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Friday, April 18, 2014

NEWS: NIKKI SIXX Says SEBASTIAN BACH Should 'Let Go' Of 'Former SKID ROW Singer' Tag Already


Mötley Crüe and Sixx: A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx has once again taken shots at Sebastian Bach, saying that the vocalist should "let go" of the "former Skid Row singer" tag, while also making fun of Bach's involvement with ABC's new competition series "Sing Your Face Off".

During a segment on a recent edition of Nikki's "Sixx Sense" radio show, Sixx said (hear audio below): "A new celebrity singing competition is coming to TV, like we haven't had enough. It's called 'Sing Your Fucking Face Off'. It's actually just called 'Sing Your Face Off'. [It features] five celebrities, including former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach

"When is he gonna let go of the 'former Skid Row' [tag]? I mean, at this point, dude, you've been out of Skid Row longer than Skid Row was even alive. Like, let it go!

"OK. He's gonna have to impersonate different musical icons. It should be fascinating. It starts May 31 on ABC. Let me set my DVR to 'Snooze.'"

After Bach revealed in a a three-word tweet to a fan on August 29, 2013 that he was asked to join Mötley Crüe more than two decades ago, Sixx quickly retorted that Bach's version of events never happened. Sebastian then took to his Facebook page to describe in some detail the circumstances behind his being asked to join the CRÜE, which included taking part in a full day's rehearsal with the band and a slew of phone calls between various managers, agents and label executives. "I was driven to rehearsal by Tommy Lee, and I spent a full day singing the Mötley Crüe set with the band Mötley Crüe," Bach wrote. "I remember the songs that Nikki asked me to sing that day. I remember the whole road crew's ecstatic reaction to us jamming together all day. And I remember Nikki's very generous, kind offer, at the end of our rehearsal, for me to join the band Mötley Crüe. I remember his exact words that he said to me in front of his whole road crew, Tommy and Mick Mars as well. It's not every day that your hero asks you to join his band."

Bach didn't reveal the full details of what went down that day, promising his Facebook followers that he "will tell the complete story of Nikki offering me to join Mötley Crüe in my upcoming book, which will be arriving on bookshelves soon."

He added: "I am not simply 'making this up'… I am not a liar. I am working on my book right now and I look forward to you all reading it. I plan on my book having even more information in it than one of my tweets does."

NEWS: ACE FREHLEY On Seeing PAUL STANLEY And GENE SIMMONS Again: 'It Felt Like I Just Saw Those Guys Yesterday'


Original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley spoke to about the band's induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame following last night's (Thursday, April 10) ceremony at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Asked how it felt to get up there with is former bandmates again after all the controversies leading up to the induction, Frehley said: "It felt like I just saw those guys yesterday. We're brothers in rock and roll. The press seems to amplify the fact that we hate each other, and we really don't. We've had our differences over the years, but every rock and roll band does. Tonight, it felt like I had just left those guys the other day, and they were very gracious considering what we've been creating over the last 40 years."

Regarding how he left it off with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley — both of whom have had some harsh words for Frehley and original Kiss drummer Peter Criss in recent years, Frehley said: "They were congratulating me on the stage. But I had gotten calls from them a couple months ago when this first went down. We created something that no one can take away from any of us, and it withstood the test of time."

Asked what he is proudest of when he looks back at those 40 years, Frehley said: "I think we're probably gonna go down in history as the greatest theatrical rock group in the world. I think that's probably gonna be an undisputable fact. And now that we're part of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, that just cements our place in history even better. And the cover on the Rolling Stone. [Laughs]"

Kiss did not perform at last night's event. The Hall Of Fame wanted the original quartet only to play, while Simmons and Stanley insisted on the current lineup performing as well. In the end nobody won that battle.

The 29th annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony was taped and will air on May 31 on HBO.

Paul Stanley told The Pulse Of Radio that he wanted Kiss' greatest work to contain everything that he loved and admired about his favorite records growing up. "I'd like to think that the bands that you are influenced and inspired by doesn't necessarily mean that you mimic them," he said. "It means that their passion, or their approach is inspirational. So, whether its gospel, or Motown — it all is music of passion. And that's what I think we wanted to and I wanted to see us channel was the passion and the fervor that all the music I loved had. Y'know, its not about perfection — it's about passion."

Despite their hard rocking image, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley never succumbed to the pitfalls of drugs and alcohol. Over the years, Simmons has never hidden his feelings about drug use, even when his bandmates were involved. He told The Pulse Of Radio that drugs are the number one reason for bands failing to live up to their potential. "I have no sympathy at all for anybody that doesn't have enough self-respect for themselves and for their bandmates, because when one guy decides that his dalliances with crazy things is more important that the welfare of his band, that guy doesn't deserve any success," he said. "Because a team is a team, and every guy's gotta carry the weight. You're only as good as your teammates."

NEWS: KISS' PAUL STANLEY: 'The Band Has Never Sounded Better And The Band Has Never Gotten Along Better'


Kiss guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley was recently interviewed by Matt Wardlaw of the Cleveland Scene. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Cleveland Scene: A quote that stuck with me from [your memoir, "Face The Music: A Life Exposed"] was "we weren't Simon & Garfunkel, we weren't the Everly Brothers — our songs were built to rock." Did you have a pretty clear direction when you first got going with the band as far as where you wanted things to go?

Stanley: Totally. It was never about the makeup. It was always about the kind of band we wanted to be. I was fortunate enough as a teen to have seen Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin — and I'm not talking about in arenas and stadiums, I'm talking about small places. So Humble PieLed Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix ExperienceThe Who — the list goes on and on. Those were the bands that inspired me. So how we chose to dress it up came secondly. It was always part of the big picture, but it was never "Let's wear makeup and play music." It was "Let's play music and wear makeup." So the priority was always how much horsepower is our engine going to have and then what color are we going to paint the car?

Cleveland Scene: As far as the makeup, do you feel like that cost the band critically and do you regret that piece of the plan?

Stanley: Not in the least. Present company excluded, critics are a lucky bunch. They didn't go to school to get a degree in being critics — in a sense, they're entertainers and they're given a lot of credence by some people and ignored by others. I don't need somebody to tell me what good food is. Good food is what I swallow and bad food is what I spit out. Likewise, I don't need to be educated about art or music, because it's totally subjective. The people that count are the people who pay hard-earned money for tickets, hard-earned money for CDs, hard-earned money for T-shirts, belt buckles or whatever. So why would I chase the approval of people who really haven't taken the test? So no, not at all. You'd have to ask the millions of people who are happy that we've done it. To this day, I still have issues with critics and with politics of critics and I am proud of what I've done and proud to continue doing it.

Cleveland Scene: With the 40th anniversary tour on tap for Kiss, what do you, Paul Stanley, still want to do as an artist and creative type?

Stanley: Tour. Be a great dad. Watch my kids grow up and watch my oldest finish NYU and if he chooses to pursue music. There's a lot that has to do with the people around me. It's a different life when you see yourself as the most important person. It's a much more fun life when you allow someone else to be the center. So my family, where they go and how they develop and how I participate — that's important to me. Where I go as a father and as a husband and also where the band goes. The band has never been better. The band has never sounded better and the band has never gotten along better. We are proud and steeped in our past, but we don't live exclusively there. I'm very happy to get up every night and play with those guys. I just saw them yesterday at the press conference and we just have a lot of fun. We laugh a lot and there's a work ethic, which is something that I'm proud of, where everybody wants to make the and as great as it can be. That's how you become more well-known and respected. When you're in it saying "How can I use the band to make me more famous?, well you've put the cart before the horse. I'm very happy in the band and I want to continue that and continue things that are going on with my family and also perhaps go back and do more musical theater.

Read the entire interview at Cleveland Scene.

NEWS: PAUL STANLEY: 'If It Ever Comes Down To It, I Am KISS'


Kiss guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley was interviewed by Paste magazine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Paste: You take Gene Simmons to task in [your memoir, "Face The Music: A Life Exposed"]. There are even parallels to his attitude in the early-'80s and Ace Frehley and Peter Criss's — that, in your words, they were delusional as far as their contributions to the band. Why do you think yours and Gene's relationship survived that?

Stanley: That's really interesting. I mean, I just left him 20 minutes ago. There is a respect for each other. I don't necessarily approve of everything he does, but how something affects you has nothing to do with the other person. It's all about how you take it in. There are things about Gene that over the years may have annoyed me, and that's OK. There are other times certainly where he did things that I felt a betrayal, and that he was taking advantage of me. But at the end of the day, Gene and I are brothers. We've been together 40-plus years. I know I can count on him in any situation, and we've only grown closer. Certainly we've had our — I don't even want to say moments — we haven't had moments, we've had weeks and months. Years. At the end of the day, both of us have always been about trying to do what's best for the band. But, look, you know, a strong relationship gets tested from time to time.

Paste: Yeah, it's like a marriage.

Stanley: Yeah, and perhaps the things that have tested our relationship have made us stronger. We are both blessed to have made possible the lives we both wanted, by each other. The life Gene has now is not a life I would want, and I'm sure it's vice versa. But how fortunate we are, that we've come to this point, and have a future to look at. It's phenomenal. We both started out living at home with our parents, and here we are with grown children, at a very fulfilling part of our lives. Although very different from each other.

Paste: Both you and Gene have said that Ace and Peter are both important to the foundation of Kiss. But where do you think the band would be today if they hadn't agreed to do the reunion back in 1996? I mean, obviously, they had a lot to gain as well.

Stanley: I would have to say not where we are now. By putting it back on it allowed us to reclaim those four iconic characters and move on from there. So the reunion tour was very important. Absolutely. It was the ground on which we reclaimed our legacy.

Paste: Do you think Kiss would be still be here if it didn't happen?

StanleyKiss would always be around, because if it ever comes down to it, I am Kiss. I don't mean that with disregard to Gene. It ultimately means that no matter what anyone does, I covet this band and will keep it going.

Paste: I think a lot of Kiss fans understand that with no Paul Stanley, there's no Kiss. Does Gene recognize that? [Laughs] I mean, does he thank you for that?

Stanley: Oh yeah, he acknowledges it now probably more than before, because I think he's more comfortable in his own skin. I do believe that getting married and looking at his past, seeing why he is the way he is, has made him more open to acknowledging that, which is great.

Paste: You've mentioned that you see Kiss going on without you and Gene. My question to you is, do you think fans will buy it?

Stanley: Of course. They may not know that they'll buy it now, but they'll accept it if it's great. Look, I was included originally saying that the four original guys are the band, until people started leaving the band. Then it's, well we're going to continue anyway. The fans who thought it had to be the four of us are now 50 percent wrong. Well, they'll be 75 percent or 100 percent. The truth of the matter is that the band is bigger than its individual members, and there are other people out there who can do what I do, although they're probably not known right now. And somebody will come along who's terrific.

Read the entire interview at Paste magazine.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NEWS: It's Official: MALCOLM YOUNG Taking Break From AC/DC Due To 'Ill Health'

Legendary Anglo-Australian hard rockers AC/DC have released the following statement:

"After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.

"In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family's privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music."

As previously reported, a musician who says he has been friends with AC/DC for "years" has corroborated reports that Malcolm Young is no longer able to perform with the band due to illness. Mark Gable, lead singer with the CHOIRBOYS, told ABC Radio Australia, "From what I understand, and it's even been confirmed in part by his son Ross… It would appear Malcolm is unable to perform anymore. It's not just that he is unwell, it's that it is quite serious. It will constitute that he definitely won't be able to perform live. He will probably not be able to record."

Australian journalist Darryl Mason wrote that Malcolm suffered a stroke last month. According to The Age, a source who knows the Young family has said that Malcolm's condition has deteriorated so badly that his wife Linda and family were investigating full-time care for the guitarist. It is believed that Malcolm is currently having in-home care at his home in the Sydney area. He is said to be having difficulty remembering familiar faces and having increasing problems communicating.

NEWS: AC/DC's BRIAN JOHNSON: We Are Not Retiring

AC/DC singer Brian Johnson has shot down reports that the band is retiring, telling U.K.'s Telegraph that the band is about to begin work on its 16th studio album. "We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver," he said. "We're going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we'll record it."

Johnson also confirmed that one member of the band — believed to be rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, the older brother of lead guitarist Angus Young — has been suffering from ill health, but denied that this will result in the group's demise.

"I wouldn't like to say anything either way about the future," he said. "I'm not ruling anything out. One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don't want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We've been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much."

Johnson told a Florida radio station in February that AC/DC is planning to embark on a 40th-anniversary tour involving 40 concerts in 40 different venues. "That would be a wonderful way to say bye bye," said Johnson. "We would love to do it. But it's all up in the air at the moment.

"AC/DC is such a tight family. We've stuck to our guns through the Eighties and Nineties when people were saying we should change our clothes and our style. But we didn't and people got it that we are the real deal."

Asked about the prospect of retiring one day, Johnson previously told The Pulse Of Radio that he would know when the time had come. "You know, retirement is like anything," he said. "A good football or a good ice hockey player, they don't want to retire. But unfortunately, sometimes there's a time when you have to call it quits. I don't want to do it, and if we can get out another album and do another little short tour or something, and have a bit of fun, well. I'm your man. I'll be right there."

NEWS: SEBASTIAN BACH Says His New Solo Album 'Give 'Em Hell' Sounds 'Timeless'


Former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach was recently interviewed by Brian Aberback of New Jersey's Steppin' Out magazine. An excerpt from the chat follows below.

Steppin' Out: How do you feel about [your new solo album] "Give 'Em Hell"?

Sebastian Bach: I absolutely love the record. I can't wait until this interview is done so I can go on a seven-mile run and crank it. I worked so hard on it. I tortured myself. The process is pretty funny. I'm in the worst mood for a year when we're making it and then I hear what I want to hear at the end and I'm the happiest, most humorous guy in the world. I think it sounds timeless. There's certain singers that can still sound the same as they get older, like Steven Tyler [AEROSMITH], and I'm very lucky that I can do that as well, but I don't know how I pulled it off! It's also my best-sounding record. I'm a total audiophile as far as wanting a clear, clean sound and no separation between the instruments.

Steppin' Out: How did Duff McKagan end up on the album?

Sebastian Bach: I was in this band with Duff called Kings Of Chaos. We were playing in Sydney [Australia] about a year ago and I said to him, "I've got to turn in a new record, do you want to collaborate." He said, "Where and when." "Give 'Em Hell" also has John 5, Steve Stevens and Devin Bronson on guitar and Bobby Jarzombek on drums. Musically, we have a lot of depth.

Steppin' Out: Who will be playing with you at the Starland Show in New Jersey?

Sebastian Bach: I've got Johnny Chromatic on guitar, Will Hunt from Evanescence on drums and Jason Christopher on bass. My new second guitarist is Devin Bronson. He's played with Avril Lavigne and Pink, but don't let that worry you, metalheads!

Steppin' Out: This year is the 25th anniversary of the first Skid Row record. Any thoughts on that period of your life?

Sebastian Bach: Fans still ask, "Are you going to get back with the old band?" If I was to do that, there would be no new records, and that's what I love to do. It would just be a retro thing. I need more than that in my life. But I think it's insane that we don't celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first record with a remastered version with unreleased songs or a box set or something. I don't understand why some of the other guys in that band have such an adverse reaction to doing something like that. That's puzzling to me. 

The entire interview will be published in Steppin' Out on April 23.

"Taking Back Tomorrow" lyric video: 

"Give 'Em Hell" EPK:

"Temptation" video:



Former Pantera and current Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott was interviewed by Matt Wake of A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. A special, 20th-anniversary edition of Pantera's "Far Beyond Driven", which was a No. 1 album in 1994, was recently released. Is there anything you appreciate more about the record now?

Vinnie Paul: Being a part of the production of every record I've ever been a part of, I really, really appreciate the fact it was recorded analog. It was before Pro Tools existed and music became simple, you could cut, paste and do that. Back then you had to play every single note that was on there, man. And you had to sing every note and (play) every drum lick and every part, and you had to be really good to get all that stuff right. I really do appreciate that more than ever. Do you care if Pantera ever gets inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

Vinnie Paul: Uh, I don't really think so, man. It's already been proven there are tons of travesties that have gone on with that place. How in the world did it take forever to get Black Sabbath in there? Honestly, I don't think Pantera will ever get in there. But if we do, I'm going to embrace it just like anything else. I've actually been there and heavy metal is barely even represented in the place, so I wouldn't expect that to happen. You own the Clubhouse strip club in Dallas and a string of Latino-themed strip clubs, called Chicas Bonitas. What separates an awesome strip club from a lame one?

Vinnie Paul: I think there's one thing, man. Most strip clubs provide a service. That's what they're there for. My strip clubs provide a party and I want people to have a damn good time while they're in there. When they come in, I want people to be able to afford the drinks, to be able to afford the girls, I want them to hear good rock 'n' roll music and not feel like they're part of a machine.

Read the entire interview at

NEWS: SKID ROW To Release 'United World Rebellion - Part 2' EP In August


Skid Row — Johnny Solinger (vocals), Scotti Hill (guitar), Rachel Bolan (bass), Dave "Snake" Sabo (guitar) and Rob Hammersmith (drums) — will release its new seven-song EP, "United World Rebellion - Part 2", on August 5 via Megaforce Records. 

After a hiatus that started in 1996, Skid Row returned to the big stage — literally — opening for Kiss in 2000. Exhilarated to tour with the heroes who rallied them in the first place, the band was reinvigorated by being underdogs who needed to come out fighting to prove themselves.

"When we put the band back together, we needed to reintroduce Skid Row as relevant without relying too much on past success," explains Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan. "We wrote songs and hit the road. We sunk our heart and soul into it, letting people know we weren't doing it for lack of something better to do."

2003's "Thickskin" and 2006's "Revolutions Per Minute" were battle plans for hundreds of live shows with new singer Johnny Solinger out front, every night being a hard fought battle to win new fans and convince the old ones. "United World Rebellion - Part 2" is Skid Row coming out swinging. Rachel and Sabo tapped again into the potent songwriting collaboration that built the band. Sabo says they were eagerly up to the challenge. "We seem to be at our best when we're faced with adversity. It's us against the world again — and by us I mean the band and the fans who stick with us and carry the Skid Row torch without fail."

New plans came together in an Atlanta recording studio. But it's a different time, a different industry, so they decided to record a series of EPs. "The idea really appealed to me," says Bolan, "especially with the constantly changing musical climate. I like the idea of a steady flow of new music, as opposed to releasing a full-length album then riding it for the next two years."

That guerrilla burst of recording a concise EP fostered a focused intensity that was liberating, says Snake. "The pressure seemed to be lifted. That immediately set me at ease and it became really exciting."

Exciting and potent, prompting Solinger to exert the full range of his ability. "The third time in the studio as the voice of Skid Row was the proverbial charm, and the proof is in the tracks. 'United World Rebellion - Part 2' is the most meaningful work I've done with the band. It's definitely the most I've been challenged, vocally."

Skid Row will team up with Black Star Riders for a brief tour of the West Coast, which starts May 8 in Tucson, Arizona at the Rialto Theatre. Once that concludes on May 16, Skid Row will play headlining shows across the U.S., including a stop at the legendary Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood, California on Saturday, May 17 and an appearance at this year’s Rocklahoma festival on May 23 in Pryor, Oklahoma. They will then head to Europe in June for various festivals, including Download in Donington, England on June 14. Once the U.S. trek concludes in July, Skid Row will travel to Kostrzyn, Poland, where they’ve been invited to headline one of the biggest festivals in Europe, Woodstock, on July 31.

Skid Row's last EP, "United World Rebellion - Chapter One", was released in Europe on May 24, 2013 via Germany's UDR Music. The European version of the EP includes two bonus tracks, both of them cover tunes: "Fire Fire" (EZO) and "United" (Judas Priest).



Jordan Mancino (drums), Nick Hipa (guitar), Phil Sgrosso (guitar) and Josh Gilbert (bass) of San Diego, California-based metal act As I Lay Dying have teamed up with vocalist Shane Blay to create the new band Wovenwar. Over approximately the last year, the band completed work on new material recorded with producer Bill Stevenson with mixing duties currently being handled by Colin Richardson.

On Monday April 21, fans will get their first full listen of Wovenwar's debut single, "All Rise". While not the final mastered version, the song will be a proper representation of what's to come when Wovenwar's self-titled debut, set to drop late summer.

As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambesis in Febraury pleaded guilty to hiring a hit man to kill his estranged wife.

The singer remains free on $2 million bond until he is sentenced on May 2.

NEWS: SLASH Says He 'Wasn't Fond' Of GUNS N' ROSES Song 'Sweet Child O' Mine' When It Was First Written


Slash was  recently interviewed by Christopher Derek Foley (a.k.a. KiddChris) of the WEBN radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio and he asked him if there is a song from either Guns N' Roses or Velvet Revolver that the legendary guitarist completely hates.

"Wow! That's an interesting question,Slash replied (hear audio below). "I don't think anybody has ever asked me that."

He continued: "I can't think of a song that I actually completely hate from either band. You know, I mean, maybe there's some songs that I like more than others. But I'll tell you one thing… I didn't hate it, but I wasn't fond of [the Guns N' Roses song] 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. And that gives you a good idea of how credible my opinion is… The actual riff itself I love, but the song itself…

"You know, Guns N' Roses was always a real hardcore, sort of, AC/DC kind of hard rock band with a lot of attitude. If we did any kind of ballads, it was bluesy. This was an uptempo ballad. That's one of the gayest things you can write. But at the same time, it's a great song — I'm not knocking it — but at the time, it just did not fit in with the rest of our, sot of, schtick. And, of course, it would be the biggest hit we ever had."

Slash told Metro earlier this year that "Sweet Child O' Mine" was the most lucrative song he has composed. He explained: "It's the most covered [song I have ever written]. There are some really good instrumental versions for the piano or violin, but I've been horrified by some muzak versions. I've been sitting in a doctor's office thinking, 'That sounds familiar,' and then realizing it's someone's interpretation of what I've written. That can be a creepy feeling."

The original version of "Sweet Child O' Mine" was released as a single on August 17, 1988 and is included on Guns N' Roses' debut studio album, "Appetite For Destruction".

NEWS: SLIPKNOT Rumored To Have Recruited Former MADBALL And AGAINST ME! Drummer JAY WEINBERG


Slipknot is rumored to have recruited former Madball and Against Me! drummer Jay Weinberg to assist them during the sessions for the band's new studio album following last year's departure of Joey Jordison.

Weinberg — the 23-year-old son of Max Weinberg — was most recently a member of Against Me!, having played with the Florida-based act from November 2010 until December 2012.

Weinberg joined Against Me! shortly after he was ousted from Madball and following the departure of Against Me!'s previous sticksman, George Rebelo.

In May 2013, Weinberg filled in for Kvelertak drummer Kjetil Gjermundrod during the band's North American tour because Gjermundrod had to bow out of the run after experiencing significant pain in his arm.

Slipknot announced in December 2013 that it had parted ways with Jordison, one of the band's founding members and key songwriters. The group posted a statement at its web site which read, "It is with great pain but quiet respect that, for personal reasons, Joey Jordison and Slipknot are parting ways. We all wish Joey the best in whatever his future holds. We understand that many of you will want to know how and why this has come to be, and we will do our best to respond to these questions in the near future."

The statement added, "It is our love for all of you, as well as for the music we create, that spurs us to continue on and move forward with our plans for releasing new material in the next year. We hope that all of you will come to understand this, and we appreciate your continued support while we plan the next phase of the future of Slipknot."

Slipknot has not disclosed the reasons for Jordison's exit, although the drummer issued a statement in January saying that he did not quit the band.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

REVIEW: Black Label Society - "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican"

In this day and age of heavy metal, there is only one word you can use to describe Black Label Society: dependable. While metal’s younger and more progressive ilk is taking the music into uncharted dimensions, you can always depend on bearded berserker and former Ozzy protégé Zakk Wylde to serve up a classic steak-and-potatoes meal of heavy rock music. Their latest platter comes in the form of their new album, ‘Catacombs Of The Black Vatican’.

Even though it is only possible to keep track of Zakk and bassist John DeServio in this line-up right now, this is the first and only album featuring the now former drummer Chad Szeliga (new drummer Jeff Fabb and guitarist Dario Lorina only joined the fold after the recording sessions). As much of a rampaging riff-a-thon as their previous album ‘Order Of The Black’ was, ‘Catacombs...’ also takes the time to show the bluesier side of these mafiosos.

The first track “Fields of Unforgiveness” proceeds to test the waters with mid-pace riffage supported by solid basswork and sharp drums, propelled by Zakk’s careening vocals and his signature frenetic guitar solo. This then leaves room for the now-recognizable lead single “My Dying Time” to pick up the pace a bit and take on all comers with the band’s familiar formula. The drumming here is particularly executed to great and bombastic effect.

Zakk Wylde
And so ‘Catacombs...’ sets out to fulfill Black Label Society’s only raison d’être throughout their whole career up to this point – to bash our skulls in with metal fury, and then soothe the wounds with sing-along rock ballads. Tracks like “Heart of Darkness”, “Beyond The Down” and the steamrolling “Damn The Flood” re-affirm the band’s un-fuck-with-able reputation as harbingers of all things heavy, while the softer numbers like “Angel of Mercy” and “Scars” will give any BLS fan worth his salt a sentimental call-back to the seminal classic “In This River”. With all the songs here clocking in at 3 to 4 minutes long with conventional song structures, this album doesn’t aim to be more than what it is. This is due to the fact that it’s already a great mix of BLS’s signature rock and metal style from their early works, and their harder sound and production post the ‘Mafia’ album. Not stopping there, all this material is also musically influenced by the blues leanings of Zakk’s past, with “Scars” even showing some country rock traits here and there. All this amounts to perhaps the most balanced collection of BLS material that you’ll ever hear for now.

‘Catacombs...’ starts coming to a close with “Empty Promises”, whose instrumentation gives off such a doom-y Black Sabbath vibe that even Zakk himself starts to sound like Ozzy Osbourne. However, the closing track “Shades of Grey”, another ballad, doesn’t give as good an ending to this album as this reviewer had hoped. The solos here are admittedly good, but the song itself is too sticky-sweet even for BLS rock ballad standards. A minor fault in the whole package, though.

All in all, in this age of notorious experimentation where even the biggest bands are taking detours from their sound (I’m looking at you, Metallica and Megadeth), Black Label Society have resolutely stuck to their guns and delivered nothing more or less than the riff-tastic metal music they’ve always dished out all these years. Innovation be damned, why fix something that isn't broken here? Zakk and the pack certainly seem to abide by this, and we’re not complaining.

Recommended Tracks: “My Dying Time”, “Angel of Mercy”, “Damn The Flood”

Rating: 8.2/10

Reviewed By,
Sairaj R. Kamath

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NEWS: ACE FREHLEY: 'My Voice Hasn't Changed, Unlike Other Members Of KISS'


On Friday, April 11, former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley visited Billboard for a video interview to reflect on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame experience, reveal his least favorite KISS album, discuss his upcoming solo album, "Space Invader", due in June, and more. You can watch the chat at

"Space Invader" is due June 24 on eOne Music. While the final track listing hasn't been announced yet, the album will contain a cover of "The Joker" by THE STEVE MILLER BAND.

"There's going to be a real interesting instrumental, there's gonna be some catchy riff songs, there's gonna be some straight-ahead rockers and everything in between," Ace told Billboard. "The only real guests I have [are] Chris Wyse from THE CULT and my drummer Matt Starr, who I used on my last U.S. tour. And pretty much I'm playing all the instruments and doing all the lead vocals. I'm a one-man show."

He added: "I've been playing some rough mixes [of 'Space Invader'] for friends. The first remark out of them is, 'Wow, your vocals sound like they did on the '78 record.' My voice hasn't changed, unlike other members of KISS. Got a little dig in there, Paul."

NEWS: AC/DC Are Breaking Up?

April 15 at 4:35 a.m. EST: Mark Evans, who says that he is the son of original AC/DC singer Dave Evans, tweeted a few hours ago that reports of AC/DC's imminent retirement announcement are not merely rumors. He added: "Malcolm Young is very sick.... [Malcolm's son] Ross Young spoke to my father this morning because the cat got out.... But yes, the band will be finished…. No new shows or music."

**Update #2** -- April 15 at 5:20 a.m. EST: Australian journalist Darryl Mason writes on The Orstrahyun that "when AC/DC recently reunited in a rehearsal studio, Malcolm Young discovered he had forgotten how to play, due to a brain clot on his brain." He adds: "AC/DC won't continue playing and recording without Malcolm. It can't be done."

The original article follows below.

According to The Australian, a "music industry source" has confirmed that AC/DC has booked a recording studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for six weeks from May 1, directly contradicting other Australian media reports that suggest the legendary rock hard rock band is about to announce its retirement.

An ubsubstantiatted report from Australian radio station 3AW appeared Tuesday morning (Australian time) saying the band could announce its retirement decision as soon as tomorrow, with the station's entertainment commentator Peter Ford saying that “we may not hear them perform or record ever again." He added that "there was some sad detail" behind the move, indicating that "Malcolm Young, one of the founding members of the group, has in recent times returned to Australia to live with his family and for his own personal reasons he may not want to continue with the band."

If AC/DC does end up recording a new album this spring, the project will be the first set of new AC/DC material since 2008's "Black Ice" CD. In addition, the band was previously expected to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year by playing 40 shows in selected cities around the world which have not yet been announced.

The plans were revealed by singer Brian Johnson in a surprise phone call he made on February 14 to a radio station in West Palm Beach, Florida. Johnson is a resident of the state.

Asked about the group's plans, Johnson said, "We've been denying anything, 'cause we weren't sure. One of our boys was pretty ill, so we didn't like to say anything, and we're very private about things like this, so we didn't wanna say anything. But I think we'll be going in the studio in May in Vancouver. Which means, we should be getting ready."

Johnson added, "It's been 40 years of the band's existence, so I think we're gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty. I mean, honestly, our fans are just the best in the world, and we appreciate every one of them. So, like I said, we'll have to go out, even though we're getting a bit long in the tooth [Laughs]."

Johnson alluded to one of the members of the band being ill in a 2012 interview, adding that the unnamed member was "getting better" with a "full recovery fully expected."

Meanwhile, bassist Cliff Williams hinted in March 2013 that guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young were writing music for the band's next album.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

INTERVIEW: TESTAMENT's Bassist Steve DiGiorgio On New Material - "The Goal Is To Reach Back And Pull Some Energy From The Past"

Steve DiGiorgio is nothing short of an institution as far as bass playing in the realm of heavy metal is concerned. Noted for his exceptional technical adeptness, courtesy of his ability to execute very fast 32nd notes with his plucking fingers, as opposed to using a pick, DiGiorgio has been an imperative part of the creative force of a number of respected acts across various sub-genres such as Death, Autopsy, Control DeniedVintersorg, Iced Earth, Sebastian Bach, Charred Walls of the Damned, Obituary. He is also of course a founding member of seminal death/thrash metal masters Sadus, and recently replaced Greg Christian on bass duties for Berkeley thrash metal archons Testament, whom he happened to have initially played with in the late 90's and early 2000s. Apart from his involvement with such bands, the fretless bass playing virtuoso also has a slew of other side projects that lean on the progressive side of things; such as Soen, Mythodea, Johnny Newman and Synesis Absorption. Needless to say, DiGiorgio is nothing short of a heavy metal deity in this sense, and yet seems to maintain a certain candor and simplicity that is very endearing.

Metal Wani's editor-in-chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi (alongside help from Achintya Venkatesh for the entire line of questioning) sat down for a chat with the prolific bass player to discuss a variety of topics, including re-joining Testament, his rapport with the band members and their history with each other, his contributions to the song-writing of the band, the prospects of Sadus releasing new material, his stint with Soen, the prospects of Testament re-visiting India alongside DiGiorgio, among others. 

Listen to the entire interview below

INTERVIEW: FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE's Tommaso Riccardi - "We Have Rage, We Are Hungry To Cross Musical Boundaries"

In the realm of extreme metal, Fleshgod Apocalypse quickly rose as kings. Their unique brand of symphonic technical death metal conquered castles filled with fans, ready to march to the rhythm of Francesco Paoli's drum beats into battle. These proud Italians are the subject of multiple awe-stricken sighs of wonder and admiration. There has never been a dull moment in all of Fleshgod Apocalypse's discography, which is nothing short of brutal and bloody, yet beautiful in its own right.

This relatively young band came into light (and dark) in the year of 2007 and has had a new release in almost every year of existence. With two EP's and three full-length albums under their heavy belt, the latest of it being the highly-acclaimed “Labyrinth”, whose delight to extreme metal fans' ears has made it impossible not to classify it as one of the best albums released in 2013. In the meanwhile, they managed to delight us further as they released Fleshgod Apocalypse branded wine (red and white) and even pasta.

Their classicly riddled explosions of full power resound within us, as we advance and proceed asking for more. Paolo Rossi (bass, clean vocals), Francesco Paoli (drums, back vocals), Cristiano Trionfera (guitars, back vocals, orchestration), Tommaso Riccardi (guitars, lead vocals, orchestration) and Francesco Ferrini (piano, orchestration) are undoubtedly the fantastic five, as they manage to pull us into an epic atmosphere like no other before.

Vocalist/rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Tommaso Riccardi took the time to chat with Metal Wani's editor-in-chief Owais "Vitek" Nabi regarding numerous matters devised by writer Vânia F. Silva with a little help from super fan Chris Allcock. All of this makes for some interesting 40 minutes in which Tommaso thoroughly discusses Fleshgod Apocalypse's lyrical themes, future plans, Italian heritage, the complexity of their sound, Francesco's DRUmatic journey and even food. Curious? Check out our march into the Apocalypse here: –

NEWS: DAVE LOMBARDO On Playing Other Styles Of Music: 'Believe It Or Not, Metal Has A Lot Of Boundaries'


Former Slayer and current Philm drummer Dave Lombardo was recently interviewed by Bob Baker Fish of Cyclic Defrost. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Cyclic Defrost: Of course, everyone is aware of your imposing legacy in Slayer and for a long time it seemed like your sole focus, but you've increasingly been involved in left of centre or weirder projects like Fantomas or your work with John Zorn. Did a light bulb suddenly go off above your head where you realized that people would be interested in your stranger music, or was it more that people of the caliber of Mike Patton and Zorn started asking you to do things?

Dave: I've always been a fan of music that is left of center. It wasn't until I started to work with Patton that I realized I had the instinctual ability to play avant-garde style of music. When Patton introduced me to the first Fantomas demos, I felt very comfortable and connected with the music. When I performed "Xu Feng" for the first time with John Zorn and his ensemble, I was comfortable and uninhibited. This is the most pure form of musical self expression.

Cyclic Defrost: What do you get from these less metal and weirder projects?

Dave: I get the chance to play drums without limits. Believe it or not, metal has a lot of boundaries. When I play with these artists, the intensity and dynamics are so great because we're tapping into so many genres. Quite honestly, most music, in comparison, feels less exciting for me.

Cyclic Defrost: With your departure from Slayer, and, from what I read, little chance of that changing anytime soon, I understand that you're focused on Philm's second album. The first album, "Harmonic", was operating with a much broader focus than Slayer. How would you describe the upcoming one?

DavePhilm's first album, "Harmonic", was a musical expression unlike any other album I've worked on. Blending structured songs and improvisations was the direction I intended to take the band. Philm's ability to improvise and create music unlike the typical sounds that have emerged within the past 20 years is refreshing to me as an artist and drummer. As the producer of the band, I suggested for this album that we leave out the improvisations and focus on structured, concise movements. I always want to change it up and keep it fresh. As we write the third album, I'm reintroducing the double-bass drums which will take the songs to a different level.

Read the entire interview at Cyclic Defrost.