots, or I acquire them from strange shops around the world. The best part of being a woman is the power that comes with being able to play with the boys... but in stilettos.
"L'Enfant Sauvage", the fifth album from French progressive metallers GOJIRA, sold almost 11,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 34 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's previous CD, "The Way Of All Flesh", opened with 4,200 units back in 2008 to land at No. 138.

"L'Enfant Sauvage" entered the official chart in France at position No. 7 (No. 17 on the digital chart).

"L'Enfant Sauvage" (which translates to "The Wild Child") features 11 tracks of mind-bending, thunderous metal. The CD was recorded at Spin Recording Studios in Long Island City, New York with co-producer Josh Wilbur (LAMB OF GOD).

In a recent interview with Metalshrine, GOJIRA guitarist/vocalist Joseph Duplantier stated about the new album title, "We couldn't call it 'The Wild Child', because it's hard to translate 'L'Enfant Sauvage'. It's not really the wild child as understood in English, because a wild child for me, has an aspect like someone out of control somehow. 'L'Enfant Sauvage' in French… 'Sauvage' is something that is not educated or something that is like free and completely free in nature. A wild flower that goes wherever she wants and becomes something beautiful. The idea with 'L'Enfant Sauvage' is like with a human that would grow up in nature, raised by wolves, for example, without the influence from others and the influence from institutions or society in general. Without a social security number. [laughs] Not even a name. This is what you are and I am on the inside, right? How much the education and the culture, emotions and the guilt are interacting with us and it changes us and how far are we from this pure child inside? That's the question we had on this album."

A special collector's package of "L'Enfant Sauvage" features two bonus tracks and a double-colored vinyl version of the record, along with an exclusive t-shirt.

"L'Enfant Sauvage" track listing:

01. Explosia
02. L'Enfant Sauvage
03. The Axe
04. Liquid Fire
05. The Wild Healer
06. Planned Obsolescence
07. Mouth Of Kala
08. The Gift Of Guilt
09. Pain Is A Master
10. Born In Winter
11. The Fall

GOJIRA will release a new DVD/Blu-ray, "The Flesh Alive", in the U.S. on July 31 via Mascot. The set will be made available in the following formats:

* 2-DVD+CD
* Blu-ray+CD with free poster

The three-disc "The Flesh Alive" chronicles the making of GOJIRA's 2008 album, "The Way Of All Flesh", and the touring activity that followed the CD's release.
Swedish metallers CRYSTAL EYES have issued the following update:

"Paul [guitarist Pål Petterson] is out of the band and we're ready for another chapter. We're now extremely happy to welcome back Niclas Karlsson and are looking forward to once again share the path of heavy metal with this great guitarist.

"If you know your CRYSTAL EYES history, you know that Niclas started the band with Mikael [Dahl, guitar] in 1992, quit the band after short break in 1995, got back between 2006-2007 and has played with Mikael in the JUDAS PRIEST tribute band DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH since the dawn of time."

In other news, CRYSTAL EYES is featured in "Metal Munchers - The Festival Edition", a cook book and a book about some of Sweden's best rock bands today, including favorite dishes, promotional pictures and much more. It's only available in Swedish but an English edition will follow.

CRYSTAL EYES in 2009 parted ways with Danish singer Søren Nico Adamsen (ARTILLERY) and decided to carry on as a four-piece band, with Mikael Dahl (guitar) handling lead vocals.

CRYSTAL EYES' last album, "Chained", was released in November 2008 via Metal Heaven Records. The CD's cover artwork was created by Carl-André Beckston (a.k.a. Monowasp). The album was mixed at Studio Fredman with acclaimed producer Fredrik Nordström (DIMMU BORGIR, IN FLAMES, HAMMERFALL).
ARTHEMIS, the heavy-thrash metal band formed by the shred-metal guitarist Andy Martongelli, will release its new album, "We Fight", on August 27 via Off Yer Rocka Recordings.

Formed in 1999, ARTHEMIS' music reflects the dark side of heavy metal with thrash-oriented guitar riffs, fast solos, fire-breathing vocals and a massive-modern-killer ground-breaking wall of sound; the four-piece lineup delivers an extraordinary proof of uplifting catchy metal.

Commented Martongelli: "This is a new chapter of ARTHEMIS career. We worked very hard on this album and decided to record 'We Fight' while we were right in the middle of our headlining Spanish tour and the U.K. tour… very busy and inspiring moments night after night on stage. I'm sure all our fans will love it as we enjoyed writing the songs and recording them all with the only purpose to give you all the best metal ever! 'We Fight' is full of pure, groundbreaking metal energy and we know the wall of sound will blow everyone's head off!!"

"We Fight" track listing:

01. Apocalyptic Nightmare
02. Empire
03. We Fight
04. Blood Of Generations
05. Burning Star
06. Cry For Freedom
07. Alone
08. Reign Of Terror
09. Still Awake
10. The Man Who Killed The Sun
11. Metal Hammer
German death metallers OBSCENITY will release their eigth studio album, "Atrophied In Anguish" on September 14 as a digipak and as a digital download via Apostasy Records. 10 relentless tracks will bludgeon you back into the early '90s. The CD was again recorded at Soundlodge Studio in Rhauderfehn with producer Jörg Uken.

Commented the band: "'Atrophied In Anguish' is the quintessence of diverse epoches of OBSCENITY. We combined typical '90s melodic parts and leads with modern blastparts. The new album is a mixture of 'The 3rd Chapter' and 'Cold Blooded Murder' with a giant sound that goes without Lego-Trigger and other technical stuff."

The cover artwork for "Atrophied in Anguish" was created by Remy of Headsplit Design (ARCH ENEMY, PSYCROPTIC, WHITECHAPEL) and can be seen below.

"Atrophied In Anguish" track listing:

01. Erase The Divine
02. All You Can Kill
03. Atrophied in Anguish
04. From Heroic To Depraved
05. Swine To The Slaughter
06. Perfect Pain
07. Neurotic Frenzy
08. Diary Of A Scapegoat
09. Monoistic Living
10. Hystarical Illusion

OBSCENITY last year announced the addition of bassist Jörg Pirch (ex-TEARS OF DECAY) and guitarist Christoph Weerts (ex-ASSASINATED) to the group's ranks. The band was also rejoined by drummer Sascha Knust (ex-THE AWAKENING, SETHNEFER).

OBSCENITY in 2010 recruited Tampa, Florida native Jeff Rudes as its new singer.

OBSCENITY's seventh CD, "Where Sinners Bleed", was released in 2006 through Armageddon Music. The follow-up to 2002's "Cold Blooded Murder" was recorded at Soundlodge studio in Rhauderfehn, Germany.

OBSCENITY was previously signed to Morbid Records, which issued four of the band's albums, ending with "Cold Blooded Murder".


Jeff Rudes - Vocals
Hendrik Bruns - Guitar
Christoph Weerts - Guitar
Jörg Pirch - Bass
Sascha Knust - Drums

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Anonymous said...

Saw KISS last year with my kids. Tried to explain to them that it was as much about the showmanship as the music. It was awesome. awesome close seats for $50 tickets bought outside 5 mins before show started ..If I had the chance to see motley I would want to be more close.

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