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Sunday Old School: Acid Drinkers

We've already seen twice this year, through our features on Behemoth and Vader, that Poland is a country which has contributed some great works to the art of heavy metal music. This week, we'll be taking a look at another band from the country that helped to pave the way for metal in Eastern Europe and stake a place in the thrash which had boomed in their neighbouring country, Germany. A group from Poznan known quite memorably as Acid Drinkers.

The band was formed in September 1986 by singing bassist Tomasz "Titus" Pukacki and guitarist, Robert "Litza" Friedrich, who were soon joined by drummer, Maciej "Slepy" Gluchowski and another guitar player named, Dariusz "Popcorn" Popowicz. They recorded their first songs together before Pukacki was forced to put his musical aspirations on hold for two years to do his part for the army. He returned two years later and eventually reformed Acid Drinkers with Friedrich and Maciek "Slimak" Starosta. They performed their first gig in August 1989 in western Poland's largest city, Wroclaw. The thrashers quickly made a name for themselves, earning a record deal with Under One Flag, an English record label which had previously released albums by such artists as Onslaught. More...

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Pit Stories: The Unwanted Flautist

Joining the band on stage is a dream for many metal lovers, but sometimes that doesn't always go down the way you might of hoped.

For this week's Pit Story, Martin Drozd from beer-guzzling folk metal outfit Protokult shares a story of inviting a young fan to play on stage without first checking with the rest of the group:

So there we were, doing what we do best and indulging during our pre-show ritual. This venue/backstage was conveniently located right next to a parking lot which was nice and easy access for us to get obliterated before our set.

The sun went down and the Kult was in town and all of a sudden a group of random teenage school kids approached us in the parking lot. They looked a little under age, plus I don't like sharing with strangers so we didn't offer them any swigs but I noticed one nerdy looking kid was carrying some sort of small instrument case. "Hey man, what instrument you got there?" I asked. "I'm a flautist," he chirped back; "just finished a busking gig." I thought to myself, "interesting." Turns out he had the same name as our guitarist (Jeremy) and I decided to test his musical abilities. "If you claim to have studied music all these years, fuck it, join us on stage for a few numbers," I suggested. I am easy going like that and figured it would be worth a laugh; hell, maybe the kid would be amazing!

The young Jeremy was delighted at the thought and I quickly mentioned a few chord progressions for him to keep in mind and practice to. Fast-forward inside the venue. As we're setting up, the nerdy, homeless looking minstrel wanders up on stage and starts blowing his heart out on the flute. Coincidentally, this was the same weekend as the Toronto Jazz festival so I decided to troll the audience a bit. "Good evening folks, this is Jeremy on the flute and welcome to the Toronto Jazz fest." Confusion and apprehension lingered amok but the joke seemed well-received by a majority of the audience. As Jeremy kept fluting relentlessly for what seemed a lifetime, we launched into our first song.

Ekaterina climbed up on stage and gave this kid a swift kick off-stage and in less than a heartbeat, he was gone! He tried weaseling his way back on for a few numbers but she wasn't having it. Being very drunk and focused on my own performance, I took no notice to the occasional plea for mercy and desperate cries of "Please give me a chance, I'm a human being!" Moral of the story? Make sure the full band is aware of any guest appearances prior to performance.

Protokult's new album "No Beer In Heaven" just came out last month and can be heard in full via the Bandcamp player provided below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Danzig

In some ways, being part of a hugely influential band can be a real hindrance to a person’s future endeavours. Many times they’ll be unable to escape from the shadow of their past glory, though there are some musicians who have bucked the trend and gone on to find success again. Dave Grohl is one such well known example, as is former Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig, who was able to triumph with his eponymous band. Danzig began life in 1986 when Glenn Danzig’s band at the time, Samhain, performed what was billed as their final show in New York. In the audience that night was producer, Rick Rubin, who approached the singer about taking part in a supergroup he was looking to put together. Danzig wouldn’t take part in another band without bassist, Eerie Von and eventually, two other members of Samhain, John Christ and Chuck Biscuits (also formerly of Black Flag and D.O.A.) were brought into the fold. Despite consisting entirely of Samhain members, the group decided to change their moniker to Danzig, given their shift in musical direction.

They wasted little time in getting to work on material and in 1988, released their self-titled debut album, which remains their best selling album. The record contained the single, "Mother," the video of which was banned by MTV for it’s provocative imagery, specifically the ending sequence which featured a chicken being supposedly sacrificed, with an inverted cross then being drawn in the animals blood. Three other music videos, "She Rides," "Am I Demon" and "Twist of Cain," the last of which featured Metallica frontman, James Hetfield performing uncredited backing vocals, were made to promote the album and helped the record reach its popular status. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Wet Dreams

This week we have videos that remind us of wet dreams, the hot desert and just how much fun dynamite and drinking and driving can be. More...

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Pit Stories: Bridging The Punk/Metal Divide

Tuesday's not just new release day - it's also when we have the best of the best in the metal world share their most memorable Pit Stories.

This week metal warrior Casey Orr of Rigor Mortis (...and Warbeast, and GWAR, and Ministry, and a whole bunch of others) shares a tale of camaraderie in the pit when metal heads and punk rockers come together to tear shit up and have a good time. Casey recounts the story thusly:

I grew up in Arlington, TX, just east of Ft. Worth and about 30 miles west of Dallas. Though only about 30 miles apart, Dallas and the Arlington/Ft Worth area are very different. While Arlington/Ft. W was clearly the birthplace of heavy metal in North Texas, Dallas, being a bit more "big city," was a fertile breeding ground for punk. At that time my only exposure to punk had been through main stream outlets. I was aware of Devo, The Sex Pistols, and The Ramones, but not much else. Our side of the Metroplex was all about Sabbath, Skynyrd, Led Zep, and the burgeoning NWOHM.

Sometime in 1984, a friend told me and Rigor Mortis drummer, Harden Harrison, about this crazy club in Dallas we HAD to check out. It was a punk rock club called The Circle A Ranch, and we said hell yeah, let's go! So one night Harden and I drove out to Dallas to this seedy area called Deep Ellum in search of enlightenment, or beer, or a fight, or all of the above.

We found the club, a dingy dump up a rickety flight of stairs, and we entered. As we got to the top of the stairs I looked around and realized we were the only longhairs in the room. It was all skinheads and mohawks! The band that was playing (I've long forgotten who) was playing faster and more aggressively than almost any of the metal I'd heard up to this point. After a slight verbal altercation between Harden and the doorman over "being a long haired hippie," which ended in mutual respect and acceptance (I was so mesmerized I barely noticed, I think I threw money at him and just went in), we proceeded into the room and soaked in this amazing scene that appeared in front of us. The first mosh pit we had ever seen!

There must have been 50 - 75 hardcore punk rockers slamming each other as they moved in a counter clockwise direction. It looked like they were beating the shit out of each other, but they weren't. In fact if someone went down, they were immediately helped back up and the melee continued. I felt like John Belushi in The Blues Brothers when he's in the church and has his revelation about "the band." After a couple of minutes we looked at each other, grinned, and jumped right in. Of course we went the opposite direction as they were going; what better way to introduce yourself? After a couple of songs we stepped out to catch our breath. Right about then two boots and braces type skinheads also left the pit and came right to us. The bigger of the two, who was bleeding from his forehead, said "I don't give a shit if you guys come here or not, but that shit (pointing at my spiked wristbands) has got to go!" Without even thinking about it, I popped the wristbands off, threw them over my shoulder, threw my arm around the big skinhead and dragged back him into the pit with me. We had a blast that night and it definitely changed me forever.

Rigor Mortis eventually played our first Dallas gig at The Circle A Ranch, and were the first metal band to infiltrate Deep Ellum and the punk scene. Sure there were constant scuffles between our fans (The Longhairs), and The Skins, but we never backed down and gained the respect and friendship of most of the punks in Dallas. And the press did wonders for our reputation!
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Look-Alike Metal Album Covers, Part 1

Facebook's ever-growing community, And Justice For Art has joined forces with MetalUnderground.com to present monthly episodes of their infamous series "Look-alike metal album covers." These short but thought-provoking articles focus on artworks that somehow, are uncannily similar, both visually and conceptually. Of course, the metal connection will always be there. Is this a coincidence? A mere rip-off? Let's try to figure it out together....

Grave Digger Vs. Dissection


German irreverent heavy metal quintet, Grave Digger, finally released its seventeenth studio opus, "Return Of The Reaper." The album came accompanied by a cover art courtesy of their longtime artist/collaborator, Gyula Havancsak. It features the reaper-like figure previously established by the band, relentlessly driving a ghostly carriage throughout a graveyard.

Although the graphic seems to be a continuation of the band's previous covers (also featuring the reaper) this idea, however, is far from original. Before Gyula, legendary designer, Thomas Holm, explored a similar setting on King Diamond's "Abigail" (1987) and then, in 1993, Swedish maestro, Kristian 'Necrolord' Wåhlin (At The Gates, Tiamat) created its own rendition for Dissection's debut, "The Somberlain."

What connects "Return Of The Reaper" cover with these illustrations (especially with "The Somberlain") is not just the theme but also the structure of the whole composition, featuring a similar point of view, the relentless attitude of the main rider character, the graveyard setting and even way the horses look like. Thankfully, Gyula's vibrant painting style is far from Whalin's quasi-monochromatic approach and this creates the well-needed differences.

Was Wahlin inspired by Holm? Was Gyula consciously influenced by Kristian Wåhlin? We just don't know. One thing is true: both "Abigail" and "The Somberlain" covers have been part of the metal imagery for decades. Consciously or not, these images could have been in Gyula's mind at the moment of creating his own, otherwise, arresting graphic... In his defense, Gyula briefly comments: "I tried to avoid the "Abigail' direction and I love Dissection, but I forgot "The Somberlain" artwork! How could I forget "The Somberlain" cover!?"

Dear Gyula, this could happen to anyone... Better luck next time. More...

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Sunday Old School: Amebix

Heavy metal and punk rock has had a longstanding love/hate relationship. Though some fans of one genre have viewed the other with a sense of distaste or disdain, others have given the opposing scene respect. A number of bands were well known for appealing to both sets of fans, with Motorhead being one of the earliest examples and Discharge were a punk band that heavily influenced thrash metal, but another group to bring punk to metal fans was Devon’s very own, Amebix. The group formed in the South West of England under the moniker, The Band With No Name in 1978 by Rob Miller and his brother, Chris, also known as "The Baron" and "Stig" respectively, along with And Hoare and Clive Barnes. They performed regularly in their local area and increased their profile considerably when Rob gave their four track demo tape to underground heroes, Crass, who included the song, "Universally Challenged" on their first compilation LP, "Bullshit Detector."

Shortly afterwards, both Clive and Andy left the group and a new drummer named Martin was brought in. Soon after his recruitment, the band decided to change their name to Amebix, referring to the amoeba. The band was first moved to Dartmoor, then London where Martin suffered a mental breakdown, inspiring the song, "Largactyl," following which Amebix relocated to Bristol, where they lived in squats, during which time they shocked a few people by recruiting a synth player. With something of a stable lineup in place, the band got to work on material and recorded the EP, "Who’s the Enemy?" and the single, "Winter," which reached as high as eighteen on the British Indie Chart. More...

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Pit Stories: Pants-Less Evil Clowns!

Every week we check in with rock and metal musicians from across the globe to get their best stories from live shows.

While these traditionally take place directly in the mosh pit, sometimes the best stories take place just before or after the show.

This week vocalist / guitarist "The Horde" from The New Jacobin Club shares one such tale of a pants-less evil clown wielding a cattle prod and narrowly avoiding trouble with the local police:

In 2009 we were a 10 piece horror rock/sideshow on the road in Western Canada. At the time, we were on our “Cannibal Circus Roadshow,” tour, and some of our theatrical entourage were dressed as clowns…and not the sort of clowns you take your kids to see at the circus.

One night we found out that two of them were being questioned by police outside the club. One of them was no longer wearing pants. It turns out there had been a report of “two clowns carrying a cattle prod around in public.” One of them did have a cattle prod.

Their reply - “No, officer, we just found this lying here by the alley.”

The cop said “So you’re telling me that there must be two other girls dressed as clowns that were running around the clubs on this strip with a cattle prod?”

“Yes, officer.”

The police let them go. This actually happened.

What's the closest you've come to a run-in with the law while attending a metal show? Let us know in the comments!

The New Jacobin Club will also release "Soldiers of The Mark" this coming September 2nd, 2014. You can hear a song taken off the release titled "Champagne Ivy" over at Bandcamp here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Humble Pie

Of all the names that have appeared throughout the Sunday Old School columns, one of the few to be expected to grace the series would have to be, Peter Frampton. Yet the man who recorded, "Frampton Comes Alive," one of the biggest selling live albums of all time, which according to Mike Myers in Wayne’s World was issued to everyone in the suburbs, was an integral part in one of the first albums to be described as heavy metal. The album in question was called, "As Safe as Yesterday Is" and the band who recorded this effort was called, Humble Pie. Humble Pie was formed in the county of Essex in south England in 1969 by former Small Faces guitarist, Steve Marriott, along with Spooky Tooth bassist, Greg Ridley, Peter Frampton and drummer, Jerry Shirley. After deciding on their name, they soon signed to Immediate Records and released their first single, "Natural Born Bugie," only six months after forming, which was able to reach as high as number four in the British singles chart.

A month later, the band released, "As Safe as Yesterday Is," which, as mentioned before, was one of the first albums to be called heavy metal by Rolling Stone reviewer, Mike Saunders, who went on to form a popular band himself, named Angry Samoans. Perhaps fitting for this bit of trivia, the record opened with a cover of the song, "Desperation" by Canadian band, Steppenwolf, who themselves have at times been credited for the term "heavy metal" after including it in their classic song, "Born to be Wild." The music press weren’t entirely sure what to make of the album, but listeners seemed to enjoy what was on offer, with the record peaking at number sixteen on the British albums chart. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Fuck It!

In case you missed the previous news - Icona Pop’s single “I Love It” has been covered by Buckcherry. Yes, that single and yes, that Buckcherry. The video is part of an EP titled simply ‘Fuck’ that contains several covers with the chorus and/or lyrics changed to the album title. This particular song is titled “Say Fuck It.” More...

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Pit Stories: Slayer's Double Circle Pit

Every week we check in with musicians from across the rock and metal scene to get their most memorable Pit Stories.

This week, guitarist David Mena Ferrer from U.K. outfit In Search Of Sun shares a story of a band that frequently makes the top of anyone's favorite pit list: Slayer! David had this to say:

Well it has to be none other than SLAYER!!!!!! June 9th, 2007 to be exact. It was my second Download Festival ever and the weather was immaculate for a change, the sun was blazing and we sank warm beer after warm beer. My friends and I were positioned left of the main stage, chilled down at the little hill (you know the one), and watching the masses of beautiful festival freaks stumble past us, already half cut, all eagerly awaiting the coming of the mighty Slayer to blow our fucking brains out!

I even remember seeing a dude dressed in a burglar costume eating a crab that day…wherever the Christ he got that from I don’t know! But anyway, the time was finally upon us so we decided to get our asses up and get closer to the action. Maybe a bit too close perhaps…
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Sunday Old School: Pentagram Chile

The power of the metal underground can be a truly astounding thing. At times, it can give a band worldwide exposure and a large following even if they haven’t actually released a full length album. One of the best known examples of this would be Switzerland’s, Hellhammer, which of course evolved into Celtic Frost, but another band which would influence countless metal listeners was a group from Chile, who shared their name with an American group that also didn’t release an album until well into their career, a band named, Pentagram. Pentagram, or Pentagram Chile as they now go by, were formed in the Chilean capital city of Santiago in 1985 by singing guitarist, Anton Reisenegger and another guitar player named, Juan Pablo "Azazel" Uribe. They were strongly inspired by the more extreme end of the thrash spectrum and early death metal bands such Possessed, Kreator and Venom.

After recruiting drummer Eduardo Topelberg from a group named Chronos, the trio began working on their musicianship a little more seriously and eventually recorded their first demo, entitled appropriately enough, "Demo 1." Reisenegger handled bass duties for the record and the band began sending out copies all over the world. Two of the people who got a hold of the demo was the Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, known of course as the founding members of Brazil’s most famous metal band, Sepultura, who at the time had just released their debut album, "Morbid Visions." They struck up a friendship with the two and there was reportedly intention for Max Cavalera and Anton Reisenegger to record an album together, though to date, this has not happened. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Stressed Out!

New music and videos from Sixx:A.M. and Screaming Eagles this week. More...

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Pit Stories: The Unwanted Pit

A few weeks back Halycon Way checked in with us to share a Pit Story about a massive wall of death at a Lamb of God show, and now the Atlanta prog metal group is back for another tale of pit shenanigans.

This week the group shares a tale of an unwanted pit failing to erupt at the NAMM convention. Halcyon Way had this to say about the event:

So, it's the Winter NAMM show in January of 2013. I'm at the Grove in Anaheim for an industry-only show there, and it's Exodus, Prong, and Jeff Loomis playing. I'm with a group of friends - other musicians, manufacturers, our producer Lasse Lammert is there, it's a good group. The Grove is a good sized venue, and it's probably about half full, so there's a pretty fair amount of room in the crowd area too, because the venue's floor is kinda segmented, with 20 foot sections going up from the stage. Basically, you have a 15-20 foot deep section the width of the venue, then there's a couple of steps up and a short wall, and there's another level a couple feet higher. I think there's 3-4 total. Keep in mind that this is an industry-only event, and that the general public was not allowed in. You had to get a pass from Dean Guitars in the NAMM show at the convention center.

So, during Prong's set there's a small pit breaking out in the lowest level, and that's cool. The people that didn't want to pit were up higher watching the show....until some drunk numbnuts decides he's going to start one 2 levels up. And the douche didn't even know how to really do a pit, he just decided to drunkenly stagger from one side of the venue to the other, and ram into as many people as he could. Women? Sure. Dudes? Of course. Mom with baby? He would have if there were one there. The guy was being a complete toolbag, just ramming into anyone at random, hitting them from behind, etc.
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Sunday Old School: Vio-lence

One of the wonderful things about thrash metal is that while some bands became superstars, others have earned eternal credibility amongst metal fans for their furious live shows and underground classics. Perhaps one of the best examples of the latter comes, unsurprisingly, in the form of a band from San Francisco, Vio-lence. The group was formed by guitarists Phil Demmel and Troy Fua, vocalist Jerry Birr, drummer Perry Strickland and bass player Eddie Billy, brother of Testament frontman, Chuck Billy.

Changes were soon made to the band, most notably when Birr was replaced by Sean Killian, who utilised a unique cadence in his singing style and former Forbidden guitarist, Robb Flynn. They soon signed a contract with Mechanic Records and entered the studio to record their first full length album, "Eternal Nightmare." The record is now considered to be one of the best thrash metal albums of all time by dedicated thrash fans, thanks to such songs as "Kill on Command" and "Bodies on Bodies." More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Guns N' Booze

A couple so-so videos this week that are redeemed with a GREAT ASS; a couple other videos masquerading as PRO gun and alcohol public service announcements. More...

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Pit Stories: Cpl. McTrailerpark Shuts Down A Fest

Get a bunch of amped up metal heads into an enclosed space and shenanigans are bound to happen, but add alcohol to the mix and you've got a recipe for pit craziness.

For this week's look at Pit Stories from metal bands across the globe, Crimson Shadows bassist Morgan Rider shares this tale of a festival getting shut down when the crowd turns on an unruly fan:

I have been playing shows the entirety of my adult and teenage life. I have seen just about as much crazy shit at concerts I have attended as the next guy has too. But actually PLAYING the show gives you that vantage point on the crowd and the pit that being a part of the crowd does not provide. Above all, some of the most insane crowds I have ever seen have been in our home country of Canada. I don't know if it's in the water or the poutine, but I personally think it may be the fact that Canada is one of the less-hit markets in the world for metal. The crowds here NEED their fix of metal!

One instance I can recall comes from another band I play in. We were playing an outdoor festival in Ontario right next to the lake and we were one of maybe 10-12 bands. I remember vaguely as we were gearing up to step up on stage, a roamer happened into our backstage area and started to harass our guitar player at the time that we had better play Lynyrd Skynyrd or Pink Floyd or he'd stab us in the throat or something to that degree. We told him to fuck off so we could get ready to play. And yes, this is the part where he losses his shit and attacks our guitarist who he was previously harassing. The quick tussle ended up in them both being bloody-nosed, bruised and covered in dirt, but otherwise OK! We kicked the random guy out of the backstage area and we moved onto the stage to perform. We didn't really hear him shouting at us about how he was going to round up his boys and come back for us though. Onward the show!

And this is where it gets interesting. We were maybe 3-4 songs into our set; we were enjoying the awesomely large-ish and crazy crowd, the cold Canadian beer and the feel of the breeze coming off the lake when Cpl. McTrailerpark and Company come drunkenly stumbling up into the festival grounds. I guess the guy originally did not realize we were the next performing band, so he went straight for the first long-haired and bearded fellow he happened across and a fight broke out immediately. Of course, we saw everything that was going on, so we shouted at someone to break the fight up before it got even further out of control. Now I have never seen this happen, except if a soccer team loses in Brazil or a bunch of fans streak across a football stadium, but the ENTIRE crowd B-lined and went straight for the guy and his buddies!

The whole crowd swarmed these guys and totally gang-beat them. Of course we did not stop playing. Within 5 minutes, ambulances, police cars and a paddy wagon all arrived with an even larger crowd of on-lookers. Eventually, the police came on stage and stopped us from playing and stopped the entire festival.
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Sunday Old School: Belphegor

As we’ve mentioned a few times over the past months, this year Sunday Old School is aiming to cover a lot more countries in our articles. Some of the nations we’ve taken a first look at have given the world of metal some highly controversial names, both literately (such as Rotting Christ from Greece) and in terms of theatrics (such as Poland’s, Behemoth.) This week sees the latter trend continue, as Sunday Old School examines a band from Austria for the first time. A blood drenched, blasphemous, outrageous group that goes by the name of, Belphegor.

The group was formed under the moniker Betrayer in Salzburg in 1991 by guitarist, Helmuth and Sigurd, vocalist Maxx and a drummer named Chris. Whilst using this name, they recorded two demos, "Kruzifixion" and "Unborn Blood," before changing their alias to Belphegor, named after a demon who was supposedly responsible for discoveries and, according to the Dictionnaire Infernal, Hell’s ambassador to France (because if anywhere is going to have an embassy for Hell, it’s France.) They would release only one demo with Maxx after changing their name in the guise of 1993’s, "Bloodbath in Paradise." After Maxx’s departure, Helmuth assumed vocal duties and the group recorded another demo, "Obscure and Deep" through Perverted Taste Records in 1994, before their first official album, "The Last Supper" was released in January 1995 via Lethal Records. More...

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Sunday Old School: Izzy Stradlin

Izzy Stradlin was the member (and co-founder) of Guns N’ Roses that presumably could handle his heroin use. He left Guns N’ Roses in 1991 and has led his own band or solo efforts since.

Izzy was born and grew up in Lafayette, Indiana where he was friends with William Bailey, later known as Axl Rose. In 1980 Stradlin moved to Los Angeles and joined the punk band Naughty Women. After a brief stint with Naughty Women, Stradlin would play with The Atoms and Shire before forming Hollywood Rose with his childhood friend Axl Rose. In 1984 the band recorded a five-song demo and also during this time (Stradlin) formed the short-lived band Stalin. In 1985 Stradlin, founded Guns N’ Roses with Rose and several members of L.A. Guns. The band released the epic ‘Appetite for Destruction’ album in 1987. Stradlin wrote or co-wrote most of the songs as well as “Patience” off the follow-up album "Lies."

The band blue up as did tensions around drug use. Around 1989 Stradlin took some time off and sobered up. In 1991 Guns N’ Roses released the "Use Your Illusion" albums. Stradlin co-wrote many of the songs, but now sober, was not happy with the band shenanigans and left the band in 1991. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Day Drinking

This week’s videos give us a classic bar scene and the possible return of the movie Cobra. More...

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