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Archive: Columns

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Home Sweet Home

New videos from Tigertailz, Accept and country artist Justin Moore (featuring Motley Crue); welcome to the country ramblings. More...

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Sunday Old School: KISS

This week is a special week for Sunday Old School because it’s the 250th column. One of the genres covered has been the glam and hair bands of the eighties. No band provided more of an influence in this area then KISS. Known for over-the-top antics, make-up, merchandising and farewell tours the boys from KISS have ruled since the seventies. Still, there is the question: Which came first, the music or the makeup? Spoiler Alert: We can’t prove either only that success followed. So without further ado, your 250th Sunday Old School post from the biggest band of all time: KISS. (Note: If you don’t believe this is the biggest band of all time just ask Gene Simmons.) More...

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Pit Stories: Losing Your Pants To The Pit

Each week we check in with metal musicians from across planet Earth to get their best pit stories.

This week we asked guitarist Greg Burgess of Allegaeon for his most memorable story from a live show, and this is what he had to say:

Oh man best our Allegaeon pit story... We were playing outside of San Francisco. During our last song "Accelerated Evolution" the crowd charged the stage and circle pitted around us while we were playing. After the show a dude comes up to us in his boxers saying, "I lost my pants in the pit." Awesome.

From teeth to prosthetic legs there's a lot a metal fan can find himself missing after moshing - what's the worst thing YOU'VE lost in the pit? Let us know in the comments section below!

Allegaeon's new album "Elements of the Infinite" (reviewed here) is out now and you can also read our interview with the band at this location. More...

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Sunday Old School: Tankard

Looking back through the Sunday Old School archives, we certainly seem to love our thrash metal. We’ve covered most of the big names in British thrash, a large number of American bands and a good portion of the German scene. However there is one band we have yet to cover in this column that hails from the last country mentioned, a band who will be releasing their sixteenth studio album this week. A band which goes by the name of Tankard. Tankard were formed in 1982 in the city of Frankfurt, located in the state of Hessen, by classmates, Andreas "Gerre" Geremia and Frank Thorwarth on vocals and bass respectively, as well as fellow pupil, Axel Katzmann, who played guitar. They became notorious for their heavy drinking even at an early age, when they would pour milk out of the cartons at school and fill them with beer, fuelling their good time thrash metal and helping them become party favourites. After two demos, "Heavy Metal Vanguard" and "Alcoholic Metal," the band eventually signed with Noise Records, though not before being passed on by SPV, who were shocked by the drunkenness exhibited by the group at a live show.

Their debut album was released in 1986 under the title, "Zombie Attack," which was quite well received by metal fans, especially in their native Germany. This was followed only a year later with their sophomore record, "Chemical Invasion," which was something of a concept album based around the arguments over the planned Beer Purity Law in Europe. Once again, they received positive feedback for their effort and continued performing live and earning themselves a reputation as one of the best thrash metal bands in Germany. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: White Jeans and Leather

This week the return of Tesla, Black Tora giving life lessons and Sebastian Bach continuing to do Sebastian Bach type things. More...

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Sunday Old School: Moonspell

So far this year, the Sunday Old School column has certainly been living up to the ambition of covering more bands from around the world, having for the first time featured bands from Greece (Rotting Christ,) Poland (Behemoth and Vader) and Belgium (Channel Zero) and so this week, we continue our global metal excavating by looking at a Portuguese band for the first time, one of the finest examples of gothic metal, Moonspell. Moonspell were formed in 1989 in Amadora, located in the North of Lisboa, initially under the moniker, Morbid God. In 1992, the group decided to change their name and got to work on new material, which they released in 1994 as part of their debut EP, "Under the Moonspell." The EP proved popular in the metal underground and impressed executives at Century Media Records enough that they offered the band a six album deal. It wasn’t long before the band had recorded their first full length effort, which was released in April 1995 under the title, "Wolfheart" and was considerably more in line with black metal than the gothic vibe which they would become known for.

Although the album was somewhat ignored by the metal media, it allowed the group to embark on a tour of Europe, during which guitarist, Mantus left the band, to be replaced by Ricardo Amorim. A new guitarist also meant a new style for Moonspell, who quickly adopted a gothic approach to their music, which they showcased on their sophomore album, "Irreligious," released in 1996. The album was a landmark for the band not only in terms of style change, but also their first single and music video for the song, "Opium," as well as some other Moonspell classics such as "Awake" and "Full Moon Madness," which has become the standard final song at the majority of Moonspell concerts. In addition to these personal successes, the band also found some commercial achievement when the record sold over ten thousand copies in their native Portugal. However, as with the cycle for "Wolfheart," the band would soon find themselves departing with another member, this time with bass player, Ares, whose fallout with the group was bad enough that lawsuits were soon brought into the mix. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Plot Twist

I love low budget and videos shot in gentlemen clubs. There is also nothing quite like a good plot twist when you are not ready for it. This week we have one and it did not leave me feeling good. More...

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Pit Stories: The Disappearing Groupie

Every week we check in with metal bands from across the globe to get their best stories about life as a musician.

Normally these tales center around the mayhem in the mosh pit, but sometimes bands have stories so interesting from the practice room or even trips to shows that we've just got to share them.

Today guitarist Renaud Baril from Trainwreck Architect shares this chilling tale of how the band ended up with a beer fridge:

Some people wonder why our jam space fridge is always filled with fresh beers. Here's my confession of a really strange story that happen some years ago...

Our jam space is located on St-Antoine street in Montreal, in an old building just behind the Bell Center. The artwork of our latest album 'Traits of the Sick' portrays the neighborhood at his best: old buildings collapsing in pieces, teethless prostitutes... you have to check where you walk or you'll get your feet on a needle and get HIV! At this time of the year, when the snow has melted, there is a putrid smell of rotten beer.

It was at night, we just finished a show at Piranha bar, and I was walking toward the jam space with a girl I picked at the show... she was named Rebecca. Two blocks away from the jam space, there were ruins of a building being destroyed. It was not totally destroyed yet, but there was a pile of junk lying near the street. Upon this pile of junk, I saw an object some people might recognize: one of these olive green old school fridge.

It has been a while since the rest of the band were wishing for a fridge in the jam space. I had a chance to make everyone in the band happy. Also, Rebecca was this kind of rockabilly girl so she convinced we needed this piece of collection in the jam space.

So I climbed the junk pile and took the fridge. Damn this fridge was heavy! We removed all the saw dust from the fridge and carried it at the jam space. (I will admit it, Rebecca helped me to carry it... not that I'm weak but damn this fridge was really heavy!)

As usual, the elevator was broken, so we had to use the stairs, five levels up! At the top, we were so tired, we wished there was some beers in this fridge, but there was not...not yet!

In the jam room, I plugged the fridge to make sure it was working. It was like in those old horror movies, all the lights in the jam room flashed for 10 seconds... then everything went okay. Surprisingly the fridge was working fine.

We did not really pay attention to the fridge after that. I just wanted to spend a good time with that chick. After one hour though, I had to take a leak, so I left the jam room, leaving her alone (with the fridge).
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Sunday Old School: Razor

In 2008, a highly anticipated documentary entitled, "Get Thrashed" was released on DVD. For those of you who bought it, you may remember a segment in the bonus features where Municipal Waste guitarist, Ryan Waste states that, "If you live in Canada there’s no reason to be pissed off. That band sounds so god damned pissed off." The group in question is one that formed in 1984 in Guelph, Ontario and who goes by the name of Razor. The band was fronted by singer Stace "Sheepdog" McLaren, who was joined in his metal endeavour by guitarist Dave Carlo, Mike Embro on drums and bassist Mike Campagnolo. They worked hard on creating their music, taking inspiration from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement and the blossoming thrash metal scene, eventually resulting in their self-financed and self-produced album, "Escape the Fire," which was released the same year, before they signed with Voice Records for another 1984 release, the "Armed and Dangerous" EP, which was also self-financed and quickly sold out of its 1200 pressings. The EP spread around the metal scene and garnered the band a deal with Canadian label, Attic Records.

Now on a proper label, Razor quickly recorded their official debut full length, "Executioner’s Song," which was comprised mostly of material from and written during "Armed and Dangerous." It was an underground hit and led to the band being considered one of the most extreme in Canada at that time. Although it was only released in April 1985, the band would release a second full length only six months later, in the form of the frankly excellent, "Evil Invaders," which is considered by many today to be a classic album in the thrash metal genre. The record spawned the bands first music video for the title track and helped them gain even more attention when they toured with such big names and cult favourites as Slayer, Venom and Motorhead in Canada and the United States. More...

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Pit Stories: Metsatoll And The Siamese Hair Twins

Each Tuesday we check in with metal musicians from across the world to get their best Pit Stories from live shows.

Today Estonian folk metal band Metsatoll shares a tale (which the band swears is true) involving Siamese hair-twins, flavored lube, and backstage jujitsu. Metsatoll's Kuriraivo tells the story this way:

Once upon a time on one Metsatöll gig the were two longhaired moshers n the
front of the stage. The crowd was bizarre, men with drinking horns, women with horny drinks, drinks with horned men. Mad! And those two moshers, one small and thin as Mexican money, the other big, long and strong as (censored).

Anyway, they got somehow stuck within each others hair and they kept on moshing during all our songs. The tiny-one seemed to flew through the air as the big-one moshed his feet up from the ground. Yes, there was unnatural power in the mosh of the censored-one. After the show, we were all very excited, as we all saw the "mosh of the pseudo-Siamese twins," we called the pair to the backstage after that and offered our help to let them loose from each other. As we have on the tour different kind of lubrication-crèmes: you know, with the strawberry, pepper
and iron taste. For every occasion. So, we tried to use this stuff on mosher hair. Nothing.

Then we had an idea to use our stage-manager Janno, hes been doing judo for
at least three lifetimes, so he tried some of his famous ju-jitsu. The Mexican-money-man did loose some of his hair from the top of his head, but luckily the hair in the back did stay still long, so its still metal! And the bigger guy turned out to be a bearded woman with only one foot and a
golden ring inside her nose, just escaped from her home and a man, who’s cheating her with an Alice Cooper male fan. Mosh and go! What a night! The unbelievable part of it is that it’s a true
story!

Metsatoll will be touring with Eluveitie and Tyr this Fall, with dates available at this location. The shows will be in support of Metsatoll's new album "Karjajuht" (reviewed here). Find out more about the album by reading our interview with the band. More...

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Sunday Old School: Vader

In 1992, Brutal Truth released their debut album, "Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses." Perhaps this was a phrase ringing around the minds of a group of young men nine years earlier in Olsztyn, Poland, who formed a metal band while living under Communist rule and named it, Vader. The group was started by bassist Piotr Wiwczarek and guitar player Zbigniew "Vika" Wróblewski, initially as a speed metal band, though they eventually progressed into a death metal sound by the time they recorded their first demo, "Live in Decay" in 1986. It would be another three years before another demo, "Necrolust" was recorded, followed closely by a third demo, "Morbid Reich" in 1990. The demo circulated around the European metal scene, selling almost ten thousand copies, a very impressive tally for an underground group from Eastern Europe. The success of the demo earned them a deal with Earache Records, who were known at the time for releasing some of the heaviest bands around, including the likes of Godflesh and Carcass. They first attempted to record their debut album at Sunlight Studios in Sweden, however both the band and the label were unhappy with the end result and so it was re-recorded at Rhythm Studios in England. The finished product was finally released in November 1992 under the title, "The Ultimate Incantation." After releasing the album, Vader was able to tour in the West for the first time, initially in Europe with Bolt Thrower and Grave and then in the United States with Deicide and Suffocation .

Following a breakdown of communications with Earache, the EP, "Sothis" and live album, "The Darkest Age: Live '93" had to be released under different record labels, something which would also happen after the band recorded their sophomore full length, "De Profundis." The album received some excellent reviews in parts of the music media and included a cover of the Depeche Mode song, "I Feel You" on the American version of the release. It was something of a success in their home country, where they also recorded the album, selling over seventeen thousand copies in two weeks. They promoted the album by once again teaming up with some of the heaviest names in death metal, partnering with Cannibal Corpse and Immolation in Europe, before heading back to the United States to support Monstrosity and Broken Hope. The touring cycle for the album featured no less than 250 concerts and concluded with the band recording a covers album, "Future of the Past," which paid tribute to the likes of Celtic Frost, Sodom and Terrorizer. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Girls, Girls, Girls

Apparently there have been lots of casting calls for tattooed rock girls who like to strip and dance in their panties. Thankfully there have been lots of casting calls for tattooed rock girls who like to strip and dance in their panties. More...

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Pit Stories: The On-Stage Circle Pit

For this week's Pit Story, we caught up with German metal outfit Holy Moses, which was also covered in our Sunday Old School column last month.

The pit usually takes place apart from the band, but at a festival stop last year the fans had to share the mosh directly with Holy Moses! Vocalist Sabina Classen shares this story of a circle pit breaking out on-stage while the band was still playing:

We had a cool pit story in August 2013 at Oulu Festival in Finland. We already played there a few years before. A Holy Moses tradition is to bring up a few people to the stage for the last song to headbang with us. This seems to be rather unusual there and the Finnish rules are strict. Back then the security was a bit overwhelmed with all the people coming unto the stage. When we showed up this time, the first thing they asked us, was if would do that again. We said “of course!”

At this festival there were special areas a bit further in the back, where people could drink alcohol. It wasn’t allowed in front of the stage. So there were a lot of people rather in the back having a beer and some thirsty people in the front. At the last song we invited, as usual, some people to join us on stage. These people were on fire. They started doing a circle pit on stage. We never had that before. We had to be a bit careful to not get run over, haha. We all had great fun. I think some the guys stole some of our stage beer, but that was OK. We were done anyway and they were not being allowed drinking in front of the stage and they were thirsty.

You can see the on-stage circle pit for yourself via the video below (at about the 50 second mark). Check it out, and let us know about your favorite time at a show that the band and the fans collided for some good old fashioned moshing.

Holy Moses has a new album titled "Redefined Mayhem" out now via SPV/Steamhammer, with the artwork available below the video clip. More...

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Sunday Old School: Vince Neil

Vince Neil has performed as the lead singer for Motley Crue, a solo artist after being fired/quitting Motley Crue and continues to perform shows in between Crue gigs. In addition to his vocal career, Neil has also invested in tattoos, tequila and even an airline. Oh, and of course, a strip club. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Comedy Gold

This week is a good time for a laugh and these bands have just what we need. First, The Last Vegas are playing dress-up, and then Outloud wants the seventies back and 3D In Your Face are just adorable. More...

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Sunday Old School: Down

Bizarrely, one of the most surprising things about so called super groups is one of them is actually good. Many have been excited about some collaborative efforts only to find themselves disappointed with the end result. One band which did not fall in to this category however were one formed in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1991 when a group of friends formed a new group together. These were no ordinary group of metal fans however, as they consisted of Corrosion of Conformity guitarist (later vocalist,) Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod, Crowbar members Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange and perhaps most notably, Pantera singer, Phil Anselmo. The quintet all had a long time love of such doom bands as Trouble, Witchfinder General and Saint Vitus and decided they wanted to form a band more in the vein of these acts, rather than the ferocious thrash which was popular at the time. They soon recorded a three track demo and circulated it around the metal scene, hyping themselves up by asking fans if they had heard of a band called Down. When they eventually performed a live concert in New Orleans, they were spotted by a representative of Elektra Records, who offered them a record deal there and then.

The group recorded their debut album, "NOLA" once the members were free from the schedules of their main bands and released the record in September 1995. It was a success both commercially and critically, peaking on the Billboard album charts at number fifty five. The media were very impressed with the album and most publications gave the album very high scores, dazzled by the combination of Black Sabbath influenced metal, hardcore punk, doom and stoner infections and southern rock flavour. It spawned four singles, the most successful being, "Stone the Crow," which became Down’s first single to enter the Billboard top 40. Two of the other singles, "Temptation’s Wings" and "Bury Me in Smoke" have gone on to become fan favourites, as did the album tracks, "Eyes of the South" and "Hail the Leaf." Touring in support of the album was very limited, consisting of only a thirteen date trek before the members put Down on hiatus to focus on their respective bands. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: 5 Years and Counting

Holy shit this column has existed for five years! Some may suggest five weeks was too many. Anyway, we keep plugging along. This week’s videos feature rock stars roughing it in the wilderness, experiencing a not-so-special drink and an appearance by Waldo. Yes, that Waldo. More...

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Sunday Old School: Marilyn Manson

After a whole month covering black metal bands such as Behemoth and Gorgoroth, you’d have thought that we’d be sick of writing about men in makeup causing outrage. However, this week’s article looks at one of the biggest rock acts of the nineties, fronted by the most controversial name in rock since Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson. Manson himself began life as Brian Warner, who was working as a music journalist when he met guitarist, Scott Putesky, with whom he soon formed a band, which they named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids. It was decided that the members would adopt stage names which married the names of female icons with serial killers. Warner became Marilyn Manson while Putesky rechristened himself, Daisy Berkowitz. They were joined by bass player, Brian Tutunick (Olivia Newton Bundy) and recorded their first, self-titled demo. After bringing in keyboard player Stephen Bier (Madonna Wayne Gacy) and drummer Fred Streithorst (Sara Lee Lucas,) as well as replacing Bundy with Brad Stewart (Gidget Gein,) the band increased their local profile and gained substantial airplay on WYNX-FM, thanks largely to DJ and fan, Scott David. The early shows were just as theatrical as the ones the band would become known for, featuring such provocative images as women on crosses, children in cages and, due to the lack of a professional pyrotechnician, setting their own props on fire. The group soon caught the attention of Nine Inch Nails frontman, Trent Reznor, who signed the band to his newly formed label, Nothing Records and brought the group on the road as a support act.

Marilyn Manson (as the band had by now shortened their name to) recorded their first album, "The Manson Family Album" in the summer of 1993 but was very unhappy with the result. After playing the record to Reznor, who agreed that the album didn’t sound very good and helped the band re-record and remix the album, which was released the next summer under the new name, "Portrait of an American Family." As soon as work on the record was complete, the band decided to let Gein go after he overdosed on heroin for the fourth time. He was replaced by Twiggy Ramirez who made his live debut with the band on a short headlining tour, during which Manson was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida after the local Christian Coalition accused him of indecency. On the same tour, Manson met Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan, who gave him the title, Reverend. The controversy stirred by Manson’s new title arguably helped earn the band its first headlining tour of North America, during which drummer Sara Lee Lucas would quit after Manson set his drum kit on fire while Lucas was still performing. He was replaced by Ginger Fish and the group hit the road again, this time partnering with Danzig and Korn. More...

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Pit Stories: The Useless Sound Guy

Every week we have metal musicians from around the planet share their favorite stories from live shows, and while these are usually centered on the mayhem in the pit or the interaction between band and crowd, sometimes the best stories come from before the show has even started.

This week Eddy "Snow" Levitsky from Montreal outfit Hollow shares a story of something many metal bands can relate to: an uncooperative sound guy!

I’ll tell you a tale which has become one of the most used inside joke in Hollow. When you have gigs, most of the time, the venue will have all you need to accommodate your stage needs and if you’re starting out, the staff to help you. Sometimes, though, you get the one sound guy who’s had either too much to drink or hasn’t slept well enough before coming to work and who obviously does not care for your music, or anybody else but himself, for that matter.

I’m not sure if I can name which venue and when this happened, but I do remember the circumstances around this story. We were setting up our gear on stage and getting ready for the sound check. Every question or important fact that we needed to tell the soundman about our performance seemed like a chore to him, even though the guy was paid to do this. Hey, we rented your venue for a reason, we want to have a good night, and at least you could be pleasant with us, even if it’s just a little bit.

So we are completely set up and I take the microphone from its stand to start sound check. As I walk away from the stand, the mic gets stuck on something and I almost drop it. To our amazement, we all realize that I’ve got a six foot wire, plugged straight into the floor of the stage underneath the mic stand. Being six foot and one inch tall and needing to move to and fro on stage to give a better show, I turned to the sound guy and asked in the nicest way possible if he could procure me a longer wire, say a twenty five inch one or longer. I’ll never forget his face, bothered, vexed and desperate at the same time, as he looked at me and answered:

“Do you like, REEEEAAAAALLLLY need this?”

For our many readers who are musicians themselves, be sure to let us know your story of a venue employee who just had to make the night a little more difficult in the comments below.

Hollow's "Mordrake" album (reviewed here) is due out May 30th, 2014. You can stream the "Iscariot" single at this location, or see the band's music video for "Landscape" below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Methods of Mayhem

With the final Motley Crue tour underway what is next for the band members? For drummer, Tommy Lee, some of his time may be spent with his band, Methods of Mayhem, a unique formation in terms of both structure and sound. The band has had two rounds, will Lee and Co. try a third one? More...

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