In 1985, Bret Michaels (vocals), Rikki Rockett (drums), Bobby Dall (bass), and Matt Smith (guitar) set out for the Los Angeles Sunset Strip, determined to make it as the next big hair band. Initially, the band struggled to survive; Matt Smith specifically couldn't handle the poverty and left for back East. During this time Bret Michaels states that his only possession was a toothbrush. Behind The Music: One Toothbrush and Six Bandanas -- The Bret Michaels Story.
With Smith's departure, the band started looking for a new guitarist. In the end their search came down to C.C. DeVille and Slash. Slash was clearly the better guitar player, but C.C. had that over the top glam look the band coveted. This decision would end up being one of the most significant events in eighties heavy metal music. Not only was C.C. the right pick for Poison, but not taking Slash off the market proved to be more important, keeping the door open for him to join Guns N' Roses just months later.
The release of their first album, "Look What The Cat Dragged In," would introduce the world to this glam foursome. The cover would also lead to several debates. First, were these in fact men? After establishing that yes, in fact, these are men, the discussion would turn to which was the prettiest of the group? Most of the time it was Rikki Rockett edging out Bret Michaels in the beauty contest. I believe the amount of eye shadow Rikki used had a direct impact on this outcome. Often lost in judging this book by its cover was how hard the band worked to promote their shows and the dedication to their fans. They were the second wave of “hair bands” and there were hundreds trying to be part of this group. The foursome was relentless in getting friends, fans, and others to attend their shows and promote Poison. More...
This week a look at the band Down & Dirty and the release of their first video: “Taste of Rock & Roll”. Based in Chicago, Down & Dirty have released an album by the same name this year. Research on the band quickly turned up two items. First, that the band is relatively new to the scene. Secondly, they have a large number of groupies – already. Why every fourteen year old kid doesn’t teach himself how to play guitar is beyond me. PICK ONE: A. Master’s Degree B. White picket fence C. Groupies. Don’t feel too dirty, most picked the same one as you. Now a look at the video… More...
Every week in Pit Stories we travel the world looking for interesting stories from fans and bands from different shows. Today we take you to a Cannibal Corpse show from the early nineties, proving that truth can be stranger than fiction - or at least a song can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Huntridge was a refurbished movie theatre in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada that used to play host to all the hardcore and metal shows coming to town. Back in 1994, our station - KUNV - was promoting the Cannibal Corpse show there, and the turnout was huge for a Monday night. Usually you wouldn't see that many metal fans there, even on the weekend. Cannibal Corpse were touring prior to the release of their album "The Bleeding," which would prove to be a landmark album. This show at the Huntridge was one of the last in which Chris Barnes was at the helm of the band, and you could say he went out in style. MTV Europe was there with a blue-haired woman named Vanessa, filming onstage with her camcorder.
The teeming energy of the pit was intense, but this one idiot kept getting on stage over and over and diving into the crowd. He obviously wanted to appear on the camera footage but was truly pissing off all the metalheads he was landing on each time. The songs that Chris and the band were growling out mostly came off "The Bleeding," and prophetically all the events that would come to pass in the next hour were like the song titles personified. It was unreal. Shortly after "Stripped, Raped and Strangled" played, the whole pit got disgusted with the stagediving kid and tore his clothes off, kicking and shoving him right to the exit door. A burly security guy grabbed him by the throat and bounced him out the door (without his clothes on) right into that cold Vegas February night.
Just when the pit got it's momentum back, the big theatre doors way back by the nosebleed seats thrusted open with activity. Two security guards were kicking the crap out of a guy who broke into the merchandise display booth in an attempt to steal some Cannibal Corpse t-shirts. They had his face on the ground, shards of broken glass from the case all over the floor. This was right about the same time the band played "Force Fed Broken Glass." One thing about Cannibal Corpse that night - they weren't just voyeuristic horror. Everyone "lived" what they were playing. It is good to note that "An Experiment In Homicide" was not on the set list.
Cannibal Corpse have begun work on a new album, set to be released in 2012. Join us every Tuesday when we bring you more Pit Stories from bands and fans from around the globe.
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we take a look at the metal scene in London, one of the most famous cities in the world.
Formed in 2006, Mutant has been performing their take on classic thrash metal, which they refer to as speed death, for five years now. They have been able to build up an ever growing fan base in that time, leading to shows with such other acts as Municipal Waste and performing at the Bloodstock, Damnation and Hammerfest festivals amongst others. Early this year they proved to the whole country why they’re one of the best bands going in the British underground, when they were voted the Best Unsigned Band of 2010 by readers of Terrorizer magazine.
Mutant - "The Rauncher"
One of the crazier bands to grace the LA metal scene in the mid-eighties was the legendary trio the Mentors. While gaining their fame in that city, what many may not realize is that the band got it's start in 1976 right out of Roosevelt High School in Seattle. Eldon Hoke, Eric Carlson and Steve Broy relocated to LA in 1979 and quickly became a fixture in the club scene at the height of the punk rock era, and a voice to counter the beginnings of the glam/hair metal movement. Figuring they had a better chance for fame in LA, they moved the band and the roadies into a one bedroom Hollywood apartment. Changing their stage names to El Duce, Sickie Wifebeater and Dr. Heathen Scum respectively, they were ready to launch an all-out assault on traditional metal as we know it. Combining thrash, garage and punk, they developed a huge core audience with their irreverent, misogynistic lyrics delivered in that nice sloppy style that never pretended to be good serious metal. When hair metal bands in spandex were singing about what the cat dragged in, here came three slovenly dudes with beer bellies and t-shirts singing about their secretary hump. More...
Duff McKagan has released an 80 page excerpt of his upcoming autobiography titled It’s So Easy (And Other Lies). For those hesitant to read another “rockography” or are burned out from reading ex-Guns N’ Roses books I’m here to say you may want to give this one a chance. More...
Every week we catch up with bands and fans to hear their favorite mosh pit stories from metal shows. This week Landmine Marathon's Ryan Butler shares a story of how one foot of space can make all the difference in house shows.
We played a house show in Santa Fe, New Mexico at one point and it was all adobe houses in a really nice neighborhood. We pulled up to the house and there are birthday balloons on the sign that said “Show Here.” We get in there, in a decent sized house, and we set up to play and once you put 30 kids in the room it’s cramped with all our gear. We start to play and Dylan ended up on the side of the room that just had the bulk of the kids and I was kind of up against the wall on the other side. He’s trying to play guitar and kids are flipping each other across the tops of their heads and just moshing like crazy. His guitar was cutting out every 30 seconds to 2 minutes because they’d step on his pedal board or fall on top of him literally and knock him to the ground.
About halfway through the set this guy yells out that he’s pretty sure he broke his foot, which is not funny until you see he’s still moshing, and he ends up moshing the entire show and having a great time. He hangs out at the after party, which was right in the same room, and is limping around. We tell him he should probably go the hospital, but he says he doesn’t care, he’s got to work tomorrow and he knows it’s broken, so there’s nothing going to the hospital that night will do. It was just chaos the whole time. We tend to enjoy shows where there’s not a stage sometime because it gets crazier. We just played a show in Reno and usually we tend to end up in basements, which in Reno are actually the size of venues, some of them. The kids go crazy and are right on top of you. We played in a bar in Reno for probably the first time in two or three years and kids were going nuts, but it’s just not quite the same. The energy level changes for some reason when there’s only one foot of separation for some reason. When you’ve got kids falling all over you its just pure adrenaline, so that’s the difference between playing on the floor and playing on the stage. One foot can make all the difference.
Landmine Marathon is set to release the new album "Gallows" on September 27th, 2011. You can check out a track from the album, titled "Three Snake Leaves," by heading over here.
Check back next Tuesday for even more pit stories shared by fans and bands from across the metal world.
While Chicago has a reputation as a punk and hip hop town, there's still an active metal scene within the Windy City with some great gems that haven’t gotten nearly enough exposure. Even though Chicago may not have the same metal cred that Boston and Seattle have today, there is still a rawness and experimentation to Chicago metal fused into the scene's bloodstream. Less accessible than Gothenburg and nowhere near as technical as Montreal but certainly not lacking in creativity, the Chcago metal scene's mix of grittiness and experimentation has produced everything from Hewhocorrupts to Ministry to Nachtmystium and that same aesthetic is still alive in 2011 in any number of as yet undiscovered bands.
Now, as part of the Unearthing the Metal Underground series, Metal Underground.com presents three underground Chicago bands that deserve way more exposure and attention than they currently receive.
Blood of the Tyrant
Sounding like the bastard child of Black Sabbath and Mastodon, Blood of the Tyrant is an excellent example of progressive doom metal. While still only having one release to its name, released in 2008, Blood of the Tyrant is still one of Chicago's best unsigned bands, known for epic song lengths, impressive guitar solos and surprisingly energetic take on doom metal.
Last year when I wrote a Sunday Old School column to commemorate the 30th anniversary of frontman Bon Scott's passing, I asked readers to close their eyes and think of AC/DC. As I wrote back then, “If you're like most people, the first thing that enters your mind is the image of Angus Young in his schoolboy suit doing his Chuck Berry on speed duckwalk across the stage. The second thing for most is the image of singer Brian Johnson, cap pulled down nearly to his eyes, letting loose with a powerdrill wail.”
To be sure, part of the reason for that is the longevity of Johnson's tenure with the band. Scott's career with AC/DC lasted a mere six years, while Johnson's been with the band for 30 years and counting. But chalking it up to that alone discounts Johnson's skill as a vocalist, lyricist and frontman in his own right. The fact of the matter is that had Brian not been as adept as he was in taking over for Bon, the lights could've been permanently put out for AC/DC three decades ago. In fact, in the book “AC/DC: Maximum Rock 'N Roll,” there are several statements pointing to the fact that but for Brian, the band never would've taken off as it did in the United States in the 1980s. After all, the band had failed to catch fire supporting acts like Kiss, Aerosmith and Lynrd Skynrd during Bon's tenure.
Also, Brian brought a level of consistency that perhaps hadn't quite been there before. One could argue that he was less of a dynamic showman than Bon was — though in recent tours he's come out of his shell a lot more. At the same time, Bon was much less consistent in terms of vocal delivery. Even Angus admitted such in an interview, saying that Bon's vocal style was much more a matter of rhythm, where Brian's vocals were much more like a musical instrument in their own right.
Prior to his AC/DC gig, Brian was best known as the lead singer of the English glam rock band Geordie. In the early 1970s, Bon Scott's pre-AC/DC outfit Fang toured England, playing with Geordie. With a singing style reminiscent of Little Richard, Johnson had impressed Scott, who later told the rest of AC/DC of a particular show in which Johnson was shrieking and thrashing about on the ground. Scott believed it was all part of the show. In fact, Johnson was in agony from appendicitis.
"Geordie: She's a Teaser"
Van Halen announced that they have completed mixing their new album. This news jumped the Vegas line from 50-1 to a 10-1 shot of this album actually happening. It has been 27 years since the last David Lee Roth-Van Halen album. A lot has changed during this time, a few examples: In 1984 The Cosby show premiered along with “Cosby Sweaters”, it was also the year the AIDS virus was discovered. Apparently there is no connection between the two. It was also the year stonewashed jeans were introduced. Vanessa Williams was stripped (pun intended) of her Miss America crown when nude photos were discovered and Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire during the shooting of a Pepsi commercial. Apparently these events also had no connection to the discovery of AIDS, despite many remaining suspicious… More...
We've been catching up with fans and band members everywhere to get their mosh pit stories and tales of on-stage mishaps. This week guitarist Kim Olesen of Anubis Gate shares the following story of a technological malfunction.
I'll share a little tale of how tech stuff can let you down. The first concert we did in support of our previous album "The Detached," I had my in-ear monitor system attached to the strap (as I always have). Everything's going fine. We start the track “Dodecahedron.” I'm playing rockstar, standing on the drum podium. So far so good....until I jump down and my in-ear beltpack receiver empties itself of all the batteries. That's critical because that was almost all the sound I had on stage. Luckily this song has some passages that would sound OK if I didn't play so in-between playing without hearing what I play (looking at my fingers and hoping routine will do it). I'm searching the stage floor for the batteries, which must have looked very strange. Four guys playing away and the fifth guy crawling on stage to find his batteries. That day I learned to put gaffa tape around the receiver. Maybe not a big lesson for mankind, but a big lesson for this guitarist.
Anubis Gate is set to release the band's new, self-titled album (reviewed here) this coming September 13th, 2011. To see what bassist Henrik Fevre had to say about the album, head over to this location and check out Metalunderground.com's recent interview with the band.
Check back again next Tuesday for more pit stories sent in from bands and show-goers.
Back in December 2009, Sunday Old School covered Napalm Death, one of the most influential bands in the history of extreme music. In some respects, we never stopped looking at them, as the column has covered several bands with ties to Napalm Death, namely, Cathedral, Carcass, Extreme Noise Terror and most recently, Terrorizer. Today will see a continuation of this trend, as Sunday Old School looks at Godflesh, one of the most innovative metal bands to ever emerge from Great Britain.
Godflesh was initially birthed as Fall Of Because in 1985 in the city of Birmingham by bass player G.C. Green and guitarist Paul Neville, with Justin Broadrick joining the ranks soon afterwards as a drummer and vocalist, though he would leave soon after to become the new guitarist for Napalm Death, making his recording debut with the band on the A-side of the classic, "Scum" album. Broadrick would leave Napalm Death soon after to become the drummer for Head Of David, one his favourite local bands, but once again remained unsettled and soon contacted Green about reforming Fall Of Because, an invitation Green accepted. Fall Of Because soon became Godflesh and the duo of Broadrick and Green decided to stay as such, incorporating the use of a drum machine instead of hiring someone to sit behind the kit. More...
This week a look at Chickenfoot’s latest video, “Big Foot”.
The video starts off as every alcoholic’s nightmare. Waking up in a chicken coup, wearing a chicken costume. It’s an odd choice to drink out of the same water bucket as the other chickens, but then again, it’s probably a nasty hangover and any beverage will do at this point. More...
We've been checking up with bands and fans everywhere to get their most memorable mosh pit stories from live shows. This week you get two stories for the price of one, courtesy of The World We Knew.
Two specific situations stand out in my mind when I think of "Pit Stories" while on the road; One of them is funny, and the other very violent! Always start with the bad news...
While on the road with our friends in Within the Ruins, our bands had a contest to see who would have the most fights during our sets on tour. We never encouraged the fights, but we tallied each one for the sake of competition. After 3 weeks, we tied 4 to 4, but then decided that TWWK had the most violent fight in Houston, TX.
While playing our last song, a girl decided to punch some guy in the face while moshing. The dude was so heated that he decided it would be a good idea to take a swing right back at the girl. After knocking her straight off her feet, the girls 10 guy friends sitting down decided to beat the offender repeatedly with bar stools. It got so violent that Tim (Guitar) and myself had to get off stage and try to break it up to insure no one was dead!
This other pit story also involves fighting, but ends in a funnier fashion. While in Northern Alabama, we were forced to once again stop our set on a count of fighting, but this time, I decided to brighten the mood a little bit. While talking into the microphone, I decided to walk up to each one of the fighters and asked them kindly to give me a hug. The kids were so flustered and confused with my comment that they forgot they were fighting. The whole crowd laughed loudly at what was going on, and both guys hugged me to end the pit beef. Apparently no one can handle getting hit while dancing these days. Nothing a good hug can't fix though!
The World We Knew released the new album "Death Dealer" today, August 30th via BlkHeart Group, and the album is currently available for streaming in its entirety through Guitarworld.com here.
Check back next Tuesday for more mosh pit stories submitted by bands and fans.
Located out in the Caribbean between Cuba and Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic has long been an island nation melting pot for a variety of cultures and styles brought over by the millions of tourists and influences that converge upon it. Dominicans are known in America for the crop of professional baseball players they produce and in our large Hispanic community for the stream of bachata/merengue music along with the superstar reggaeton production duo Luny Tunes.
The times are changing though, and the rich history that the Dominicans have had with folkloric rock music has gradually come to include all genres of popular rock/metal throughout the last couple of decades. Bands such as Toque Profundo and M-16 have opened up the floodgates to more extreme categories of rock music, producing the likes of Ad Bestia's hardcore, Santuario's punk rock, the thrash of Necro, good traditional thrash from Overhated and the power metal of Altus Mortem. For a comprehensive look into the Dominican Republic's rich rock history, check out the two-part video Dominican Rock Pt 1 and 2 to gain a greater insight into the scene.
Nowadays, with home studio computer equipment and social networking, hundreds of young bands are cropping up all over the Dominican landscape. In fact, a few homegrown independent labels now showcase the talents of the more extreme Caribbean bands - Dark Canvas and Goecia records. Today we will take a look at three of the most deserving and hard working bands paying their dues in the trenches of Santo Domingo.
Conceived in 1994, Archaios are the premier melodic techno-thrash band from Santo Domingo. Fusing intricate leads with an abundance of bridges and time changes, this is one band that deserve a further listen. Their new one, "The Distant," drops in November and is an exponentially good progression from their debut, 2006's "Out of the Shadows." You can check out their songs in full at their Myspace page and listen to the promotional sampler clip below, plus a few other tracks from their debut. Also, you can read a full interview with the band here.
While most rock bands cite blues music as an influence, Cinderella was one of the few bands from the eighties where you could actually hear it, feel it, taste it.
The band was formed with members Tom Keifer (singer, keyboards, guitar), Eric Brittingham (bass), Michael Smerick (guitar) and Tony Destra (drums). Within two years Destra and Smerick left to form Britny Fox. Using eighties 20-20 hindsight: MISTAKE? I’m sure hanging with the girls while making the video for “Girlschool” had to be a great day it still can’t compare to being in what would become Cinderella.
In 1985 Cinderella recorded their first album, “Night Songs,” with guitarist Jeff LaBar and drummer Jim Drnec. After recording the album, Fred Coury replaced Drnec and joined the band for the supporting tour. The first single, “Shake Me,” from the album featured a girl sitting on her bed with a Cinderella poster behind her. Her wicked (READ: slutty) sisters appear and are off to rock and roll (READ: shoot heroin and sleep with rock guys) while she is left all alone. Then the poster comes alive and she is now at a live Cinderella concert. It should be mentioned that Tom Keifer is wearing the Paul Stanley 1984 permanent hair style throughout the song. When I’m running VH1 someday I will definitely do a WHERE ARE THEY NOW documentary on the Cinderella wicked sisters. More...
After the albums Appetite for Destruction and Lies, Guns N Roses released two albums at the same time titled Use Your Illusion I and II. From this double release would come three intertwining videos known as ‘The Trilogy’.
This week a look back at these videos and the excess involved.
The video begins with a baby floating to the top of water. The baby has blue eyes. Logically, the video cuts to Axl Rose who is caught in a Buffalo winter-like-blizzard. He is in a kilt and holding a gun. Ladies and gentlemen this is your setup to ‘The Trilogy’…now it gets weird.
Axl is now in his residence and is holding a gun and apparently contemplating suicide. His girl played by then girl friend Stephanie Seymour, wrestles the gun away, but not before Axl throws her against the wall; angry that his model girlfriend stopped him from killing himself. Next scene we are at a cemetery where Axl and his girl are having a picnic. Cut to the band playing on top of a skyscraper building. Shannon Hoon, the lead singer from Blind Melon joins Axl, singing along with the chorus. All members of the band have decided to carry bandanas that hang out of their back pocket, except for Matt Sorum (who replaced their original drummer Steven Adler) who is wearing his on his head. There is a sign that says WHERE’S IZZY signaling Izzy Stradlin’s departure from the band (replaced by guitarist Gilby Clarke). Axl is wearing a flannel shirt that is probably his way distancing himself from the backlash of hair bands that was beginning during this time. Axl does the “airplane” run from one side of the building to the other. This doesn’t appear safe.
Back to the drama, we have Duff and Slash separately having fights with their girls. Duff is outside a club/bar and Slash is out driving. It appears Duff tells his girl off while Slash decides to drive the girl off a cliff. I picture Slash and Duff in a bar later that night. DUFF: So I just said “Fuck You!” and that was it. SLASH: I drove my girl off a cliff. DUFF: Oh.
The video escalates with Axl in a hospital room that is probably an insane asylum. While Rose lies there in a gown another image of Axl wearing a kilt appears and then one wearing a blazer appears and then leaves. Just for kicks it would have been entertaining to have Axl with the hair from the “Welcome to the Jungle” video show up as well, but then sometimes I ask too much.
Back on the roof with the band and helicopters are overhead and Axl continues to run around like an airplane on this very high roof. At this point he might as well grab a pair of scissors as he runs because it’s clear all caution has been thrown out the window.
Back in the hospital and Axl’s hand’s are shaking and he’s making this strange look like “see I told you” to the doctor who doesn’t seem very interested in what is happening. Next scene we are back in the cemetery and the grave has the name Axl Rose engraved on it with the ending year of 1990 which is because (as Axl later stated) a very suicidal year for him. Below the grave a green demon like Axl is looking up then we cut to a baby again coming up from the water. This time the eyes are green….and…..CUT!
We've been seeking bands and fans everywhere to get their memorable mosh pit stories, and this week's story about a sudden invasion of blue spandex superheroes comes courtesy of Florida's Catalepsy.
This “pit story” took place about a year ago when we were in Myrtle Beach, SC. We were playing this tiny dive bar right on the beach in some random basement. We were just finishing up line check and were about to start our set when we we came to the sudden realization that there was literally no one inside the venue.
Bummed out but still needing our pay, we decided to fight the good fight and play anyways. After about 20 seconds into our opening song, a couple of kids started to file in wearing these blue, Spiderman like body suits. By the end of the second song, the venue was completely packed full of matching blue spandex superheroes. What that all was about, well, the world may never know. Quite the experience...
Catalepsy recently release the new album "Bleed" through Eulogy Recordings. You can check out a music video for the album's title track here or listen to the song "Monolith" by heading over to this location. For additional details on Catalepsy, navigate to the band's Facebook profile.
Come back next Tuesday to see our latest Pit Story submitted by bands and fans from around the world.
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we’ll be taking a second look at three bands from the West Country (the South West of England.)
One of the biggest, and quite possibly best, bands from the West Country's metal scene comes in the guise of Seregon, who formed in 2005. The band take influence from such thrash metal heroes as Testament and Sepultura (the latter of which they have shared the stage with on numerous occassions) and add a healthy dose of death metal into the fray, to create a savage sound not quite like any other. While still very much rooted in the underground, Seregon have found themselves performing outside of the United Kingdom, taking to the stage in such countries as Germany, Portugal and Romania amongst others. They are currently working on their new EP, which is expected to be released next year.
Seregon - "The Removal Of The Spine"
CBGB's may well be known as one of the most famous clubs in the world, having been home to many bands from The Ramones to Agnostic Front, but it's staff has plenty of connections to music too, not least of which was the club's sound man Tommy Victor and doorman Mike Kirkland, who would soon form their own band, Prong. Prong was completed a few months after Victor and Kirkland (Vocals/guitar and bass respectively) began jamming together when the band recruited former Swans drummer Ted Parsons. Having essentially being born from the best place for hardcore in New York, it's no surprise that the early Prong material was very much rooted in the genre. Following their debut released, the EP "Primitive Origins" and the full length, "Force Fed," the band were able to secure a major label deal when they signed with CBS Records for their next release, "Beg To Differ." The album was a critical smash, earning rave reviews from big name publications like Rolling Stone and the praise continued even after Kirkland left the band was replaced by Flotsam And Jetsam bassist Troy Gregory, when Prong released their third full length album, "Prove You Wrong," which featured an almost bizarre cover of the punk classic "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)" by The Stranglers.
"Prove You Wrong" also featured the band's first experimentation with electronic sounds such as sampling and programming, a feature which was to be expanded upon on the next album, "Cleansing," which was released in 1994. With a sound more grounded in industrial metal and Pantera producer Terry Date behind the mixing board, the record proved to be hit, containing such fan favourites as "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" (which was used by Extreme Championship Wrestling as the theme for the wrestler, Justin Credible) and "Broken Peace." The album also garnered Prong support slots on some major tours, including supporting Sepultura on their "Chaos A.D." tour, and performing with Pantera who were celebrating the release of their number one album, "Far Beyond Driven." More...